During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence Campaign, Vice-Chancellor and President Mark Scott shares how the University community can get involved in responding to gender-based violence.
In the lead up to this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I’ve been reflecting on what we can do to tackle this great challenge of our time.
The United Nations describes gender-based violence as one of the most widespread, persistent, and devastating human rights challenges in our world today. It includes all forms of violence against people based on their gender, and includes sexual harassment, and domestic and family violence.
Today, 25 November, marks the beginning of the worldwide 16 Days of Activism – a time when we are all encouraged to show support, raise awareness, and take action against gendered violence.
I’m proud of the world-class research our academics are delivering to find new solutions to tackle this challenge. Recently, colleagues from across our disciplines gathered with community leaders at a conference to discuss new collaborations between researchers in domestic and family violence and community organisations. At the conference, Hayley Foster, Chief Executive Officer of Full Stop Australia spoke about the new National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032, and I’d like to highlight some of the actions for us.
This new National Plan sets out the need for educational institutions to integrate intervention initiatives into their work and engage all young people, in respectful behaviours. It also sets out the importance of addressing unique barriers faced by our vulnerable communities. I’m proud of the work that the University of Sydney has done to establish the Safer Communities Office, a specialised service providing students and staff with trauma-informed support and delivering preventative education across the University.
There is still much more work to do, and I’m looking forward to partnering with our students and colleagues to continue to build a community which thrives through equity, diversity and inclusion as we roll out our Sydney in 2032 Strategy.
The National Plan also sets out actions for workplaces in tackling the challenge of gender-based violence, including the need to foster gender equality at work, ensure our environment is safe, and provide leave entitlements for those experiencing violence.
Creating a community where all people can flourish is another important ambition of our Sydney in 2032 Strategy, and I’d like to encourage colleagues to continue accessing the professional development and leadership opportunities we provide to advance this.
Through these actions, we can all work together to tackle the complex challenge of ending gender-based violence in one generation – and we can ensure the University of Sydney is a place where all our staff and students feel safe, supported, and able to bring their whole selves to our campuses.
Vice-Chancellor and President