Victoria Police have introduced a new textline for the public to use when reporting crimes on public transport. Called 'STOPIT' and available in 13 languages, this service will allow people who are subjected or who witness unwanted sexual and anti-social behaviour on public transport. Given that this is the first time a service like this has been deployed in Australia, we're going to take an in-depth look into what it does, and how and when to use it.
Just remember that if you need support or someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.
What does 'STOPIT' do?
STOPIT allows victims and bystanders to discreetly text the police to report unwanted sexual behaviour and anti-social behaviour on the Metro and V/Line train networks.
Unwanted sexual and anti-social behaviour is any form of unwelcome behaviour that makes you or others feel uncomfortable, frightened, or threatened. These behaviours can be physical or verbal, subtle or direct, ongoing or a one-off. In any case, all forms of unwanted sexual and anti-social behaviour is unacceptable.
It's important to note that this service is only available for the Metro and V/Line train networks in Victoria, and will be extended to buses and trams in August 2022.
How and when do I use 'STOPIT'?
Members of the public can text ‘STOPIT’ to 0499 455 455 to receive a link directing them to an online form where they can share incident details, including the time, date and location. Photos and videos can also be uploaded if it is safe to do so. Once the online form is completed, a confirmation text will be sent.
The intel is then examined by a dedicated triage team, who will categorise the reported incident, before being passed on to detectives who will then identify and hold perpetrators accountable. The six incident categories include:
Unwanted sexual behaviour
Drug and/or alcohol-related offences
At this point, an assigned police officer may be in contact to obtain further information.
IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CALL TRIPLE ZERO (000) IF YOU ARE IN ANY IMMEDIATE DANGER, AN EMERGENCY, OR REQUIRE IMMEDIATE POLICE ASSISTANCE.
If you are not in immediate danger and wish to formally report a crime, you can:
Speak to police officers or protective service officers (PSOs) on the public transport service or at a station.
Visit a police station to make a formal report.
Contact Crime Stoppers anonymously online, or call 1800 333 000.
What can I report using 'STOPIT'?
These are examples of the types of behaviour you can report using STOPIT:
Unwanted sexual behaviour
You can report sexual or obscene behaviours that make you (or another person) feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened. These behaviours may or may not include physical contact.
You can report behaviour indicating that someone may be involved in a crime.
You can report language that is obscene, racist or offensive.
You can report offensive, racist, threatening or harassing behaviour that you think may cause alarm or distress.
Drug and/or alcohol related incidents
You can report a person using, selling or affected by drugs or alcohol that poses a safety risk to themselves or those around them.
You can report graffiti and/or property damage.
If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.
Information sourced from: Police Victoria
Image credit: Yura Fresh on Unsplash
All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.