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Australia: New fence at The Gap “just not high enough”, The Sydney Morning Herald, Jun. 26, 2011

The Australian province of Woollahra is installing fencing at a scenic overlook along the Sydney coastline to prevent people from jumping. About 50 people per year die by suicide at the site, which is known as The Gap. Controversy surrounding the design of the fence illustrates some of the issues that can arise when it comes to planning suicide prevention barriers. Dianne Gaddin, who lost her daughter to suicide at The Gap, has said that the fence is not tall enough and could easily be climbed by people “in a desperate situation.” According to a local government spokesperson, “We know it is not impossible to climb it, but it’s about buying time by making it difficult so that those considering suicide may stop to reconsider.” In planning the fence, local authorities also considered the need to preserve the view for sightseers visiting The Gap. A concave design was chosen to make it harder to get a foothold on the fence, which is about four and a quarter feet tall. The fence is part of a $2.2 million suicide prevention plan that also includes emergency telephones, closed-circuit television cameras, lighting and signs. The Black Dog Institute and Lifeline Australia are advising the Woollahra local government on the project.

Read the article at www.smh.com.au.