UTS has joined with universities around the country in a campaign to ensure that students and staff are safe from sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Launched by peak body Universities Australia, Respect.Now.Always is intended to raise awareness that sexual assault and all forms of harassment are utterly unacceptable and provide clear pathways of support for those who need it.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said the campaign is a vital one that builds on longstanding work by UTS and all Australian universities to develop policies, reporting procedures and support services.
"Respect.Now.Always is an opportunity to refocus our commitment to ensuring all students and staff are treated fairly and can study and work in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation," Professor Brungs said.
"UTS can be proud of the often pioneering work done by our Equity and Diversity Unit (E&DU) in taking a pro-active approach to sexual safety and prevention of harassment, but there are always opportunities to improve and reinforce positive cultures.
"The UTS SHOUTS program – Sex-based Harassment, discrimination and bullying Out of UTS – has been running for a number of years and in 2013 E&DU and the Counselling Unit of UTS Student Services launched a Sex and Ethics training program for students living in UTS residences.
"A two-hour Active and Ethical Bystander session is now being delivered to broader cohorts of students. This training is about giving students the confidence and skills to speak up or act when they see or hear something that is of concern, particularly in relation to discrimination or harassment."
Universities Australia said Respect.Now.Always was a platform for the university sector to review the effectiveness of policies, responses and support services to ensure they are best practice.
The campaign has preceded the Australian release of the US film The Hunting Ground which looks at sexual assault in American universities.
Screenings of the film are being hosted by Australian universities to encourage discussion in their communities about the importance of respect and safety and consider what it means in the Australian context. A UTS screening is planned in coming months.
In an emergency UTS campus security can be contacted 24 hours a day by dialling extension 6 from internal telephone lines or from a mobile by using the free call number 1800 249 559.
For assistance on harassment seek advice and support from a senior staff member in your faculty/unit, or contact the:
To make an appointment with counselling staff, ring (02) 9514 1177.
The UTS Students' Association also provides advice and advocacy for students.