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Falls Festival Tells Men 'Have Some Respect' After Sex Assaults Alleged Over NYE

Five women say they were assaulted at Tasmanian leg of the festival.

06/01/2017 8:44 AM AEDT | Updated 06/01/2017 10:22 AM AEDT
Fairfax Media
Falls Festival at Marion Bay has been marred by reports of sexual assault.

The organisers of Falls Festival have slammed alleged sexual assaults that occurred at the Tasmanian event over New Year's Eve, saying men need "to have some respect and stop taking these liberties".

At least five women have reported being sexually assaulted and groped at the Marion Bay leg of the national festival last weekend, with one woman claiming she was raped in the campgrounds. Tasmanian police warned festival patrons to "be extra conscious of their personal safety and to look after each other", but in a strong statement on Facebook, festival organisers placed the onus squarely on the alleged perpetrators.

"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.

"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."

The festival said it could not provide further comment, due to the ongoing police investigation, but said organisers were "deeply saddened and disturbed by these allegations".

Two women reported being assaulted in moshpits at the festival, one on Thursday night and another on Friday afternoon, while police said a "young girl" reported an incident in the campgrounds on Thursday night.

Two further reports have been made to police. Tasmanian police have called for further information from anyone who witnessed the incidents, including a woman who intervened during the Thursday night moshpit incident.

"If any person has any information they are encouraged to contact Tasmania Police on 131 444... Victims of sexual assault can also contact the Sexual Assault Support Service at any time on 1800 697 877," police said in a statement.

Falls had earlier been marred by a crowd crush at its Lorne event in Victoria, with many people injured and hospitalised after rushing to leave one of the stage areas. Festival organisers posted this advisory on New Year's Eve.

Falls fans responded positively to the festival's Facebook post.

"I don't have to be "vigilant" about this sort of s**t at festivals, or life in general, so there is no reason that girls should have to wear that responsibility," wrote one man.

"Thank you Falls Fest for your woke message regarding respect for women and for each other," said another fan.

"We need to stop focusing on how victims should change their behaviour and start focusing on the disgusting actions of the idiots that think this kind of behaviour is acceptable!" wrote another woman.

Tasmanian police said they instituted "extra security measures" for moshpit areas after the alleged incidents.

"The best thing you can do is to stay with your friends at all times and look out for each other. If you become isolated and feel unsafe at any time, go straight to the nearest police officer, security guard and talk to them," said Inspector Doug Rossiter.



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