Series of actions taken to prevent sexual assault and violence since “Change the Course” report

Series of actions taken to prevent sexual assault and violence since “Change the Course” report

On the second anniversary of the release of the Change the Course Report our Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar has made a statement on the actions La Trobe is taking to address sexual assault and violence.

Today marks the second anniversary of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Change the Course Report: A National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities, which was undertaken as part of Universities Australia’s Respect. Now. Always. program that aims to prevent sexual assault and violence in university communities and improve how universities respond to and support those who have been affected by sexual assault.

Over the last two years La Trobe University has been taking action in response to the key recommendations of the Report, and we have made significant progress in preventing and responding to sexual assault and harassment in the La Trobe community. A list of initiatives implemented at La Trobe can be seen below.

While we have made progress in addressing sexual assault and violence within our community, there is still work to do, particularly to address the underlying causes and drivers of gendered violence. We can all play a part by supporting respectful relationships, challenging unacceptable behaviours and making our campuses safe places. Please contact Speak Up for support or advice if you witness or experience unacceptable or concerning behaviours including sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor

1 August 2019

Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor

La Trobe University actions to address sexual assault and violence

  • Partnering with Our Watch over 18 months on a whole of university approach to the prevention of violence against women
  • Further growth and development of our Speak Up service, which supports and advises students and staff on sexual assault and sexual harassment and other forms of unacceptable and concerning behaviours
  • Working on stronger linkages with the Centres Against Sexual Assault services on regional campuses, in addition to having a sexual assault counsellor on our Melbourne campus
  • Ongoing work in training, education and communication for staff and students on various topics including gender inequality, respectful relationships, consent, bystander action and responding to disclosures
  • Our student union and student associations taking a lead with the Be a Better Human Campaign, which emphasises the importance of consent, respect and empathy
  • Rolling out training for higher degree by research supervisors and candidates on respectful relationships, using recent materials developed by the Australian Council of Graduate Research
  • Training Speak Up staff to support student peers in delivering an innovative and evidence-based Canadian program, the Enhanced Access, Acknowledge (ACT) program, to prevent sexual assault, which is planned for rollout in early 2020
  • Hosting Tomorrow Man workshops for male students and staff which focus on redefining masculinity and supporting men to live healthy lives, as well as appointing a Men’s Wellbeing Co-ordinator for our male students
  • Working more closely with the Judith Lumley Centre and the La Trobe Violence Against Women research network La Trobe Violence Against Women Research Network (LAVAWN)
  • Reviewing our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Policy and related policies and guidelines
  • Making improvements to a range of safety and security measures on all our campuses
  • Implementation the recommendations from independent reviews of counselling and accommodation services, which are leading to improvements in services and support
  • Developing partnerships and providing strong leadership on gender inequality including the SAGE Athena SWAN program, Male Champions of Change and Women’s Health in the North

Need help now?

If you or someone you know has been the victim of inappropriate behaviour and would like support, you can contact:

Speak Up

Speak Up is a free and confidential service for students who experience or witness unacceptable or concerning behaviour.

Speak Up workers can provide you advice, support or help you report an incident to police or other authorities.

Phone 03 9479 8999, email or submit theonline reporting form here.

There’s also an option to remain anonymous.

Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault (for students at Melbourne)

NCASA are specialist counsellors for people who have experienced sexual assault. Call their counselling line on 03 9496 2240.

There is also a NCASA worker that operates out of the La Trobe Counselling department once a week so it easy for students to access her.

They’ll also be able to connect regional students with their closest Centre Against Sexual Assault.

For after-hours help, call 1800 806 292.

1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)

A 24-hour helpline offering support to support impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.

In an emergency, dial 000.

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