Dear Students, Parents, Alumni, Staff and Friends,
Over the coming weeks there is likely to be much media attention about how Universities and Colleges care for their students, with the particular focus on respectful relationships, sexual consent and the support available for survivors of sexual assault and harassment.
The conversation will be generated by the findings of the Australian Human Rights Commission report on sexual assault and sexual harassment of university students which will be released on Tuesday, 1 August 2017.
This report is the most comprehensive of its type ever undertaken in Australia and will result in significant changes to the ways that Universities and Colleges approach their responsibility for student care. You can find more information here: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination/projects/university-sexual-assault-and-sexual-harassment-project
The forthcoming release of this report is a reminder that sexual harassment and sexual assault are significant issues for us all. Sexual assault and harassment are never acceptable – at University, College, anywhere.
The Sancta Council, staff and I are committed to providing a College environment that is safe and respectful. Our students must be able to live, work and study in a respectful, safe and supportive community, free from all forms of harassment and discrimination. We have a zero-tolerance approach to anything otherwise. We have initiatives in place to ensure a safe community:
- The College conducts training and educational initiatives to ensure that students understand that any form of assault and harassment, including sexual violence, is unacceptable.
- Our resident staff receive regular training in this area.
- We are a most willing participant in the Broderick Review into College Culture; and these findings are due in late September.
- I affirm our commitment and support for University Australia’s Respect. Now. Always. Campaign.
We welcome the Australia Human Rights Commission and the Broderick Reports as they will ensure our society is safer, more respectful and more inclusive for all. I guarantee that we will work through all the recommendations to enhance and complement our existing practices.
For many people who have been affected by sexual assault or harassment, there is the potential that the release of these reports will be distressing. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are never the fault – or the responsibility – of the victim. If you are feeling affected or upset in anyway, I would urge you to contact me directly on 02 9577 2355 or by email [email protected] or Maryanne Pidcock, Vice Principal on 02 9577 2331 or by email [email protected] for support or advice.
I know for the majority of our students, past and present, their time at Sancta was trouble free and a wonderful experience. We want this to be the case for everyone.
I will continue to update you as more information becomes available, in the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me on 02 9577 2355 or by email [email protected]
Dr Marie Leech
National University Support Line 1800 572 224
1800RESPECT -1800 737 732
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636