26 September 2023

Uni pours resources into student safety

Start the conversation

The Australian National University (ANU) is to dedicate more resources to tackling sexual assault and sexual harassment in its community with the release of a new student safety and wellbeing plan.

As part of the 2022 Student Safety and Wellbeing Plan, Vice-Chancellor of ANU, Brian Schmidt said the University had also published an Independent Assessor’s Report of ANU’s Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy.

“We have accepted, and will implement, all the recommendations of the Independent Assessor’s Report,” Professor Schmidt said.

“Both the Student Safety and Wellbeing Plan and the Independent Assessor’s Report are part of an integrated, holistic and long-term approach to making our campus and community safer,” he said.

Professor Schmidt said the new Plan built on ANU’s work to prevent (and respond appropriately to) sexual assault and harassment, and represented a significant step in the University’s actions to “tackle unacceptable behaviours that plague our society”.

He said the Plan included initiatives and investments targeted to where ANU could make the biggest difference, including investments in staffing in University residences; recruiting new case managers; making consent training a mandatory part of students’ enrolment; and embedding a zero-tolerance approach in ANU culture through policies, language, training and disciplinary procedures.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student and University Experience) at ANU, Ian Anderson said another key area of focus was safety in student residences.

“We have a high number of students living on our campus,” Professor Anderson said.

“ANU is their home,” he said.

“They must feel safe and be safe in their homes.”

Professor Anderson said staff and student leaders in residences did a great job and over the next 12 months “overhauling the residences and hiring extra professional staff will give them the support they need”.

Professor Schmidt said that under the new Plan, ANU had also committed to consulting with its entire community, including student leaders, advocates and survivors, to finalise what each major initiative would look like.

“To all survivors and advocates, we say thank you,” he said.

“For decades you have bravely led the way to rid our society of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“We cannot do this without you.”

ANU’s four-page Student Safety and Wellbeing Plan can be accessed at this PS News link and the 12-page Independent Assessor’s Report at this link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.