A woman and man writing on the ground using chalk in front of the quad

Making campus a safe community for all

We are here to help if you have experienced a critical incident

Sharon Chung from the Safer Communities Office explains the support we offer, so you know what to expect and are informed to make the decision that’s most comfortable to you.

What do you and your team do at the Safer Communities Office?

Short answer: Tailored support to those who have experienced a range of incidents on or off campus.

The Safer Communities Office provides tailored and personalised support to you if you have experienced incidents such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic/family violence, issues relating to modern slavery or an incident that has had a significant impact on your wellbeing and subsequent studies.

This support can vary based on your needs, and a chat with our Student Liaison Officers can help to work that out. Our support can include but is not limited to safety planning, assistance to navigate internal and external reporting or support options, and working out a plan to manage your studies to reduce the impact of what is happening for you.

Our team also provides support to manage critical incidents and provides services for students who are feeling unsafe or need support to manage unforeseen circumstances that impact their safety and wellbeing.

What kind of support do Student Liaison Officers provide? How is it different from the Student Counselling Service?

Short answer: Case management support.

Our Student Liaison Officers provide case management, which is different to counselling. Case management involves looking at what is happening for you holistically and considering how to address each component of what is happening for you. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming if you have a few different things happening or if what you are experiencing is complex.

Case management involves meeting with you, listening to you and understanding what practical needs you need support with. It can help you navigate processes or work out more than one support option to meet your needs. Case management means you can work with one person to help coordinate everything so it becomes easier to manage and keep track of your supports.

This could either be a one-off chat with us or you may decide that you would like to continue your connection with us to talk through practical solutions and a plan to manage your current situation. We also work closely with other teams such as the Student Counselling Service who can provide counselling and psychological services. We can continue to provide case management support if you are receiving counselling as they are different.

Do you offer support to culturally linguistic and diverse students?

Short answer: Yes, definitely.

Our team is experienced in working with students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We have access to interpreters which we can book if students feel that they would be more comfortable chatting with us in their first language. We work with the entire range of students who attend the University. No matter what your background is or how you identify, we can provide support to you.

How to get in touch with the team?

Students can contact us by phone or email.

1.     Phone: 8627 6808 (Mon-Fri 8.30am-5.30pm)

2.     Email: safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au

When should a student reach out to the Safer Communities Office?

Short answer: Whenever you are ready.

You can reach out to us whenever you feel ready and comfortable to. It might be soon after an incident or a long time after something happened. The incident might have happened on or off campus or online. You may also want to reach out to get some advice to help out a friend if you are supporting them.

What might students expect after getting in touch?

Short answer: An initial chat and we will work as you need from there.

When you contact us we will talk with you to understand your situation better as well as understand what support you may need. We’ll also explain confidentiality and what you can expect from our service.

An initial chat may vary anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. You can share as little or as much about what has happened to you as you are comfortable with.

We will work with you to determine what you need and who can help you. We will check if you have any preferences in the type of support you need as well as any other requirements you may have, such as accessibility to the service or if you would like to use an interpreter. We will assess the support you require in consultation with you.

Following that initial chat, if you want to stay in contact you will then be assigned a Student Liaison Officer so you can have a consistent person to talk to and not have to repeat what has happened. Each step along the way is up to you.

Any other ways students can get involved with the Safer Communities Office?  

Short answer: We also run training workshops.

Yes, definitely. Our team runs training for students who want to learn more, such as how to respond to disclosures of sexual violence and how to be an active bystander which can be great ways to help your friends and other students.

We also run workshops on healthy relationships and consent. We are the team behind the mandatory online “Consent matters” module that all newly enrolled students are required to complete. We are always looking for students to consult with and to share feedback and experiences on various training that we deliver so if you are interested please get in touch with us.

Many students think that they can only come to our team for support for themselves. We can also chat with you if you are wishing to support a friend who has experienced an incident.

How will students be assured that what they share will be kept private?

Short answer: We treat privacy and confidentiality as a priority.

We know the information you share with us is personal and sensitive. We understand how important it is for you to know that your information will be treated with respect and discretion. While you are accessing our service, we will talk to you about how this works and we will always get informed consent from you prior to facilitating a referral or liaising with others if you want to access another service.

16 November 2021