University residences should be doing everything possible to stop sexual violence on campus

I AGREE

The Survey

Fair Agenda is an independent community organisation made up of 37,000 Australians campaigning for a fair and equal future. We believe that no matter where you live, or attend university, you should be able to trust that everything possible is being done to ensure you're living in a safe environment.

In light of increasing reports of sexual violence at Australian universities, many Fair Agenda members have expressed concerns about student safety on campuses.

Training in preventing sexual violence is recognised as one of the critical interventions that is needed to address this issue at universities. But there has been very little information easily accessible about where it is being provided.

So in September 2016, Fair Agenda contacted all residences in Australia with a survey to obtain information on what, if any, training each residence planned on providing for students and staff in 2017.

The survey questions were developed in consultation with sexual violence service experts, and aim to provide transparency for parents and students around what exists in each residence to protect students and promote safe and respectful relationships. You can find the results of that survey under the ‘Results’ section.

The questions

The survey asked basic questions about who would be providing training, and whether the training provided would include certain content considered important in best-practice training. A list of the questions is included below.

The survey questions were developed in consultation with sexual assault service experts.

Training was identified by these experts as being a critical intervention to reduce sexual violence - not only as a means to adapt the attitudes and culture of the student body to diminish the number of perpetrators and build a zero-tolerance community, but also to equip staff dealing with disclosures of sexual violence with training in how to best respond.

For effective outcomes, training for students and staff in consent and sexual violence prevention should be best-practice. According to sexual violence experts, best practice training should meet the National Standards for the Prevention of Sexual Assault through Education, and be provided in person (at least in part), over multiple hours throughout a year, and include these key aspects (amongst others):

  • The involvement of an external provider experienced in providing services to survivors of sexual violence,
  • Training in what constitutes sexual consent,
  • Ethical bystander training - which teaches students who might witness someone perpetrating, or about to perpetrate sexual violence, how they can respond to prevent that assault and assist the victim to get help. 

You can use these links to download a copy of the email sent to residences, and the survey Fair Agenda sent

Click here to view the full list of survey questions provided to residences

This is the full list of the survey questions asked of the residences:

  1. Will students receive relevant training (or only some – please specify which students)
  2. Who will be the provider of the training?
  3. Will training be provided by a sexual assault service? / Is a sexual assault service involved in the provision of the training? (Y/N/in part)
  4. Does the training:
    1. Include sexual consent training?
    2. Include content around ethical bystander training?
    3. Include content around ethical decision making?
    4. Include content around legal issues?
    5. Include content around how to respond compassionately to someone disclosing sexual assault?
    6. Get delivered face-to-face?
    7. Get delivered online?
    8.  Is the total training per student at least two hours?
  5. Will staff responsible for resident welfare be provided with relevant training?
  6. If yes, what is the name of the training and who is the provider?
  7. Will that training be provided by a sexual assault service? / Is a sexual assault service involved in the provision of the training (Y/N/in part)
  8. Does that training include:
    1. How to respond to disclosures?
    2. Content around evidence-based violence prevention research?
    3. How to create a zero tolerance environment for sexual violence?
    4. Content around how to promote respectful relationships?
  9. Is there any other information, context or comments you'd like to provide?

 

The process

Fair Agenda made efforts to contact every residence in Australia, using the email contact information available on their websites. 

Residences were first approached in September 2016 and given several weeks in which to complete the survey. They were contacted via email or phone at least three times during that period regarding the survey. Residences who had not yet responded to the survey, or whose policies had room for improvement were then contacted again in July 2017 and provided an opportunity to update their responses.

A full list of all residences contacted and the full detail of their survey responses is available on the 'detailed results' page of this website.

Please note: Given the significant number of residences in Australia, Fair Agenda was not able to contact all residences via telephone to confirm their receipt of the survey. 

If you wish to further clarify the position of a residence, we encourage you to contact the residence direct to request further information about the training they provide in this area.

 

If you represent a residence and would like to submit a response to the survey, or have further questions, please contact us via info@fairagenda.org to access the survey.

 

Get Involved

To all Australian University Residences,

We urge you to do everything possible to prevent sexual violence on campus. As a first step, we call on every university residence to implement best-practice training in sexual consent and prevention of sexual violence for all students and relevant staff in 2017.

Will you sign?