UTS has provided the following statement in response to media inquiries about the Consent Matters program:
Sexual violence exists at unacceptable levels in Australian society, and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is unapologetic about striving to do whatever it can to make a positive difference, particularly given young women between the ages of 18 and 24 are at an increased risk.
UTS has a zero tolerance of sexual violence and sexual harassment incidents within its community, and has a range of initiatives in place to make its campus a safer place for its students and staff.
One small but important part of UTS’ approach is mandatory student and staff completion of the Consent Matters course from Epigeum. On average, the course takes around one hour to complete.
Feedback from various studies, including our own, tells us that students want more information about what constitutes appropriate sexual behaviour – this naturally leads to a conversation about what consent is.
Consent Matters was developed by Epigeum with Dr Alan Berkowitz, a leading international expert on positive intervention, and Brook, the UK’s leading sexual health and wellbeing charity.
Epigeum, part of Oxford University Press, collaborated with more than 20 advisory panel members and reviewers, including experts on law, psychology, gender studies, student unions and support services from the UK and Australia, as well as a team of students who gave feedback throughout the course’s development.
The University of Newcastle in Australia was a member of the advisory group and helped ensure the course was suitable for Australian students. Charles Sturt University provided review input as part of the process.
Consent Matters does far more than explore consent. The course has modules on healthy relationships, positive (bystander) intervention skills, and how best to seek support for yourself or a friend if you experience sexual assault or violence. Crucially, the course exists to educate, equip and empower students to identify and call out inappropriate behaviour on campus. The modules give strategies, advice and example scenarios to help students look out for each other and themselves.
Over 84% of UTS students who have so far completed the course rated its quality as ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’.
Completion of Consent Matters will be recognised on the Australian Higher Education Statement (AHEGS) of UTS graduates, which signals to prospective employers the values instilled in our graduates.
Consent Matters won Gold in "Excellence in the Design of Learning Content" for the UK Commercial sector category of the Learning Technologies Awards 2017. The judges praised the robust research process and high quality of the learning materials, which engage people to "not only invest time in this learning but to continue those conversations into daily life".