Respect at La Trobe

Respect at La Trobe is our ongoing commitment to build a respectful, safe and secure community where every student, staff member and visitor to our University can achieve to their highest potential.

We will work together to ensure all are valued, included and supported and we will continue to recognise and celebrate our differences as a strength. Everyone in our community has a role to play.

We will foster respectful relationships but we will also challenge and deal with attitudes and behaviours which are not acceptable. Sexual assault and sexual harassment will not be tolerated in our University. Victims/survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault will be supported. We will also work towards and partner with others in the broader community to prevent and change the culture that supports sexual violence and unacceptable behaviours in any form.

National Student Safety Survey

The National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) is an initiative funded by Australian universities that collect data to determine the scale and nature of the sexual assault and sexual harassment (sexual harm) experience by tertiary education students.

The survey will commence on 6 September and conclude on 3 October 2021. The results are expected to be released in early 2022.

Learn more about the survey through our FAQ's page

Safety on our campuses is a high priority. We are working hard to ensure our campuses are safe places to be and we will continue to make ongoing safety and security improvements.

Current safety measures in place include:

  • dedicated UNI-Safe Service. Security officers are available to escort students and staff after dark between buildings, campus car parks and local transport.
  • increased security patrols through our residential spaces.
  • working closely with Living at La Trobe to educate new students about safety for the year ahead.
  • increased lighting across campuses and on designated walking paths.
  • increased CCTV on designated walking paths.
  • improved camera operating systems to maximise the use of our infrastructure.

Respect. Now. Always

In 2016 we joined 39 other Australian universities to make a national long-term commitment to prevent and address sexual harassment and sexual assault in university communities through the initiative, Respect. Now Always.

As part of this initiative the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) conducted Australia’s first ever national survey to investigate the nature and scale of university student experience of sexual assault and harassment.

View the AHRC 2017 student survey results.

AHRC Change the Course Report recommendations

We are taking action and making progress on the nine recommendations made in the AHRC Change the Course report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian universities. There is still much work to do as this is a long term commitment to change attitudes, behaviours and culture.

Key actions taken so far include:

  • establishment of our Campus Safety Group, chaired by our Vice-Chancellor, who monitor and evaluate actions taken to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and sexual assault.
  • development and promotion of our Safer Community Service which supports and advises students and staff on all forms of unacceptable behaviours including sexual violence.
  • partnering with Our Watch to develop and trial a ground breaking Respect and Equality program to help prevent sexual violence.
  • development of a stand-alone Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Policy within a suite of improved policies and procedures, including reviews by an independent expert.
  • improvements to counselling services, with a specialist sexual assault counsellor (NCASA) on Melbourne Campus (Bundoora) and strong links with CASA services on other campuses.
  • provision of training and education for students, student leaders and staff covering topics such as respectful relationships, consent, bystander action, sexual assault and responding to disclosures and boundaries.
  • independent reviews of counselling services and accommodation services have occurred with implementation of recommendations and improvements in progress.

View our AHRC recommendations progress report [PDF 175KB].

Bystander Action Program

The University has developed the La Trobe AIDED Bystander Program, which is an evidence-based 4.5-hour face-to-face training. It uses the Latane bystander approach and embeds recommendations from VicHealth’s Bystander for Primary Prevention: a rapid review’s (2017) recommendations.

Respectful Behaviour and Culture Module

As part of the University’s continuous improvement in respectful relationship education, the institution launched its own in-house module called Respectful Behaviour and Culture in 2021. This module replaced the Consent Matters module and now focuses on addressing the drivers of sexual harm in line with the principles of Educating for Equality approach.

Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Harm

The University has revamped its face-to-face Responding to Disclosure of Sexual Harm training. The new training incorporates recommendations from TEQSA’s Good Practice Note: Preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment in the Australian higher education sector (2020) and Our Watch’s Practice Guidance: A Victim/Survivor-Centred Approach to Responding to Violence (2021).

First Responder Training (face-to-face)

The Safer Community continues to deliver first responder training to security officers. The training provides more in-depth training beyond the skills provided in the Responding to Disclosure of Sexual Harm training.

LGBTIQA+ Ally Training

Ally training focuses on supporting students who have experienced harm or discrimination. Emerging literature shows the relationship between drivers of violence against women and the LGBTIQA+ communities. It also emphasises the unique drivers of violence against LGBTIQA+ people and how to foster a safe and inclusive environment. As such, La Trobe has recognised the importance of including such topics in our ALLY program.

Flip the Script - Enhanced Assess Acknowledge Act (EAAA) Program

The Flip the Script program is designed to empower women in all their diversity to resist acquaintance sexual assault and trust their judgement when sexual safety is threatened. The program is developed by Professor Charlene Y Senn and has been extensively evaluated as one of the most effective resistance programs in reducing sexual harm for women.

Preventing Sexual Harm and Gender-Based Violence (Leaders and Managers)

As a continuum of our efforts to eliminate gender-based violence and sexual harm, the University will roll out our Educating for Equality training for managers and University leaders. The one-hour briefing informs managers and leaders about how and what our institution can and will do to prevent sexual harm.

Sexual Harm

Since the last survey, the University has developed a standalone policy and procedure for sexual harm. This policy was reviewed and updated in 2021. The policy now has a strong focus on prevention, education, and trauma-informed response from the University.

Campus Safety Group

The Campus Safety Group is now the University’s top governance committee with oversight of the University’s strategies and initiatives in the prevention and response of sexual harm and gender-based violence. This group is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and with senior staff and Victoria Police in attendance.

Women's Safe Place

In recognition that women experience suppression in all settings across their lifespan, Safer Community has created Women’s Safe Place in Bundoora and Bendigo. The operation of the space is supported and developed in partnership with social work placement students.

Student Leadership Programs

- Respect Champions Program - 2018/19

- Living at La Trobe Residential Assistants training, including consent and responding to disclosures of sexual harm.

Tertiary Primary Prevention network

La Trobe University works closely with our counterparts at other universities in a combined effort to eliminate sexual harm and gender-based violence. La Trobe is a Tertiary Primary Prevention Network member and meets regularly with universities from across Victoria to discuss best practices, share ideas, and further the primary prevention profession.

Tertiary Safer Community Network

La Trobe University has been a longstanding member of the Tertiary Safer Community Network. The network frequently gathers to discuss best practices for responding to sexual harm cases, strategies for supporting students and ideas on safety planning. The network also discusses methods in assessing violence risks and strategies to keep the university communities safe.

Our Watch

La Trobe University has worked with Our Watch to develop the whole institution approach in preventing and responding to sexual harm. La Trobe University was one of the four institutions to be part of the pilot program, culminating in the Educating for Equality Framework released in early 2021.

Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)

The University has established partnerships with Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault (NCASA) and Centre Against Sexual Assault Central Victoria to provide members of the La Trobe community with improved access to CASA counselling and services. CASA counsellors are available at the Bundoora and Bendigo campuses, and they work with the Division of Student Health and Wellbeing in preventing and responding to sexual harm.

Safer Community

If you have experienced or witnessed unacceptable or concerning behaviour, including sexual harassment and assault. Please contact our Safer Community service.

For emergency assistance, please call: 000 or 03 9479 2222

Need a UNI-safe escort after dark?

  • Melbourne Campus (Bundoora): (03) 9479 2222
  • Albury-Wodonga Campus: (03) 9479 2222
  • Bendigo Campus: (03) 5444 7999