New role to combat sexual violence

A Bendigo-based researcher will explore the causes of sexual assault and violence, as part of a new partnership between La Trobe University and Loddon Campaspe Centre Against Sexual Assault (LCCASA).

The three-and-a-half year PhD role will focus on increasing knowledge, and informing best practice in sexual assault prevention, education, advocacy and counselling across central Victoria.

It will also strengthen the evidence base for LCCASA's advocacy, prevention and response, and guide government action to reduce the incidence of sexual violence.

The scholarship is co-funded by LCCASA and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS) at La Trobe University.

LCCASA Chairperson, Ms Sonya Oper, said the research outcomes from the PhD role will be vital in supporting the organisation’s current strategies.

“We know by the number of people that contact us for direct service and for information and advice that we need to invest in prevention research and interventions that stop sexual assault and violence occurring in the first place.

“We are thrilled to be leading this work in regional Victoria and expect this research role to help achieve better outcomes for rural and regional communities,” Ms Oper said.

Director of ARCSHS, Professor Suzanne Fraser, said the industry PhD forms part of La Trobe University’s ongoing commitment to tackling issues related to gender equality and prevention of violence.

“Partnering with organisations like LCCASA who are making a difference in the communities they serve, makes our research even more vital and effective,” Professor Fraser said.

“We know that rural and regional communities see higher than average rates of sexual assault, abuse and violence, and this research program will help to address that.”

The scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding candidate who is passionate about gender equality and reducing systemic drivers of sexual violence in rural and regional Victoria.

The research will determine effective community, individual and system prevention initiatives and service delivery responses to sexual assault in a regional and rural setting.

The scholarship includes:

*A La Trobe Research Industry Partnership Scholarship for three and a half years, with a value of $27,596.00 per year, to support living costs (2019 rate)
*A fee-relief scholarship for up to four years to undertake a PhD at La Trobe University
*Opportunities to work with La Trobe’s outstanding researchers, and have access to La Trobe University’s suite of professional development.

The successful candidate will be required to spend the majority of the project based at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus, with up to 12 months at LCCASA’s office in Bendigo.

LCCASA is committed to a community that is free from sexual harassment, violence and abuse. It currently delivers counselling and support to over 1000 people per year and information, advocacy and training services to over 1000 professionals, organisations and community members.

For more information and to apply for the LCCASA PhD Scholarship click here

Scholarship applications close 15 November 2019. The successful candidate will be made an offer for candidature and scholarship by the end of December 2019.

For further information regarding the scholarship please contact Associate Professor Christopher Fisher at

For information regarding LCCASA and the scholarship partnership please contact Lee Edmonds, Advocacy & Education Coordinator on 5441 0430 or

Media contact: Kate O’Connor – k.o’ – 5444 7415 / 0436 189 629