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Safer communities

We're committed to keeping our students, staff and visitors safe

The University of Sydney fosters an inclusive campus environment where everyone in our community has the right to feel safe and supported, whether they are on campus, online or offshore.

The Vice-Chancellor thanks students who participated in the 2021 National Student Safety Survey for their contributions and commits to renewed and targeted action to create a safer and more supportive environment.

The values of respect and integrity are foundational to the University community. This is reflected in the codes of conduct that set the standards for students and staff, stipulating tolerance, honesty and respect as the hallmarks of relationships throughout the University community.

The Safer Communities Office is a team of specialist staff who can provide trauma informed case management and support to student and staff survivors of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault and sexual harassment, both recent and historical). They provide one-on-one services tailored to each survivor’s needs to ensure they receive appropriate support.

A safer community for all

The University is wholly committed to strengthening a framework of safety and support that operates with compassion and confidentiality. We are constantly examining internal processes to make improvements that increase accessibility, transparency and consistency. Many improvements have been made, but there is more to be done.

2021 National Student Safety Survey

In 2021, the University partnered with Universities Australia and other Australian universities again for the National Student Safety Survey (NSSS), as part of the Respect. Now. Always. campaign. The NSSS was conducted online with a representative sample of students and ran across the sector from Monday 6 September through to Sunday 3 October 2021.

National survey results have been released by Universities Australia, and the University of Sydney has also released a summary of its students’ survey responses prepared by the Social Research Centre, which conducted the survey and prepared the reports for Universities Australia and its member institutions. (When reading the University’s infographic, (pdf, 316KB) and the NSSS national reports it is important to note that the Social Research Centre calculated relative standard errors – RSE –for its survey estimates. If the RSE was between 25 percent and 50 percent an * appears next to the estimate that indicates caution should be used with the associated estimate. If the RSE was above 50 percent an ** appears meaning the estimate is unreliable and not reportable.)

Read the University’s response to the results.

 

Safer Communities Office

The Safer Communities Office is a team of specialist staff who provide trauma-informed support and assistance. This office can be contacted by telephone on +61 2 8627 6808 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm AEST/AEDT), by email to safer-communities.officer@piecemakerdesign.com or through the University’s online reporting forms.

Support information for students

Sexual misconduct help and support services

Dedicated helpline service

The 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457) phone service was implemented in 2017 to improve accessibility of key support units across the University in the event of an incident. Students can be immediately connected to Protective Services, Safer Communities Office, Complaints handling staff and Support Services. There is a dedicated option for students to speak to specialist staff at the Safer Communities Office about any incident of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment they may have experienced. It also enables staff members to connect with staff support services and specialist advice to assist student in distress.

Supporting survivors of historical sexual abuse

The University of Sydney acknowledges the vulnerable position of survivors of sexual abuse and recognises that making a claim of historical sexual abuse involves disclosing highly personal information and has the potential to be a traumatic experience.

The University is committed to resolving claims of historical sexual abuse in a compassionate, transparent and fair manner, in an environment that promotes respect and dignity for claimants and which treats people accused of sexual abuse fairly. Please refer to the University’s Guiding Principles for Responding to Claims of Historical Sexual Abuse for further information.

The University is able to provide support to survivors of historical sexual abuse (connected with the University) through its Safer Communities Office. 

Consent Matters: educational module on consent

In Semester 2 2017, the University introduced  an online educational module by Epigeum called ‘Consent Matters’ as a pilot for students to understand the nature of sexual consent and bystander intervention. During the pilot, all current students were invited to complete the module voluntarily. Since 2018, the University has mandated this online module for all commencing students and more than 110,000 students have successfully completed the online module.

Interactive Consent Matters workshop

Following consultation with students for the Consent matters module, in 2019, the Safer Communities Office designed and developed an interactive face to face Consent Matters workshop to complement the module. These workshops were designed to be delivered to student leaders in Residential Colleges and University owned student accommodation. Delivered by the Safer Communities Office, the interactive 1.5hr workshop encourages students to engage in an facilitated and open discussion about consent in real life scenarios. The workshops also encourage conversation around how to provide support to fellow students who may have experienced sexual misconduct and/or harassment. Since 2021, these workshops have been expanded to include all first year students residing in student accommodation and residential colleges.  Currently, approximately 4000 students have completed this training.

First responder training (Responding with Compassion) for staff and student leaders

This training program was introduced in 2017 for both student leaders and student facing  staff members who may be a first responder within the University such as Protective Services, Student Affairs Unit and Residential Assistants in University-owned accommodation. The Responding with Compassion training is delivered by Full Stop Australia and includes how to respond appropriately and compassionately to a disclosure of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. To date more than 1200 student leaders and staff members have completed this training.

MATE Bystander awareness training for student leaders

Delivered by Griffith University, this 4 hour bystander training equips participants with skills and knowledge on how to safely intervene in a critical situation to help prevent gender-based violence. This training has been delivered to student representatives as well as student leaders in Residential Colleges and University owned student accomodation. Since 2018, more than 800 students have completed this training.

If any staff or students would like to organise training please contact the Safer Communities Office on +61 2 8627 6808 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm AEST/AEDT), by email to safer-communities.officer@piecemakerdesign.com.

We recently amended the policies to address current constraints regarding disclosure of information and to reflect best practice.

The amended policies allow the University to disclose information about interim measures and investigation outcomes to affiliated external entities such as student accomodation, residential colleges, student organisations, USU and SUSF clubs and societies to ensure a consistent approach to managing safety for our community.

Student Sexual Misconduct Policy 2018 (PDF, 2.1MB)

Student Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures 2018 (PDF, 255KB)

Staff Sexual Misconduct Policy 2020 (PDF, 369KB)

Staff Sexual Misconduct Response Procedures 2020 (PDF, 276KB)

Staff and Affiliates Code of Conduct 2021 (PDF, 304KB)

The University has zero tolerance to any behaviour that is intimidating, abusive, discriminatory, disrespectful or threatening, including any instance of sexual harassment or assault. Any such behaviour within our community or on any of our campuses is unacceptable.
Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Mark Scott AO