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Broderick Review into campus culture at UC

Andy Visser

Monday, 8 October 2018

Broderick Review into campus culture at UC

Statement from the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor

The University of Canberra has today released a report on an extensive review of its campus culture, undertaken by former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick.

The University confirms that it has accepted all the recommendations outlined in the report and committed to implementing them all.

Ms Broderick was commissioned by the University in 2017 to undertake a thorough review of campus culture, to better understand issues relating to sexual harassment and sexual assault in university life.

The University expressed its gratitude to staff and students who met with Ms Broderick and her team as part of the review. Their courage and willingness to share their stories will have far reaching benefits for all current and future staff and students.

The Broderick Review is part of the University’s engagement with the Respect.Now.Always. campaign; a world first, whole-of-sector initiative launched by Universities Australia which included commissioning the Australian Human Rights Commission to report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australia Universities in 2017.

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, sexual harassment, in general, has significantly increased over the past five years. This highlights the need to engage with and engender respect across all sectors of society. Universities play a vital role in doing so.

The Broderick Review acknowledged the University’s zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment and sexual assault; and referenced its efforts in making the campus safe and respectful. The University acknowledges, however, that there is more to be done.

The recommendations of the report have outlined the University’s approach to strengthen and build on its safe, inclusive and respectful community goals. They include actions to:

  • Articulate a vision and embedding an institution-wide approach;
  • Strengthen accountabilities for preventing and responding to sexual harassment and sexual assault;
  • Establish a central repository and create a systemised approach to data collection on sexual harassment and sexual assault;
  • Strengthen policy frameworks to align with best practice standards;
  • Establish a survivor-centred system of support;
  • Provide a responsive support system for international students;
  • Ensure a safe and secure physical environment;
  • Ensure safe and inclusive residences and lodges;
  • Deliver comprehensive training and awareness-raising on sexual harassment, sexual assault and respectful relationships across the University community; and
  • Foster social norm and behaviour change.

The recommendations are categorised against three principles:

  • Safety, respect and inclusion at the heart of UC’s future living/learning community;
  • Shifting norms, attitudes and behaviours to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault; and
  • Effective and accessible systems to create a safe and supportive response.

A series of initiatives have been implemented in the past 18 months [see attached Fact Sheet] to provide a safe place for all campus users; and the University commits to continuing its efforts with vigour and diligence.

The University has developed a detailed Action Plan in response to the recommendations, which focus on improving existing initiatives and implementing new programs to foster a safe and respectful community.

An immediate priority is the development of a centralised reporting, advice and referral service for students and staff that is underway. The development of this facility includes a multifaceted approach that will ensure improved response to reports and effective support and monitoring thereafter.

Considerable effort will be placed on creating a balanced approach to gender, culture, religion and sexual orientation when reviewing policies and frameworks around safe and respectful community initiatives.

A safe and respectful community is established on unified acceptance of diversity, equity and sexual orientation. The University’s vision is to make this the moral compass of campus life where everyone feels welcome, safe and accepted.

Every person who lives, studies and works at the University has a role to play in building a culture that establishes safety and respect as its fundamental foundation.

Read the Report on the Broderick Review here. Review the Action Plan here.