Safe and Respected at La Trobe

Content note: This website discusses sexual harm, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. If you are currently in distress, please contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for support. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

This campaign is supporting the delivery of La Trobe's Sexual Harm Prevention and Response Action Plan 2023 - 2026.

If you have experienced sexual harm, it's not your fault and you're not alone.

  • We believe you
  • You're not alone
  • It's not your fault
  • We are here to help

What is the Safe and Respected at La Trobe campaign?

La Trobe does not tolerate sexual harm in any form. The campaign is for staff and students and raises awareness about sexual harm and the support we provide. It also helps prevent further harm from occurring. We want to protect our students and staff and foster a safer environment for everyone in our community.

What is sexual harm?

Sexual harm is an ‘umbrella term’ used to describe any sexual behaviour where a person feels uncomfortable, intimidated or threatened. It includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.

Here are some examples of sexual harm with some resources to learn more about them.

Sexual harm is:

  • someone making sexually suggestive comments or jokes e.g. making comments to you that have a sexual meaning
  • someone sharing nude or sexual images without consent
  • unwanted touching e.g. touching, grabbing or making other physical contact with you without your consent
  • staring or leering of a sexual nature
  • being pressured, intimidated or coerced into sexual activity e.g. invitations for sexual activity that turn into threats or not taking no for an answer
  • receiving sexually explicit social posts, emails or texts without consent e.g. notes, text messages, emails, social media Direct Messages (DMs) that talk about sexual things, that you have not requested
  • being harassed because of your sexuality e.g. being treated differently because of who you are attracted to
  • receiving repeated, unwanted requests for sex

Read more about understanding sexual harm and its forms:

Definitions

Coercive control is abusive behaviour used to cause fear and/or control a person or situation.

View this video about coercive control from the Australian National Research Organisation for Women's Safety (ANROWS) to help you recognise controlling behaviour.

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual behaviour where a person might be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Use this tool by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to get answers to your anonymous questions about sexual harassment and find relevant support.

Sexual assault is any sort of sexual behaviour that you don’t agree to. It involves intentionally touching another person in a sexual manner, and where the person who was touched did not agree nor consent.

Touching could be with any part of the body or with anything else. Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent, including when they have withdrawn consent.

Find your local specialist sexual assault service in Victoria.

What to expect when you call a hotline

If you call a hotline, here is what you might expect:

  • The helpline worker will ask you a few questions to see what’s going on for you
  • Once that’s done, you can talk about whatever you want to
  • The helpline worker will listen, make sure you’re safe and then talk about different options as your next step

Some examples of hotlines you might contact are:

For more information, view this article by Reach Out on what to expect when you call a hotline.

How to help a friend who has experienced sexual harm

When someone tells you they’ve experienced sexual harm, it can be confronting. You might be unsure what to say or how to respond. View the below articles for some tips on what you can do if someone discloses to you that they’ve experienced sexual harm.

Support for yourself

You can seek support for yourself as helping someone after sexual harm can be distressing and/or challenging for you too. Reach out to Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion, who can connect you with support options.

If you witness sexual harm and want to intervene

Being an active bystander can be an important way to help people experiencing harm.

If you would like to become an active bystander:

Remember: In an emergency, call 000 and then notify Security (if on campus) on 03 9479 2222 so they can direct the emergency personnel.

Safer Community

Safer Community is a free, confidential support service for students and staff who experience concerning, threatening, inappropriate or uncomfortable behaviour.

Safer Community will listen, believe and support you and will work with you to help you decide on a course of action that is right for you.

Contact Safer Community:

Where to get support

Support at La Trobe

Support from organisations outside La Trobe

  • 1800 RESPECT: Call 1800 737 732
  • CASA House: Call 03 9635 3610: 24 HOURS, 7 days a week—counselling support line for victim-survivors of sexual violence.
  • Sexual Assault Crisis Line: After Hours 1800 806 292. Provide crisis response, support and advocacy for people who have experienced Sexual violence.
  • Daisy app: Connecting women who are experiencing or have experienced sexual assault, and domestic and family violence to services in their state and the local area.
  • Thorne Harbour: Call 03 9865 6700. LGBTIQA+ specialist support and health service for the LGBTIQA+ Community.
  • Men’s Line: Call 1300 78 99 78. Free professional 24/7 telephone counselling support for men with concerns about mental health, anger management, family violence (using and experiencing), addiction, relationships, stress, and wellbeing.

Further information and resources

Campaign resources

View the links below to download campaign images, our online video background and email signature.

FAQs about the Safe and Respected at La Trobe campaign

1. It’s the right thing to do.

2. It is your right and responsibility to live, work and study in a safe environment.

3. The results of the 2021 National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) revealed concerning rates of sexual harassment and assault. This data prompted the University to act to protect our students and staff and foster a safer environment for all.

La Trobe University is taking concrete steps to address sexual harm. For example, we’ve included mandatory consent and respectful relationships training for all students in our Respectful Behaviour and Culture Module. We want to create awareness and prevent incidents. You can read more about what we do on the Respect at La Trobe website.

The Sexual Harm Prevention and Response Action Plan was created by a Respect at La Trobe task force and launched in 2023. The task force was made up of students and staff from across the La Trobe community. The action in the plan promotes respectful relationships and challenges unacceptable attitudes and behaviours that contribute to sexual harm, gender-based violence and gender discrimination.

This campaign is being driven by the Respectful Communities team within Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion. It was created in consultation with student representatives in working groups, plus many different representatives and experts in the sexual harm prevention space both internally and externally from across the University, such as Safer Community and MyLaTrobe. For questions about this campaign, email respect@latrobe.edu.au

Everyone has a role to play in sexual harm prevention.

We encourage student engagement through participation in student-led advocacy groups, attending workshops and training, and sharing feedback through designated channels. Your voices are vital in shaping a safer and more respectful campus for everyone. Email respect@latrobe.edu.au for more information about further opportunities to help support this campaign.

At La Trobe University, our commitment to preventing sexual harm extends to fostering a culture of respect for everyone. The evidence tells us that women and gender-diverse people experience higher rates of sexual harm. It’s important to be clear that our initiatives are designed to support and promote respect for individuals of all genders within the university community. We encourage open discussions that acknowledge the impact of sexual harm on everyone.

If you are in danger or worried about your safety, call 000 and ask for the Police.