We’ve committed to making UTS a safe campus for all. This means we have no tolerance for sexual violence. The rollout of initiatives contributing to the national Respect.Now.Always. (RNA) campaign contribute to this goal.
Read how our community has rallied behind RNA and the values it represents.
UTS RNA goes national
Our campaign went national in September when more than 400 students representing UTS competed at UniSport Nationals Division 1 at the Gold Coast. Our success on the sporting field (4 national titles, 12 silver, six bronze, and 27 teams in the top four in Australia!) was matched off the field by our impressive efforts in spreading the RNA message.
All team managers and team members received bystander training and the RNA logo was a feature of the team uniform, keeping the campaign in the competitors’ field of vision.
The result: we had a number of disclosures that may not have otherwise been made. This is important so that we are better placed to offer support.
In training for a good night out
A fun night out with friends can easily be ruined by unwanted attention, so all ActivateUTS bar staff are being trained to identify, respond to and prevent harassment in licensed UTS venues. The Good Night Out training will ensure that all patrons at our venues have just that when they are out on campus – a good night.
Through policy consultancy, training development and delivery, the Good Night Out campaign is helping licensed spaces including festivals to tackle and prevent harassment and assault.
The first student-focussed session was run in late September, and following overwhelmingly positive feedback will be implemented into the 2019 training program. This will lead to increased knowledge on how to handle these difficult situations, and an increased awareness of services available to students on and off campus.
Tracking the problem
We have introduced mandatory online reporting for all staff who receive a disclosure or are aware of an incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault of a student. Mandatory online reporting is a key tool that will help us build a safer campus, and, importantly, will help build a picture of where problems are happening so that we can target these areas specifically.
After reporting, we will also be able to ensure affected students and staff are offered all available support.
If you become aware of an incident you can play a role in supporting the affected student – find out how to respond to disclosures.
Feedback and reporting are key tools to determine the next steps of the campaign, and we are already acting in response to feedback we’ve received, such as making appointments with campus counsellors more accessible. In response, we’re recruiting psychologists to make more appointments available to our students after business hours. If you know someone who may be interested, please encourage them to email Student.Services@uts.edu.au.
If you’ve seen posters around campus asking if you "Wanna spoon?", you might have a sense that they’re not just an invitation to share ice cream. Instead, the prominent campaign aims to reduce stigma around talking about prevention of sexual violence. More than 4000 students have engaged with the Wanna spoon? Ask first! campaign by sharing their perspectives on sexual assault and sexual harassment to contribute to our Student Voice Project.
Sessions were held at Clubs Day, Winterfest, Summerfest and the Night Owl noodle markets. The success of which was due to our volunteers and the UTS Design Innovation Research Centre (DIRC).
To make matters sweeter, free ice-cream was served. Anyone up for a scoop of ‘it takes two to mango’ or the dairy-free ‘no tolerance’?
Planning for the future
RNA is about more than just awareness. We’re also putting in place procedures and strategies to ensure our impact continues and that everyone knows how to act if they become aware of an incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault of a student. A three-year strategic plan is in development that will include a program vision, key goals and risks, as well as identifying measurement indicators that will help us track our progress.
As part of our outreach work on the sexual violence, and in the spirit of collaboration, RNA Program Manager Catharine Pruscino presented at the Universities Australia Marketing Communications and Development Conference in Melbourne alongside representatives from Charles Sturt University and Universities Australia.
The topic Student-centred: how university policy, communications, students and support services can work together to prevent and address sexual assault sparked in depth conversations about residential life, working with students from different backgrounds and engaging students in provocative, but effective, ways.
Students, our partners
Critical to the success of the RNA program is the input from students. Beyond the Student Voice Project, a number of students have contributed to different areas of the program, from interning with DIRC on the Student Voice project, to undertaking market scans of bystander awareness programs currently in place at Australian universities and contributing to communication campaigns targeting underlying behaviours such as 'picking up'.
If members of our community have an idea, or want to be more involved in the program, email Respect.Now.Always@uts.edu.au.
Your contribution to our safe community
The Consent Matters online training is available for all members of our community to complete. Students will need to complete the training to receive their session results, but completion will be recognised on their Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement (AHEGS), which is an official document that accompanies the Academic Transcript and Testamur upon graduation.
If at any point you, or someone around you, needs help, don’t hesitate to contact any free community or UTS support service.