The Respect. Now. Always. campaign was instigated by Universities Australia in collaboration with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to increase awareness of the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities.
Launched in February 2016, the campaign focuses on the determination of Australia’s universities to prevent and address sexual assault and harassment across the sector. The campaign is key in raising awareness of the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment and increase visibility of student support services. The campaign places a spotlight on student and staff wellbeing, and highlights the support avenues available to prevent and manage incidents.
In late 2016, tens of thousands of Australian university students, including the students of the University of Wollongong (UOW), were invited to participate in a prevalence survey surrounding student experiences of sexual assault and harassment. On August 1, 2017, the AHRC released a National Report containing the survey results. UOW committed to publicly releasing its institutional survey data in conjunction with the National Report.
Further information about the definition of sexual assault and harassment is available on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.
Creating a safe work and study environment
UOW is fully supporting the aims of the Respect. Now. Always. campaign and is dedicated to a continuous process of raising awareness, providing support and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of its students and staff. UOW places the highest priority on providing a safe study, living and working environment. Sexual assault and sexual harassment matters are dealt with under a ‘support first’ model and individuals are encouraged to report any incident to UOW for investigation.
UOW offers a range of free programs for staff and students, including:
UOW offers Mental Health First Aid - a course that empowers every trained student and member of staff to help a person who is developing a mental health problem, or who is in a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or the crisis resolves. UOW Mental Health First Aid workshops for students include content from the MATES (Prevention of Violence) and the Consent Matters online module. You can find information on upcoming events here.
The UOW Wellbeing Program includes the Step Up Bystander Intervention course. This course is a prosocial behaviour and bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others. Teaching people about the determinants of prosocial behaviour makes them more aware of why they sometimes don’t help. As a result they are more likely to help in the future. Please note that details about this course will be provided soon.
International Student Programs connect students with people from all over the world, offering opportunities to make new friends, develop skills and link to the local community. Key programs that specifically support students are the Transition to Australia workshops, and social English Conversation Groups that connect students with UOW and wider community members. Prosocial development programs help students establish resilient networks, develop positive behaviours and promote community and individual wellbeing.
UOW has invested in the Epigeum Consent Matters course with the purpose of ensuring a respectful, safe and positive UOW Community. This online course will develop student and staff skills in understanding sexual consent, support and develop their thinking around personal boundaries and how to talk about them. The program also demonstrates different ways to be an effective bystander or respond to a situation that they feel is uncomfortable or requires further action. UOW Wellbeing will complement online modules with a blended learning peer-led experiential program to further develop an understanding of effective prevention of sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual violence.
Responsibilities, Rights and Respect (RRR Module) – an online module for students that promotes respectful relationships on campus free from discrimination or harassment.
In Residence programs - ask your Residential manager about Student Leader programs on violence prevention and programs on health and safety education, including sexual consent.
UOW Wellbeing promotes workshops through the student Life and Wellbeing Program.
EO On-line - an online module for staff that promotes respectful relationships on campus free from discrimination or harassment.
Ethical leadership to prevent gender-based violence in universities
Key leaders and managers at UOW, including Residential Managers, and Senior Academic and Professional staff, attend workshops covering the latest best-practice violence prevention research and leadership skills, policies, procedures and initiatives that promote respect and violence prevention. Our staff and peer leader training programs also include training on how to respond to a disclosure of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Our leadership and staff training programs are delivered by educators who have been specifically trained to deliver sexual violence prevention programs and include guest speakers from the local Violence Abuse & Neglect Service.
UOW’s policies provide information on how it responds to and seeks to prevent incidents:
Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy sets out the University’s response model regarding sexual harassment for staff and students. It contains information regarding how to raise a complaint and seek help.
Close Personal Relationships Guidelines sets out expectations regarding staff obligations to appropriately manage staff-student relationships and relationships between staff members, acknowledging that these relationships can raise issues concerning the balance of power and conflicts of interests. Staff are strongly advised not to enter into close personal relationships with students. However, where they exist or develop, staff are required to disclose the relationship in accordance with the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy. Students are also strongly encouraged to disclose the relationship independently to their Head of School or other appropriate senior officer.
The University of Wollongong has recently established the UOW Safe and Respectful Communities Advisory Group (SARCA Group).
This new Advisory Group has been formed to provide advice directly to the Vice Chancellor to address the recommendations issued in the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Report called Change the Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities, 2017.
UOW has implemented a series of additional actions towards addressing the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Getting emergency help:
- Call Triple Zero (000) to connect to the Police and/or the Ambulance in situations where life is in danger, where a crime is taking place or the situation is critical.
- If you are on a UOW campus call 4221 4900 for UOW Security and they will contact emergency services for you.
- You can raise an alert through the free SafeZone app (www.safezoneapp.com) if you are on campus or in the vicinity of the University. UOW Security will respond and seek assistance from emergency services.
Support in the community:
- NSW Police: call 000 in an emergency, or the Police Assistance Line on 131 444 for non-emergencies.
- After hours:
- A National Universities Support Line (1800 572 224) is available 24/7 offering student support through until November 30, 2017.
