June 2019 update - sexual assault and harassment initiatives
The culture changes we’re seeking can only be successful when our whole community comes together to reassess their everyday actions and words.
That’s why our approach and decision-making in UTS's Respect.Now.Always. (RNA) program is largely informed by the UTS Student Voice project. The student voice is also a focus in the the Respect.Now.Always. Strategic Framework that's due to be released in 2019. Building upon our existing initiatives, this framework will identify new areas for action that will have the best chance at creating sustainable change.
Now in its third year, RNA has resulted in a number of changes and additions to the way we approach the issue of sexual violence at UTS.
Ongoing consultation with students has helped shape a number of RNA initiatives at UTS which fall broadly into the following three categories:
A highly visual presence throughout Orientation 2019 including stalls at O’Day, Play Day, Summerfest and International Women's Day that sparked the conversation about rape culture, consent and positive intervention
Integration of conversations around healthy relationships in student onboarding, through the Vice-Chancellor’s welcome and faculty orientation sessions
The launch of Safe Sopor, a safe space created in the UTS Library by our 2018 Artist-in-Residence Natalya Hughes with a special focus on inclusivity
Sex and Ethics training for all UTS Housing Residential Networkers
Face-to-face training sessions for all ActivateUTS student club executives to help them identify, prevent, report and respond to sexual assault and harassment disclosures
A partnership with NSW Family and Community Services to create a consent campaign that features many of our students
<visual: a series of people talking directly into the camera>
Do you like this?
Do you want to keep going?
Back to mine?
What does consent mean to me?
To me consent is
Two people agreeing on something mutually
It makes me feel sexy and safe
Consent does make human connections better
It's so inviting and intriguing, and it turns
For me, it's all in my body language
Maintaining eye contact, smiling, touching
the other person
And of course spoken word. Yes
Do you want to keep going?
Oh god yes
I like that
I'll probably say like, let's do it, or like,
Maybe next time
I really really appreciate it
Like even, you know, during
Can lead to better
Sex, I guess
Sex... you don't want to put that in
It's a really awkward thing to sometimes think
about, but if they respond really well, then
it's like wow
Either way, it's a conversation that you have
Ethical Bystander training for all UTS Peer Networkers
Mandatory Consent Matters training for all students and staff, including face-to-face information sessions held by UTS HELPS. To date, over 44,000 members of our community have completed the 1-hour module and passed the quiz with a 100 per cent pass rate
Good Nights Out training for all ActivateUTS Bar and clubs staff. ActivateUTS will also train staff at other campus bars in the same program.
An ongoing calendar of internally and externally created student-focused communications addressing topics such as sexual consent and bystander behaviours, such as the Valentine’s Day cards (pictured)
Updated resources for UTS staff to help start or facilitate a conversation about consent and respectful behaviour
Development and distribution of handouts that provide advice on responding to disclosures, self-care and positive intervention
Updated onboarding resources for new staff, promoting a zero-tolerance culture around sexual assault and harassment and reporting responsibilities
Production of an ActivateUTS emergency contact card for students attending off-site events
Adding emergency numbers to the reverse side of newly-issued ID cards, with stickers distributed to staff and students to revise their older cards.
Processes and policies
The amendment of UTS’s student rules to specifically include sexual assault, indecent assault and sexual harassment as types of misconduct, and linking these specific behaviours to possible penalties such as expulsion and rescission of academic awards conferred by UTS
Consultation with faculty staff to create an Academic Staff Engagement Strategy and identify opportunities to facilitate the transparent management of incident reporting
Accessible and flexible support
The introduction of an online portal for anyone who wants to make a disclosure about sexual harassment or sexual assault but prefer not to do so in person
Increased the number of UTS counsellors trained in trauma response to the equivalent of 11 full-time positions
The implementation of a specialist UTS trauma-informed 1800 telephone support service
The introduction of mandatory online reporting for all staff who receive a disclosure or are aware of an incident of sexual violence involving a student
Introduction of an evening counselling service on campus
Rolling out regular Responding with compassion training for all security staff
If at any point you, or someone around you, needs help, don’t hesitate to contact any free community or UTS support service.