December 2017 Update

December 2017 Update

The University of New England will adopt all nine recommendations made by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in the Change the Course report (PDF,17Mb) concerning sexual assault and sexual harassment on University campuses.

What we have done so far

The Vice-Chancellor (VC) has appointed a project manager reporting directly to the VC who will oversee the implementation of the recommendations and will maintain the momentum of these changes.

An advisory committee comprising of student, academic and professional staff representatives has been formed. This committee, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Annabelle Duncan, will meet officially for the first time just before Christmas to adopt an action plan to make the University of New England a much safer place.

An anonymous blog will be established where questions or comments can be raised to assist the University as we move forward in this area.

To commence the shift in attitudes and behaviours towards sexual assault and harassment, we have held a number of student forums and interviewed college leaders to seek feedback on how we can make the University a more respectful and safer place to be for the entire UNE community.

We have also been talking to the local Armidale Liquor Accord to see what we can do together about the role of alcohol in university events. We have made changes to the events approval system to increase oversight of responsible service of alcohol and strength fulfilment of responsibilities under the Liquor Act to further educate people about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour.

Some of the actions that are proposed to commence positive change are focus groups, bringing in external speakers and offering consent training to all students both on and off campus.

To improve safety on campus, we have altered our safety and security service making this a more approachable and responsive service. We have also improved the bus service to transport people around the campus at night.

The University’s Emergency Response Plan has also been reviewed and we have ensured that important contact information is readily available on the web.

An audit of the University counselling service will be completed in 2018 to make sure that the University is providing support to our students in the way that is needed.

The University will also have an anonymous reporting form to enable those who do not wish to be identified to tell the University about their experience and help the University make these crucial changes.

An audit of the residential system will also be conducted in 2018 to identify what needs to be done to establish a far better culture.

The Vice-Chancellor is taking direct responsibility for change and making the University of New England campus a safe place where everyone is treated with respect at all times.

What is to come in 2018

  • Training for staff and students on responding to disclosures
  • Training for students on consent
  • Specialised training for staff and students identified as more likely to receive a disclosure on responding to disclosures of sexual harassment and sexual assault
  • Further focus groups with students and staff to talk about how we can change the culture together
  • Hosting guest speakers to help raise awareness and promote the messages of safety and respect
  • Greater visibility of key contact information around campus and in colleges
  • An audit of the university’s counselling services
  • An audit of the residential system to identify any contributing factors to assaults in colleges and areas of change
  • An anonymous incident reporting form, so that anyone can report an incident with guaranteed confidentiality
  • A web blog for students to ask questions and share ideas about the campaign
  • A Respect. Now. Always. mobile app