FOREWARNED: Canadian backpackers Marianne Richard, left, and Judith Lambert welcome signs in Byron Bay advising women to be wa
FOREWARNED: Canadian backpackers Marianne Richard, left, and Judith Lambert welcome signs in Byron Bay advising women to be wa

A sign of the times

By MEGAN KINNINMENT and SAMANTHA TURNBULL

CANADIAN backpackers Judith Lambert and Marianne Richard arrived in Byron Bay three days ago blissfully unaware they could be at risk of sexual assault.

The two travellers, from French-speaking Quebec, yesterday told The Northern Star they would welcome a proposal by Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham to erect warning signs alerting visitors of the risk of sexual attacks in the town.

The council yesterday voted to refer the idea to an interagency sexual assault meeting later this month.

"The signage is a good idea. Byron Bay looks safe. It's a small town," Marianne Richard said.

"I would appreciate knowing about this," added friend Judith Lambert.

"There's signs in the hostels warning us about thieves, and there's signs in the bars in Sydney warning about drinkspiking."

Both young women said the warning signs would not deter them from visiting Byron Bay.

They were, however, angry that the backpacker hostel they had stayed at for the past three nights had not warned them on arrival of the recent spate of rapes in the town, such as that of a 19-year-old backpacker at Clarks Beach in March.

"They should have told us. If they knew about this and they don't warn you, that's scary," Ms Richard said.

Cr Barham said her idea was to include a 'welcome' message on the signs with the warnings.

What do you think?

Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email opin- ions@northernstar.com.au



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