Respect RMIT – reducing sexual harm

The aim of the Changing the Course three-year framework is to build a community where every student and staff member is not only safe, but respected, valued and treated as an equal.

RMIT ‘Be The Change’ Campaign 2018

Objectives

RMIT is committed to building a community where every student and staff member feels safe, respected, valued and treated as an equal.

We want to create an RMIT community where:

  • students and staff are safe and free from violence
  • relationships are respectful
  • services meet the needs of those experiencing sexual harm
  • justice responses are effective
  • perpetrators stop their violence and are held to account

 

We know that sexual harm has diverse and far-reaching impacts. The wellbeing of our students and staff is our number one priority, and we have a number of initiatives in place to ensure a safe and respectful RMIT experience for our whole community.

RMIT Actions:

We recognise that no one single initiative can achieve our goals. That’s why we’re targeting the drivers of sexual harm with evidenced-based strategies to prevent it occurring in the first instance.

The Changing the Course framework is underpinned by three principles:

  1. Primary prevention: to prevent sexual harm from occurring in the first place.
  2. Secondary prevention: to change the trajectory for individuals at higher-than-average risk of perpetrating or experiencing violence.
  3. Tertiary prevention: to respond after sexual harm has occurred to minimise impacts, prevent re-occurrence and ensure perpetrator accountability.

The framework was developed in 2017 and aims to build and maintain a culture of inclusion and respect through leadership actions, policies, services and facilities, communications, events and training. Several important actions have already been completed.

Supporting documents

RMIT Changing the Course framework
RMIT progress against the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) recommendations

Creating a culture of respect is everybody’s responsibility. To ensure that staff and students are confident to respond to disrespectful behaviour, and know how to get advice and support, we offer a range of training, professional development and resources.

Student training:

  • Bringing in the Bystander: a face-to-face workshop outlining strategies for speaking up and calling out everyday incidents of sexism, harassment and disrespectful behaviour (login required).
  • Consent Conversations: a digital credential outlining appropriate and respectful behaviour, what constitutes sexual consent, and how to intervene safely in difficult situations (login required).

Staff professional development:

  • Responding to disclosures of sexual harm: an e-learning module designed to help staff understand their obligations and how to support students (login required).
  • Respectful supervisory relationships training: a suite of video resources and training materials from Australian Council of Graduate Research (ACGR) designed to combat sexual harassment, gender bias and discrimination in research training programs (login required).

Resources:

Research shows that bystander action leads to a safer community. RMIT believes it is up to everyone to change the culture that leads to sexual harm.

In 2018, RMIT launched its first Be the Change campaign. The aim was to empower students to not walk past bad behaviour, know where to report it, and to work together to create a safer community.

In 2019 the commitment was taken a step further, asking the RMIT community to make a public commitment to change our culture for the better.

With strong, visible support from RMIT’s student and staff leaders, and building on the awareness raised by previous campaigns, RMIT received more than 450 commitment statements.

Student commitment from the 2019 Be the Change campaign

Support is available for students and staff who have experienced, witnessed or received a disclosure of sexual harm.

Student support

RMIT Safer Community provides confidential support to RMIT students who have experienced threatening or concerning behaviour, including sexual harm. Specialist staff are available to speak with students about their rights and the options available. The team is also able to connect students with key support services at RMIT and in the community.

Safer community can be contacted via phone or email:
Phone: 9925 2396
Email: safercommunity@rmit.edu.au

Please note that Safer Community is not an emergency service. If you or others feel at risk or consider the situation to be an emergency, call emergency services via 000. If you are on campus, you can also alert campus safety and security on 9925 3333.

Staff support

Staff members also have access comprehensive support, training and information, including how to respond to disclosures of sexual harm (login required).
The RMIT Health, Safety and Wellbeing team and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provide additional support to RMIT staff (login required).
In an emergency, staff are encouraged to call emergency services via 000. Staff can also alert campus safety and security on 9925 3333.

Staff commitment from the 2019 Be the Change campaign
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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

More information