Western Sydney University partners on national ‘Respect. Now. Always.’ campaign

VC Glover 

Western Sydney University has joined together with other Australian universities to support a new national campaign to prevent sexual assault and harassment.

Respect. Now. Always. is an initiative launched by Universities Australia to ensure that university campuses are places of safety and respect for all students and staff.

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and Universities Australia Chair, Professor Barney Glover, says the campaign is about raising awareness in the university community that sexual assault and harassment are completely unacceptable.

Professor Glover says it also about educating and empowering students and staff to seek out help if they need it, as well as giving bystanders the confidence to speak up if the see something.

"The campaign builds on longstanding work at Western Sydney University and across the Australian university sector on this issue," says Professor Glover.

"Western Sydney University takes a zero tolerance approach to sexual assault and sexual harassment. 

"We support this campaign as an opportunity for everyone in the sector to keep making improvements and strengthen prevention strategies, and foster a supportive culture that encourages reporting and informs our responses to these events," says Professor Glover. 

The campaign coincides with the release of the US film 'The Hunting Ground' in Australia.

Screenings of the film, which looks at sexual assault in American universities, will also encourage discussion in Australian university communities about the importance of respect and safety.

Working with partners including the Australian Human Rights Commission, the UNSW Australian Human Rights Centre and The Hunting Ground Australia Project Team, the sector has also begun collaborative work to:

* Seek more comprehensive data on Australian sexual assault and harassment in universities through a national survey;
* Participate in a review and update of policies and procedures at universities to prevent sexual assault and harassment; and
* Share global best practice models for reporting incidents and supporting students who disclose sexual assault or harassment.

"We all have a role to play in ensuring a safe and welcoming learning and work environment for everyone in the University community," says Professor Glover.

"The campaign will be an opportunity for the university sector to review the effectiveness of local policies, responses and support services to ensure they are best practice." 

To learn more about the campaign visit www.respectnowalways.edu.au

Western Sydney University considers sexual assault a serious crime.

There are many sexual assault services through NSW who provide free counselling to victims of sexual assault including those provided by NSW Health. For access to these numbers visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/sexualassault. Free 24/7 counselling for sexual assault is available at 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

The University also has support for both students and staff:

Students – If you want to speak privately with our free student Counselling Service or Welfare Service please ring 9852 5199 during business hours. You can find out more about these services, which are on each campus, at www.westernsydney.edu.au/counselling and www.westernsydney.edu.au/welfare

Staff - Staff may contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) on 1800 818 728. The EAP is a free, anonymous service to University employees. For more information please visit www.westernsydney.edu.au/eap

Western Sydney University Campus Safety & Security - can also provide support if feeling unsafe, 24/7. Phone: 1300 737 003.

Police - If you wish to report a sexual assault to the Police, contact your nearest Police station. Police are well trained to provide assistance to people who have been sexually assaulted.

University support staff, NSW Health sexual assault services, and 1800RESPECT can also help facilitate this process.

Ends

12 January 2016

Media Contact: Amanda Whibley, Manager Media and Public Relations

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