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Laneway Festival Fights Recent Gig Sex Assaults, Starts Reporting Hotline

'We want Laneway Festival to be fun and safe space for everyone.'
Melbourne band Camp Cope
Supplied/Fairfax Media
Melbourne band Camp Cope

Following a recent spate of violence and sexual assaults at Australian concerts, the St Jerome's Laneway Festival is fighting back.

The national touring festival, which began in Brisbane on Australia Day and is winding its way around the country, has started its own dedicated phone hotline for patrons to report anti-social behaviour. The festival is linking up with Melbourne band Camp Cope, one of the artists on the Laneway lineup, who started their own 'It Takes One' initiative last year to call out and address violence at concerts.

Australia's alternative music scene has been marred by several reported sexual assaults in recent times. Five incidents were reported at the Falls Festival in Tasmania, including several women alleging they were groped in mosh pits and another who claims to have been raped in the campgrounds; two men, aged 24 and 18, have since been charged in relation to the alleged assaults.

Other bands have also reported women being groped, intimidated or harassed at their concerts.

"We really admire how Camp Cope have lead the way by calling out assault and antisocial behaviour with their 2016 campaign It Takes One," Laneway told The Huffington Post Australia in a statement.

"As such, we've teamed up with them and other Laneway mates Julia Jacklin and GL to promote safe and respectful behaviour at our shows."

The new phone hotline -- 1800LANEWAY -- can be used if patrons "see or experience any disrespectful behaviour."

"We want Laneway Festival to be fun and safe space for everyone," the festival said.

In the wake of its own reported incidents, Falls too called for concerts to be safe spaces.

"Everybody has the right to move through life -- not just at a music festival, but everywhere -- free to feel safe and confident to enjoy their surroundings. Like everyone else we are disgusted and angry that some people feel they can inappropriately touch others without their consent," Falls Festival posted on its Facebook page earlier this month.

"We would like to see the conversation turn from telling our women and girls to be on guard and vigilant, to telling our boys and men to have some respect and stop taking these liberties."

Laneway Festival continues in Adelaide on Friday, before hitting Sydney and Fremantle over the weekend.


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