The University of Wollongong is committed to creating a safe and respectful environment for all members of our community. We believe everyone has the right to feel safe and supported on campus, free from discrimination, harassment and assault. We encourage all members of the community to speak out, report and seek support if they see behaviour that is threatening, offensive, or could be seen to be harassing or discriminatory in any way. The Safe and Respectful Communities team is responsible for leading the University’s work to prevent sexual assault and harassment from occurring on our campuses and for providing coordinated response and support if it does happen.
Safe and Respectful Communities
Committed to creating a safe and respectful community.
We believe everyone has the right to feel safe and supported on campus, free from discrimination, harassment and assault.Creating a culture of respect
At the University of Wollongong, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe, respected and supported on campus, free from discrimination, harassment and assault.
We have adopted all nine recommendations arising from the Australian Human Rights Commission ‘Change the Course’ report to support a safe and respectful environment for all of our students and staff. The critical ‘Change the Course’ report that was released in 2017 was developed based on the survey in 2016 reporting the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment in Australian universities. All Australian universities are getting behind this important initiative.
Since the release, the University of Wollongong has improved governance, education and prevention strategies. The Safe and Respectful Communities Action Plan lays out an action to implement the recommendations that have arisen from that survey. Here at the University of Wollongong, we have a dedicated team to monitor processes to make sure that as a community we've got a very clear plan of action for both immediate and long term strategies that deal with the systemic and deeply distressing societal issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment. However, it is the collective responsibility of the entire university community to deal with these issues. So my plea is anyone who sees behaviour that is threatening, offensive or could be harassing or discriminatory in any way, please speak out, come forward and report it. We also need to be mindful of power relationships and creating environments that are supportive, nurturing and enabling. I urge anyone who has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment to contact formal channels in the university and access the special support services available.
For our students, these support services are available regardless of where a student is living or where the incident occurred. Our university has adopted a support first model that works with the student to ensure that they are supported on their terms. With any allegation of a criminal offence, individuals are encouraged and supported in reporting these incidents to the police. I am personally committed to addressing sexual assault and sexual harassment issues
at our university campuses. Importantly, I want to make sure we are creating safe and supportive environments. We need to collectively commit to working together to ensure that this dark shadow over university life and our society is forever removed. University should be a beacon for hope, respect and dignity. Although I am proud to say that we've made some progress since the development of the Safe and Respectful Communities Action Plan, there is still so much more to be done and none of us can do this alone.
In particular, I need your help to change our culture, develop and refine processes, and to develop a culture of respect. We also need to appropriately respond by supporting victims of abuse and sanctioning perpetrators through appropriate channels.
Let's commit to ending sexual violence and harassment on our campuses.