Respect. Now. Always. update

The Respect. Now. Always. Advisory Committee (RNAAC) held its third and final meeting for 2021 on Friday 12 November. A key focus of the meeting was the importance of victim-centric reporting.

Guest speaker Senior Constable Jenni Brown, Crime Prevention Officer from NSW Police Force, joined the meeting to provide assistance and advice on how ACU can improve and strengthen student reporting of sexual violence. Senior Constable Brown’s presentation supported ACU’s new Safety Support Network initiative being introduced in 2022.

The RNAAC also received updates in relation to the National Student Safety Survey held in September and news about the impending release of Universities Australia’s Respectful Relationship Campaign being launched in 2022.

Safety Support Network

ACU is introducing a Safety Support Network (formal name yet to be determined) in 2022 to:

  • support students who have experienced sexual misconduct to continue their studies in a caring and supportive environment
  • support staff handling a student disclosure
  • increase the awareness and visibility of ACU’s support networks for students across all ACU campuses.

Many students are unaware of how to report incidents of sexual misconduct. They may not trust or have confidence in the reporting process. Notification of student sexual misconduct is often received by staff who are ill-equipped and who do not have the skills, information, confidence, or experience to manage a disclosure.

The ACU Safety Support Network is designed to upskill ACU staff with specialised training to enable them to respond with compassion and understanding and to assist and support both staff members and students through a disclosure.

Student-facing staff will be encouraged to participate in the program, including completing an application with support from their supervisor. Staff wishing to find out more information about the Safety Support Network can email

National Student Safety Survey
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On Monday 6 September, Social Research Centre on behalf of Universities Australia launched a month-long nationwide survey to collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

10,000 ACU students were selected at random to participate in the survey.

Of the 10,000 ACU students, 1621 (16.2%) students completed the survey placing ACU in fourth position out of 39 universities across Australia. ACU students’ participation was 4.6 per cent above the national average of 11.6 per cent, and the university was commended for its contribution to the survey.

Results and recommendations from the national survey will be released in early 2022. These recommendations will inform ACU’s Respect.Now.Always Action Plan for the next three years.

Universities Australia – Respectful Relationships campaign

In 2021, the Commonwealth Department of Social Services funded Universities Australia to develop a new campaign to prevent sexual violence. The campaign aims to help university students negotiate healthy, respectful, and positive sexual relationships.

This campaign will be the first of its kind in Australia and will be aimed specifically at young men aged 18–24 years old. The evidence-based campaign has been designed in consultation with university students. The campaign will launch in 2022 following the release of the National Student Safety Survey recommendations. Watch this space.

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