Have your say on sexual assault and harassment

As part of the Respect. Now. Always. initiative, La Trobe is playing its part in a world-first student survey on sexual assault and harassment. The evidence gathered will help form a nationwide response. It will also help to nurture an Australian campus culture based on zero tolerance, safety and respect.

Earlier this year, Professor John Dewar, the Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University, addressed this troubling topic. Professor John Dewar was responding to the release of the documentary, The Hunting Ground. Although ‘uncomfortable to watch’, Professor Dewar encouraged everyone to view the film. Professor Dewar reinforced the message that Australian campuses must provide a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for all.

Who is running the survey and why?

The survey is a collaboration between Universities Australia (the peak body representing Australia’s university sector), the AHRC, the Australian Human Rights Centre at the University of New South Wales, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Roy Morgan Research.

What is the Respect. Now. Always. initiative?

Building on the work already undertaken by individual universities to develop policies, procedures and support services, Respect. Now. Always highlights the determination of Australia’s universities to safeguard students from sexual assault and harassment. It will help to raise awareness among the 1.3 million students in Australian universities that sexual assault and harassment are unacceptable. It will also lift the visibility of the services available for students who need help and support.

Watch Respect. Now. Always.

Respect. Now. Always is an unprecedented initiative involving all 39 of Australia’s universities. It underlines protection of victims, supportive environments, reporting mechanisms and zero tolerance of sexual harassment and assault. Its focus is on evidence-gathering, information sharing and, ultimately, education.

Who should complete the survey?

Every Australian university is inviting a cross section of students to complete the survey. The survey began 19 September and will close on 28 October. Randomly selected students will receive an invitation from La Trobe during this period and we strongly encourage you to complete the survey even if you have not experienced these behaviours – to ensure we get a clear picture of prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in our student community. If you do not received an invitation, you can still contribute by making an anonymous submission, and we encourage this as well.

All the information provided by students is strictly confidential and will not be provided to La Trobe University. The survey, being run by the Australian Human Rights Commission with assistance from Roy Morgan Research, ensures that responses will be de-identified to protect student privacy.

What’s La Trobe doing about violence prevention and support?

In 2015, Professor Dewar established Project Unified, a university-wide program committed to violence prevention and support.

Project Unified is dedicated to ensuring La Trobe provides a safe and welcoming environment for students, staff and visitors across all campuses. Our commitment is to listen, believe and support those affected by violence or at risk of violence to ensure no one feels unsafe or alone.

Students and staff can also access a range of resources. These support those affected by violence and engage members of the La Trobe community in primary prevention.

Project Unified has established a dedicated support hotline for students and staff affected by violence. This free and confidential service is provided by independent professionals and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To contact the Violence Prevention and Support Hotline, call 1300 687 399. You can also email the Project Unified team at supportprevent@latrobe.edu.au

If you need help, or to talk with someone, specialist support is available by calling the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).