UNE’s campus sexual assault response: February 2018 update

Published 22 February 2018

UNE has made or started on a range of changes to address the recommendations made in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2017 Change the Course report.

These and forthcoming changes are aimed at developing a culture of zero tolerance for sexual assault. On the assumption that despite UNE’s most stringent efforts, cases could still occur, the University’s systems for following up and addressing instances of sexual assault are being revised and strengthened.

Further changes will come as audits of UNE’s counselling services and college system are completed.

Changes to date include:

  • A dedicated Project Manager appointed to implement all recommendations of the Change the Course Report;
  • Emergency response plan reviewed and broadened to include sexual assault incidents where personal safety is an immediate risk;
  • UNE owned and operated Security Service commenced in November 2017 to ensure implementation of best practice security for staff and students including event monitoring;
  • Revised events approval system enforcing Liquor Act regulations around Responsible Service of Alcohol, supply of food and water and monitoring of compliance;
  • Initial meeting between UNE and the Armidale Liquor Accord Committee has been held to discuss collegiate approach to students’ safety, Liquor Licensing, Student Events, Security and alcohol consumption;
  • Review of existing UNE bus services for students for increased safety from campus to town for 2018;
  • Development of dedicated, easily accessible web pages and mobile phone apps, on Sexual Assault/Harassment including emergency and help contacts on- and off-campus;
  • Development of an anonymous and confidential online reporting form for incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment;
  • Purchase of training packages relating to consent and disclosure;
  • A Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Committee chaired by the Vice Chancellor has been formed and first three meetings conducted;
  • Four student consultation forums have been held with student college leaders and feedback obtained;
  • Several meetings have been held to date with all Residential College Heads and the Director of the UNE Residential System concerning student consultation, alcohol consumption and the independent audit. 
  • Close engagement has been initiated with the president of University of New England Student Association to discuss Change the Course report and recommendations.

UNE will continue to work towards implementing all 10 recommendations given in the AHRC report, and work towards embedding respect in its campus culture to ensure the safety of everyone who works and studies at the University.