A Safeguarding and Student Safety Advisory Committee update

The Safeguarding and Student Safety Advisory Committee recently held its second meeting of the year.

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, sexual harassment and safeguarding of children, young people, and adults at risk, as approved by the Deputy Vice-Chancellors.

Guest speaker Katie Burke

The Committee heard from Learning Development Officer at Twenty10 Katie Burke, on understanding experiences of violence and sexual harm in LGBTQIA+ communities, drivers of violence, barriers to accessing support, and resources and referral options.

Safeguarding and Student Safety Team Updates and News

In July, the Safeguarding and Student Safety Team attended the Universities Australia Communities of Practice Conference to learn about the newly launched Primary Prevention of Sexual Harm in the University Sector – Good Practice Guide. This guide will assist in the audit and advancement of sexual prevention practices at ACU.

The Safeguarding and Student Safety Team are hosting Bystander Awareness Week from 14-18 August. This week is an opportunity for ACU staff and students to participate in ‘Introduction to Bystander Awareness Training’, a summarised and condensed version of the MATE training programme. This training is designed to empower students and staff to be active and effective bystanders when they see a person who needs help or experiencing violence or unacceptable behaviour.

From 4-9 September, the Safeguarding and Student Safety team will be hosting National Child Protection Week where an online 'Lunch and Learn' session will be held to engage students who are entering into child-facing roles in their future, with an opportunity to learn what they can do to best prepare themselves while at uni.

The Safeguarding and Student Safety Team presented the results from the recent internal Ernst & Young audit on ACU student safety in relation to sexual harm and violence, where no red flags were identified.

Safeguarding Children, Young People and Adults at Risk

National Manager, Safeguarding and Student Safety Taleah Newhouse, announced the development of a compulsory ‘Child Safe’ module being undertaken for implementation in Semester 1, 2024 for all commencing ACU students. The module will replace the existing ACU Child Safe Organisation module.

A call was made for the identification of business units and activities being undertaken with children under the age of 18. This identification will help ACU to better support and monitor its interactions with children against the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations Action Plan.

Professor Daryl Higgins from the Institute of Child Protection Studies provided an update and results from the Australian Child Maltreatment Study. Professor Higgins highlighted the implications of the findings on ACU, and how ACU can work to utilise the data to better prepare staff and students to lead and support primary prevention.

The next Safeguarding and Student Safety Advisory Committee meeting for the year will take place on 22 November.

Stay up to date

Stay updated on safeguarding and student safety matters by joining the Safeguarding and Student Safety Workplace group. If you would like more information on the Safeguarding and Student Advisory Committee please contact Taleah Neowhouse.

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