- 1800 211 028 Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA), 24/7 National specialist counselling and referral service resourced by staff with expertise in sexual assault and family violence
- A national 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) phone hotline is available 24/7 for people who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence. Ask for an interpreter or translator if required or call TIS on 131 450 and ask them to contact the service on your behalf.
- Violence, Abuse and Neglect Service (VAN): Illawarra and Shoalhaven Local Health District service. In Illawarra district ph: 4222 5000 and ask for a Sexual Assault Counsellor; in Shoalhaven/Rural areas Ph: 44239211 and ask for a Sexual Assault Counsellor;
- NSW Rape Crisis Centre for 24/7 online or telephone support phone 1800 424 017
- Reach out website.
- Victims Services’ Access Line: assisting victims of crime to access services. Call 1800 633 063, Mon-Fri, 8am to 6pm.
- QLife: LGBTQI Telephone Counselling and Information Line. Call 1800 184 527 from 3pm-midnight each day for telephone counselling or online chats.
- MensLine: telephone and online support and information service for men. Call 1300 789 978 at any time.
- During Business hours:
- Twenty 10 Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW
- Liverpool Sexual Health Counselling Service - (02) 9827 8022 Address: South Western Sydney Local Health District Building, Liverpool Hospital Eastern Campus, Corner of Lachlan and Hart Streets, Liverpool NSW 2170
- Liverpool Women’s Health Centre (02) 9601 3555 Address: 26 Bathurst Street, Liverpool NSW 2170
Support at UOW:
- Call the UOW Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Support Service on 1300 303 455 (available 9am to 4.30pm weekdays) for information on support and UOW policies procedures and investigation processes.
- Staff can also access the UOW Employment Assistance Program (EAP) on 1300 361 008 available 24/7.
All information disclosed will be treated confidentially and only shared to third parties with your consent or if required or authorised under law.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is a crime, that can happen to anyone, of any age, gender, cultural background or sexual orientation. Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent, or if a child or young person under 18 is exposed to sexual activities.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature which a person should expect will make the recipient feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behaviour which creates a sexually hostile working or studying environment. Sexual harassment is not behaviour which is based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect. Sexual assault or sexual harassment can happen to anyone in our community. Female, male and LGBTIQ+ community members can be victims of sexual assault or harassment and are treated equally under the law.
What is informed consent?
To give informed consent you need to have an understanding of what is happening. A person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or who is asleep is unable to give consent. A person who is unable to understand what they are consenting to due to their age or intellectual capacity is unable to give consent. Additionally, consent needs to be free of any type of coercion, for example threats, intimidation or harassment.
Is it an emergency or is your personal safety threatened?
- CALL police / ambulance by dialling triple zero 000
- CALL UOW Security on 4221 4900 or on extension 4900 from a UOW phone or via a campus security telephone if you are on campus
- RAISE AN ALERT through the SAFEZONE app if you are on campus or in the vicinity of the University. UOW Security team will respond and seek assistance from emergency services.
Have you experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment?
Call the UOW Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Support Service on 1300 303 455 (available 9am to 4.30pm weekdays) for information on support and UOW policies procedures and investigation processes. Staff can also access the UOW Employment Assistance Program (EAP) on 1300 361 008 available 24/7
- 1800 RESPECT:A national 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) phone hotline is available 24/7 from 31 July to 30 November, offering student victims and survivors of sexual assault access to around-the-clock support.
- Violence, Abuse and Neglect Service (VAN): Illawarra and Shoalhaven Local Health District service providing crisis, medical and counselling support. Call 1300 792 755 any time.
- NSW Rape Crisis Centre: online and telephone support, call 1800 424 017 at any time.
- Victims Services' Access Line: assisting victims of crime to access services. Call 1800 633 063, Mon-Fri, 8am to 6pm.
- QLife: LGBTIQ Telephone Counselling and Information Line. Call 1800 184 527 from 3pm-midnight each day.
- MensLine: telephone and online support and information service for men. Call 1300 789 978 at any time.
If you are a witness of sexual assault contact the police on 000; or UOW Security on 4221 4900 or by raising an alert through the SAFEZONE app.
If the victim of the assault is with you, you can present to the nearest hospital emergency department and a sexual assault counsellor will attend for support and advice.
Wollongong Hospital on Loftus St in Wollongong is the nearest emergency hospital to the University.
Contact UOW Counselling on 4221 3445 to book a free and confidential appointment for supportive counselling and referral to specialist services if required.
If you are a resident in UOW accommodation, please contact your Student Residence Manager.
Contact the Employee Assistance Program for free and confidential support and advice on 1300 361 008. For more information, please visit the Employee Assistance Program intranet site.
Contact UOW Counselling to book a free and confidential appointment on 4221 3445 or via Level 3 reception Building 11
Students and Staff:
There are many services that can provide referral information if you believe you have committed sexual assault or harassment.
- Mensline: 1300 789 978
- Man Therapy: 1300 222 638
- Men Referral Service: 1300 766 491
- NSW Rape Crisis Centre: 1300 222 638
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