The national release of the results of the Respect. Now. Always. survey highlights that the University of Western Australia, along with all universities, needs to further build on our efforts to make our community safe.
The Respect. Now. Always. survey is a valuable part of the University’s ongoing commitment to ensure our students, staff and visitors are safe from sexual assault and sexual harassment. The results inform the University about how we can better prevent sexual assault and harassment and support our community, as this behaviour will not be tolerated at the University.
The University, along with the Student Guild, will use the results of the survey to make our campus safer, offer better support to people who have been affected by sexual assault and harassment and raise awareness of how our community can seek support. We will work across our two organisations, the five residential colleges and the entire university community to ensure improvements are made.
UWA has already undertaken a range of initiatives to improve safety for our University Community. Important work commenced nine months ago with the creation of a Safety on Campus working group comprising of staff and student leaders. The committee is tasked with reviewing all policies, procedures and support services all underpinned by the University policy on sexual harassment. This policy has been strengthened with clear definitions of sexual harassment, sexual violence and sexual abuse and includes UWA staff and students as well as everyone who uses a UWA campus.
Extra support services, such as additional counselling, have been made available to assist those affected.
The Student Guild in partnership with the UWA Heath Promotion Unit run regular training sessions for student leaders on reducing the risk of sexual violence. In 2017 the Student Guild also launched the ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative at the UWA Tavern to encourage students to ask bar staff for “Angela” if they are feeling unsafe, pressured or harassed.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Dawn Freshwater said keeping our students, staff and university visitors safe was a priority and a shared responsibility of the UWA community.
“It is critical that the University and the UWA Student Guild continue to work closely together to improve safety, increase the availability of support services for those affected, and to raise awareness of this important issue,” Professor Freshwater said.
“We have started on this journey but we recognise that further work needs to be done which will be informed by the results of this survey.”
UWA Student Guild President Nevin Jayawardena said there is a nationwide problem with sexual assault on university campuses.
“We need to do better, in getting justice for those affected, but also in providing support so that they have the same opportunities to safely continue their studies as any other student,” Mr Jayawardena said.
“The Guild is proud to be working with the university to provide better support services for those affected and to reform our sexual misconduct policies to be as fair and transparent as possible.”
University support services available to those who need assistance:
- UWA Security can be called 24/7 on 6488 2222.
- A national university support line has been established which can be reached on 1800 572 224.
- UWA Counsellors are available by calling 6488 2423 or by visiting the first floor of the Student Central Building.
- Guild Student Assist Officers are available by calling 6488 2292 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- An online complaint can be lodged at http://www.student.uwa.edu.au/experience/complaints/reports-of-sexual-mi…
- Further information about UWA’s sexual assault and harassment policies and support services can be found at www.student.uwa.edu.au/experience/health/student-safety