Safeguarding and Student Safety Advisory Committee meeting

The Safeguarding and Student Safety Advisory Committee held its second meeting of the year on 29 August 2022.

The committee meets three times a year, with its objective to oversee the implementation of activities and projects across the university in relation to the prevention of and response to sexual assault and sexual harassment, and safeguarding children, young people and adults at risk, as approved by the Vice-Chancellor and President.

Safeguarding and Student Safety Action Plan

The committee reviewed the initiatives that have commenced and those that have been completed, many of which were in response to the National Student Safety Survey.

Respect Now Always (RNA) website

Key initiatives include the update to the RNA public website to provide clear and accessible information for students and staff to understand sexual harassment, sexual assault and reporting options, including easy-to-identify links to resources relating to support services for students and staff and those supporting others through disclosures.

Education programs

Education program offerings have continued to increase, with various departments and academic staff dedicating time to learning more about ACU’s commitment and approach to prevention and response to sexual misconduct. These program offerings were attended by staff from AskACU, Service Central, Properties and Facilities, HDR supervisors, various faculties and schools, and Libraries.

Student voice

The committee was provided an update from the ACUNSA President Guiliano Gonzales about the new Student Safety Week initiatives in Week 9 of Semester 2 and the Student Safety Working Group. Students can now express interest in being a member of this working group, which will become an important voice for change, feedback and ideas that will feed into the Advisory Committee and participate in student-facing initiatives.

Respectful Relationships online module

The design and development of the Respectful Relationships online module is underway, and the committee discussed the requirements around the compulsory nature of the course.

The committee agreed that the module will be compulsory for all students commencing in Semester 1, 2023. This further demonstrates ACU's commitment to awareness, prevention, and empowering students to feel safe and be safe on campus. The online module will cover what a respectful and equal relationship looks like, the statistics and impact of sexual harassment and sexual assault in Australia, understanding and applying consent, and how to report and support others through a disclosure.

Libraries Directorate commitment to safe campuses

The Libraries Directorate strives to uphold the position of ACU campus libraries as trusted, safe spaces for research and study, and is committed to the principles of Respect.Now.Always (RNA) as advocated by Universities Australia. The Library is eager to promote the university’s safety awareness campaigns to students and provide internal training to help ensure our library staff are aware of the university’s support services and reporting processes and have the skills to respond confidently and appropriately.

In response, National Manager Safeguarding and Student Safety Kellie Maxwell was engaged to provide online first responder / active bystander training to the library’s student-facing staff in July and August 2022. The sessions, which have been tailored to the needs of library staff with library-specific scenarios, have been very positively received.

Safety Support Network

The Advisory Committee heard an update on the launch of the Safety Support Network, which is comprised of specially trained staff who provide vital support to students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, and family and domestic violence. The Safety Support Network also works to assist staff who are supporting a student.

Staff are now visible to the ACU community through their email signatures, posters on campus and lapel pins. For information on how to contact your local Safety Support Officer, visit the Safety Support Network webpage.

Expressions of interest for the next round of training are now open.

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Adults at Risk Action Plan

The Advisory Committee discussed the recent endorsement by the Vice Chancellor of the ACU Commitment Statement, which is available here for staff to view. This commitment statement supports the recent launch of the Safeguarding Children, Young People and Adults at Risk Policy and Procedure, the development of resources and guidelines relating to Professional Boundaries and, ultimately, the work of the Institute of Child Protection Studies. These documents will be available on the Safeguarding Portal.

The committee also discussed the need for a review of areas of the university that deal directly with children, young people and adults at risk to identify which areas require support and advice to address safeguarding risks within their activity risk assessments.

The final Advisory Committee meeting for 2022 is set for 16 November 2022.

For further information regarding the Safeguarding and Student Safety Advisory Committee please contact Kellie Maxwell,

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