Win! Hotline for student survivors of sexual violence announced

Hotline for student survivors of sexual violence announced

Great news! After weeks of campaign pressure, Australia’s Universities have just announced that they will establish the dedicated specialist counselling hotline for students affected by sexual assault that Fair Agenda members have helped call for!

Just last month survivor advocates revealed that Universities around the country were leaving survivors of sexual violence without adequate support. That students who had been raped or sexually assaulted during their studies were being told they would have to wait up to four weeks for a university counselling appointment, and that others who had dropped out of their degrees as a result of their assault were being refused access to university counselling services altogether.

It was a system that was failing student survivors. And things were about to get much worse, with an upcoming report on sexual violence at universities expected to trigger even more disclosures and demand for services in just a few weeks.

Then student group End Rape on Campus and survivor advocate Nina Funnell launched a call for action -- and Fair Agenda members stepped up and helped them build the pressure on universities to stop leaving rape survivors without adequate support.

In just a few days thousands of us signed the petition calling for Universities to fund the hotline, and shared powerful messages urging the Vice Chancellors and Universities Australia to stop leaving students without the support they need, including members who shared powerful messages like:

“This hotline would have changed my life and saved me years of suffering if it had existed years ago. Let's make things better for future.”

"Before I retired 20 years ago I was an academic member of an Australian university. I am appalled to hear that all this time later an issue over which I and other women campaigned is still current."

"A timely response and ability to ensure all students affected by sexual assault have access to decent counsellors trained in trauma counselling is crucial if the student is going to be able to recover... Universities need to take responsibility for this."

Then, ahead of a key meeting, Fair Agenda delivered your messages and petition signatures of support to all 39 Vice Chancellors, and the head of Universities Australia -- to make sure they knew how many alumni, students, survivors and community members backed the call for them to ensure best practice, trauma informed counselling is provided to students who have been affected by violence on campus. And just how many people would be watching and awaiting their decision.

And, together with End Rape on Campus, survivor advocate Nina Funnell and the National Union of Students – Fair Agenda members' advocacy worked! Today Universities Australia announced that they will establish a dedicated specialist counselling hotline for students affected by sexual violence during their studies.

It’s a huge win that will make a difference to the thousands of current and former students who are expected to need this service.

Together, the actions of Fair Agenda members are helping to drive really important wins that are improving the lives of tens of thousands of women.

This is a really important win. But it’s not the only thing that needs to change if we’re going to address the problem of sexual assault on campus. We also need to ensure all residences are providing training in consent and preventing sexual violence. Can you add your support to that campaign as well?

-More info-

Victory for students: Free hotline announced for victims of sexual assault,, 22 July 2017.