Unis: stop leaving rape survivors without adequate support

Win! Hotline for student survivors of Uni sexual violence

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

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Previous: Right now students at Australian universities are being sexually assaulted at an alarming rate -- and many students affected by this violence and trauma aren’t being provided with adequate service support.

At Universities across the country, students who have been raped or sexually assaulted on campus are being told they have to wait up to four weeks for a university counseling appointment. Others who have dropped out of their degrees because of the impact of the assault are being refused access to university counseling services altogether.[1]

Student advocates say university facilitates are “already stretched beyond capacity”. And that demand is set to increase further, with a pending report into the issue expected to trigger further disclosures from victim-survivors when it is delivered in August.

Student group End Rape on Campus and survivor advocate Nina Funnell are calling for universities to address this problem by funding a dedicated specialist counseling hotline for affected students. 

Can you join the call on Universities to make sure they have timely, adequate, and trauma informed counseling services for students and former students affected by violence on campus?

 

Find out more (click to view)

In response to other similar inquiries into broad scale sexual violence (such as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse), specialist support hotlines have been set up to support those affected, in recognition that existing NGO services don’t have capacity to respond to the additional trauma and demand caused by these kinds of inquiry.

Student advocates say that a new dedicated and specialist service is needed to help alleviate existing pressure on university counseling services and also to ensure a consistency in the quality of counseling service provision across the university sector. Media reports suggest that most university services are staffed by generalist counselors who do not necessarily have specific expertise in sexual assault trauma, with some university websites stating that they can assist with problems such as "exam stress", "procrastination", or "adjusting to university life"; and only some have the specialised capacity to respond to sexual assault trauma.

You can view the call from End Rape on Campus Australia here.

*If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, you can call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for 24/7 support. If you are in immediate danger call 000.*

-References-

1. Rape victims face four-week wait for counselling at some universities, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 May 2017.

2,284 SIGNATURES SO FAR

To Universities Australia, and all Australian Universities,

We are extremely concerned that victim-survivors affected by sexual violence at university aren’t able to access timely and appropriate service support.  

We urge you to ensure that all students and former students affected by sexual violence at university have access to adequate, timely and trauma informed counselling services. 

We particularly note our support for the call to establish a specialist and trauma informed 24/7 counselling hotline to be run by sexual assault experts like Rape and Domestic Violence Service Australia ahead of the Australian Human Rights Commission report in August.

Signed,

Fair Agenda will email petition signers from time to time with important updates

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Latest activity

Brianna , 2261  /  signed 2017-05-21 17:57:26 +1000
Lucrecia , 2163  /  signed 2017-05-21 14:12:28 +1000
M , 3106  /  signed 2017-05-21 13:54:45 +1000
"As a survivor, I know this time will be so supremely difficult for me and others that have been affected by S.A. at university. The systems in place are inadequate as is, but as this conversation and stories will be at the forefront, it is of the greatest importance people are supported."
Phillip , 4500  /  signed 2017-05-20 23:43:40 +1000
"Because we are continuing to fail these students. We have already not provided a safe place of learning, we compound this not giving them the assistance they need to continue their education."
Seb , 3215  /  signed 2017-05-20 23:08:24 +1000
"This service needs to exist for survivors from all intersections who have ever been turned away when they needed it."
M , 2131  /  signed 2017-05-20 22:13:32 +1000
"Because half the human race is female and rape is something that shouldn’t happen to them. And no matter how many times you say #notallmen, men are generally the perpetrators of rape and sexual violence against women. This should matter to everyone."
Blanche , 4810  /  signed 2017-05-20 20:43:48 +1000
"Women at universities have said that when they were raped, that university couselling services were severely underequipped and even unhelpful. It’s time for Australia’s Universities to professionalise rape and sexual harassment support systems."
Sabina , 4069  /  signed 2017-05-20 19:58:21 +1000
Heidi , 7008  /  signed 2017-05-20 19:50:27 +1000
Matilda , 5091  /  signed 2017-05-20 16:22:18 +1000
"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."
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