Salvation Army officers will set up a safe space in the Sydney CBD to offer support to intoxicated revellers this summer.
Night angels will patrol Sydney’s busiest thoroughfare this summer to offer support to vulnerable, intoxicated revellers.
As part of the crackdown on drug and alcohol-fuelled violence, Salvation Army workers will team up with police on Friday and Saturday nights on the CBD’s George Street to keep an eye out for young people at risk.
A designated “safe space” with a customised mobile van will be set up at Sydney Town Hall, where trained offices can deliver basic first aid, water and phone and internet access.
It is similar to initiatives set up in Melbourne and Schoolies locations, and has long been advocated by the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, named after the victim of an unprovoked one-punch attack in 2012.
NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard said the government had committed $30,000 to the trial.
“I like to think that this is the work of Thomas Kelly,” said Mr Hazzard. “We can almost have a sense that he’s holding these young people’s hands as we do what we’re going to do over the next few months.”
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore cited the success of similar programs in Victoria and Queensland.
“This is going to be a real addition to creating a much safer environment in the city for young people and for giving parents the confidence to know that their children will come home,” she said.
Salvation Army mission leader Mitchell Evans said the welfare officers would be able to offer services police couldn’t.
“It’s about sitting with the person for a while, letting them sober up, organising a taxi or letting them get their bearings and find their friends,” he said.
It is hoped that a satellite unit will be rolled out to the Kings Cross nightclub hotspot later in the trial.
The initiative complements anti-violence laws and regulations brought in following community outrage over one-punch assaults.