Student safety and wellbeing update

21 June 2022

Dear students and staff,

In March this year, ANU released its Student Safety and Wellbeing Plan, designed to help keep our students and community safe on our campuses. Part of our plan is ensuring the University remains transparent and our community is regularly informed and involved in the University's progress.

Here is an update on our progress to date:

Staff recruitment

We will advertise for a Nurse Practitioner position later this month. The appointment will have expertise in sexual and mental health and be co-located with the Student Safety and Wellbeing team and the ANU Medical Centre. This appointment was based on initial consultation from the Plan and they will provide students with a high level of evidence-based nursing support to improve access of care, address gaps in existing health care services, and ensure accessible, confidential and timely responses to incidents across our campuses.

Three Case Manager positions are now live and listed on our ANU jobs website - these roles will support residences, colleges and student associations. This will assist with establishing more efficient processes, making the disclosure process less traumatic for victim-survivors and ensuring students feel supported and understand what services are available.

Our additional resources will continue to improve response times. Our time to respond to a disclosure has been reduced from 72 hours to 24 hours (not including weekends).

Response to ANU Women's Department report

The ANU Women's Department released their 'Broken Promises' report in August 2021. We have been working with key student stakeholders since its release and our official response to the report was released on 26 May 2022 to both ANUSA and PARSA.

It accounts for two phases of actions leading into the Plan. Our response also rectifies some previous inaccuracies reported in the Broken Promises report. You can read the University's response here.

Sub-committee established

The University's governing council is ensuring we deliver on our plan. It has established a new ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Steering Group sub-committee to hold ANU staff to account.  The sub-committee includes two student representatives, and the Plan's progress will be a standing item on each Council agenda.

Student safety and wellbeing team

The Student Safety and Wellbeing team is here to support students to continue their studies when they may be struggling with issues impacting their safety and wellbeing - including responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment disclosures, mental health, relationships and finances.

The team also works closely with key stakeholders to deliver information sessions and training on the disclosure process and support available and works closely with the Registrar's office to support students undertaking formal reporting processes.

Please reach out to the team if you need to - they are here to help. You can email them at student.wellbeing@anu.edu.au or look at the ANU website for more details.

Other items in progress

  • The Student Safety and Wellbeing team is drafting a new Sexual Misconduct Policy around zero-tolerance.
  • We will introduce a new Consent package pilot for 2023 based on current best practice and evidence from the industry.
  • We've spent the last month consulting on the new Student Safety and Wellbeing Plan, with over 100 individuals consulted. Based on these consultations, the Student Safety and Wellbeing Plan will add new streams for support for HDR Students and support for the discipline process.
  • The plan will be finalised in June and the full action plan will be released on 19 July.

Ongoing updates

We will update you regularly via On Campus on our progress. This is a high-priority for the University and it's important that you are informed and involved. Our updates will also live here on our ANU website.

I want to thank everyone who has been involved in consultation over the last year. This is not an easy topic to talk about but it is important that we can continue to have these conversations and drive action. Ensuring adequate resourcing and improving our processes is a step towards safer campuses. This is also a shared responsibility - and safe and respectful campuses means we individually commit to cultural change.

Ian

Professor Ian Anderson AO
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Student and University Experience)