UTS is a part of Respect.Now.Always., a national campaign that aims to eliminate sexual assault and harassment on university campuses. Since the start of the campaign in 2016, UTS has launched a number of initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual assault and sexual harassment.
More recently, on 1 August 2017, UTS welcomed a report into the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment of university students. Below are the UTS initiatives that respond to recommendations by the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Leadership and governance
UTS has a strong commitment to action. That’s why the university has established:
- a Prevention of Sexual Assault and Harassment Working Group
- led by the Provost, supported by a dedicated project officer and reporting to the Vice-Chancellor.
- a Concerning Behaviours and Intervention Team
- bringing together representatives from a range of support units around the university, meeting fortnightly or as needed.
- a Student Consultative Group
- an ongoing dialogue relating to sexual assault and harassment initiatives with a diverse representation of students.
- preliminary discussions with government departments responsible for transport and secondary education, to look at opportunities for collaboration.
UTS student rules have also been amended to specifically include sexual assault, indecent assault and sexual harassment as types of misconduct, and linking these specific behaviours to possible penalties including expulsion and rescission of academic awards conferred by the university.
Changing attitudes and behaviours
The following measures aim to prevent sexual assault and harassment:
- all ActivateUTS student club executives receive training in identifying, preventing, reporting and responding to sexual assault and harassment.
- an ongoing calendar of student-focused communications regarding topics such as sexual consent, bystander behaviours and reporting.
- onboarding resources for new staff promote a zero-tolerance culture around sexual assault and harassment, as well as reporting responsibilities.
- a confidential grievance resolution process by the Equity and Diversity Unit for students or staff who experience harassment or discrimination.
- a 24/7 UTS trauma-informed Sexual Assault Support Line on 1800 531 626.
- counselling services for students are provided by the Student Services Unit.
- mandatory student education around consent is being rolled out in 2018.
- 24-hour security guard engagement is refocussed on early intervention to prevent, rather than react, to incidents. Initiatives include:
- patrols of the precinct by bicycle from 6pm-6am, allowing fast response.
- extension of the hours of the Security Shuttle Bus Service. The timetable that was in place for a decade has been expanded by two hours to 2am.
- regular security team meetings with local and specialist police units.
- expansion of CCTV monitoring of the UTS precinct from 12 hours to 24 hours, 7 days a week.
University responses to sexual assault and sexual harassment
UTS has improved responses to sexual assault and harassment by:
- introducing an online portal for those who wish to make a disclosure about sexual harassment or sexual assault but prefer not to do so in person, on campus.
- launching a trial with Relationships Australia NSW on a new way for students to self-select a counsellor through a separate online service that lists UTS counsellors and more than 100 other professionals.
- increasing the number of counsellors trained in responding to trauma to the equivalent of 11 full-time positions. This includes a social worker with a background in sexual health.
- including emergency numbers on the reverse of newly issued student and staff cards from 2018.
- implementing a plan to provide specialist training for students and non-clinical staff who may receive disclosures of sexual violence so they can not only respond with knowledge and compassion but also manage their own health and wellbeing.
Monitoring and evaluation
UTS is using the expertise of the Design Innovation Research Centre to examine student-informed ways of improving the experience of reporting incidents of sexual assault and harassment and accessing support.
Residential colleges and university residences
All members of the UTS Housing Resident Networker program receive Sex and Ethics training. Our biennial UTS Housing survey has been updated to help us understand the extent of residents’ awareness of UTS support services.
UTS has a dedicated sexual assault, indecent assault & sexual harassment information page for easy access to information on support options within UTS and the external community.