The University of Sydney has today adopted a new Student Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy.
Developed in consultation with the Safer Communities Advisory Group with student representative and expert input, the policy details how the University will support survivors, protect confidentiality and eliminate unacceptable behaviour that does not reflect the University’s values.
The implementation of the policy was one of the recommendations of the Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia’s Change the Course, and follows the release of Universities Australia’s own guidelines last month.
“In the past 12 months we have taken some significant steps in collaboration with students, staff and experts in the field to implement the recommendations of the Change the Course report,” said Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence.
“These steps are part of our ongoing commitment to provide a safe, respectful and supportive environment for all our staff and students.”
The University has also launched a new online portal that allows confidential disclosure of an incident, by a student, without the need to make a formal complaint.
This will allow any student to bring an incident to the University’s attention and be in control of next steps; whether it is accessing support or initiating a formal reporting process.
The University will continue to make refinements to the portal based on valuable feedback from students and staff, including an upcoming update that will enable anyone to make a disclosure.
“The portal is one component of our commitment to an improved complaints handling process that puts the needs of survivors first,” said Dr Spence.
Other work undertaken by the University in the last 12 months includes the introduction of a Consent Matters module for all commencing students, bystander training for student leaders, responding with compassion training for staff, and the appointment of two Student Liaison Officers in November last year to help students access support.
The University continues to work with the residential colleges to implement all recommendations outlined in the 2017 Broderick Report on cultural renewal and will do the same when St Paul’s review is released later this year.
“While we have made significant progress, there is more we need to do,” said Dr Spence.
“We will continue to liaise with our students and community to ensure all students feel safe on campus and college grounds at all times.”