ONE year on from the Human Rights Commission’s Change the Course report, the Vice Chancellor of Charles Sturt University, Professor Andrew Vann, said while inroads have been made, there is still more work to do.
The report provided greater insight into the nature, prevalence and reporting of sexual violence at universities, including CSU, with 18 per cent of the 803 Charles Sturt University survey participants reporting they had been sexually harassed at university and 3.3 per cent had been sexually assaulted at university in 2015/2016.
Professor Vann said since the release of the report, CSU has implemented a comprehensive plan to address sexual violence.
“We have adopted all recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Universities Australia 10 Point Plan to ensure we consider all aspects of awareness and prevention, improving support, reviewing progress and training and education in residences,” he said.
Among the changes implemented in the past year include establishing a Respect. Now. Always. working party to provide ongoing action planning and implementation of the recommendations, developing resources for staff responding to student disclosures and providing training to staff responding to disclosures of sexual violence.
“Over 800 staff have been trained in assisting students in distress including responding to disclosures of sexual violence and effective reporting,” he said.
The university has also rolled out Consent Matters training to all student leaders and developed and rolled out Playing Right, an award-winning program, designed to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment by educating students living in CSU residences.
Professor Vann said the program will continue to expand in 2019 and the university will continue to do more.
“We are already planning our expanded efforts in 2019 to ensure our students feel safe, survivors feel supported and people are informed to respond and report,” he said.
“We’re working hard, but there is still more to be done.”