RMIT launches new vocational course in recognising and responding to sexual violence

RMIT launches new vocational course in recognising and responding to sexual violence

RMIT’s College of Vocational Education is proud to be offering a new Course in Recognising and Responding to Sexual Violence, exploring the sociological drivers of sexual violence, its prevalence, and impacts on individuals and society.

Complementing the suite of other RMIT offerings, such as the Course in Gender Equity and Course in Identifying and Responding to Family Violence Risk, this new course aims to prepare students to recognise and respond to sexual violence experienced by victims and survivors. 

Students will learn from professionals who will share their knowledge and experiences to help them prepare for responses to disclosures of sexual violence – developing their skills to identify the indicators and effects of sexual violence, and to determine and address their recovery needs and preferences.

RMIT’s College of Vocational Education Deputy Vice-Chancellor Mish Eastman said the new course builds on RMIT’s commitment to creating a culture where everyone is safe, respected and included – engaging with community and the sector to drive meaningful change. 

“With the first cohort of students well underway, it’s clear the foundations of this course are so important, aiming to address a gap in knowledge for people working in universal services to recognise and respond to sexual violence and harm – whether that be those in social work, nursing or allied health services,” she said. 

Research shows the prevalence of sexual violence in Australia, occurring across all groups and communities. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Personal Safety Survey reports that 2.2 million women (23%) and 718,000 men (8%) aged 18 years and over have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime since the age of 15 years. 

“That’s why harnessing the knowledge and skills in identifying and responding to sexual violence is paramount, with the course enabling you to effectively support those you may work with," said Eastman.   

The Course in Recognising and Responding to Sexual Violence is an initiative under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010-2022, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services (DSS). 

The course is owned by the Department of Forensic Medicine of Monash University, with RMIT’s College of Vocational Education delivering the course as one of Australia’s key VET providers. 

Throughout the 15-week program students will complete self-paced, digital learning activities and participate in facilitated workshops, with knowledge-based assessments. 

Hear from one of our students, Dawn Tunnicliffe, Manager of Safer Community at RMIT, who shares her experiences of taking part in the first cohort of the course.

What do you think is the significance of RMIT offering a course such as this one? 

It’s incredibly significant for RMIT to be offering this course as it demonstrates understanding of sexual violence as a social and cultural issue – one impacting so many in our communities. It also demonstrates RMIT’s commitment to making substantial change, by making those who experience harm the priority in improving the quality and consistency of the response to sexual violence.  

As an RMIT staff member participating in this course, what inspired you to enrol?

As an experienced worker in this field, I think it’s important to remain up-to-date in the most current thinking in this field and to refresh your knowledge whenever you can. There is always something to learn from others in the field and the curiosity of those newer to the space creates an avenue for critical reflection to challenge ourselves.  

What advice would you provide any future students who are thinking of applying?

Absolutely – go for it. The course content covers a lot of ground and gives people new to the field the foundations, while also being a great refresher for those already working in the field. I have really enjoyed taking part in the engaging conversations with my peers and I am already looking forward to the second part of the program.  

You can find out how to apply for the May or July 2022 intake here

Story: Nicole Martine

26 April 2022


26 April 2022


  • Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
  • Future World of Work

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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 Nation 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 - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.