The Respectful Relationships Unit is a culmination of the University's commitment to providing a safe and respectful campus for the entire ANU community. It leads the University's ongoing work to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment before it occurs and to respond appropriately when it does happen.
- The Unit oversees the development of whole-of-university policy and strategies to deal with sexism, sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus.
- The Unit works with ANU to bring about cultural change to realise its vision of a fully inclusive campus which is safe for all staff and students.
- The Unit provides information and case coordination response and referral for those impacted by sexual assault or sexual harassment, for education and training programs for the whole community including staff and students, for the communication of policies, procedures and the work being delivered in this area, and for establishing comprehensive, centralised data collection and reporting systems.
The Unit was established in January 2019 by ANU as part of the University's response to the Australian Human Rights Commission's (AHRC) Change the Course - A National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities 2017 and the ongoing hard work and advocacy by members of ANUSA and PARSA, and other student activist communities.
Following the AHRC report, the Vice-Chancellor set up two advisory groups: a Respectful Relationships Steering group to guide and oversee the University's response to the report; and a Respectful Relationships Working Group to provide internal advice to ensure effective implementation of strategies. The Steering Group agreed to dissolve itself in February 2019, following the establishment of the Respectful Relationships Unit, as the Unit took on the role of providing guidance and advice to the University. The Working Group transitioned into the Respectful Relationships Advisory Group.
Respectful Relationships Advisory Group
The Respectful Relationships Advisory Group is chaired by a senior staff member of the University and reports directly to the Vice-Chancellor. The current chair is Veronica Taylor.
The Advisory Group meets several times per year and provides internal advice and support to the Respectful Relationships Unit to ensure effective implementation of strategies.
The Respectful Relationships Unit reports to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (University Experience).
The Respectful Relationships Unit is led by a Unit Manager. Sue Webeck has held this position since early 2019.
Timeline of Key Milestones
The Respectful Relationships Unit conducted engagement sessions with the ANU community on the Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy's Rolling Action Plan
The Respectful Relationships Unit coordinated with key stakeholders to help deliver education and training to student leaders, new on-campus residents, and students new to ANU at the beginning of 2020
ANU and the Respectful Relationships Unit participated in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence in November/December 2019
The ANU Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy 2019-2026 was released in November 2019, following consultations with community
The ANU Sexual Misconduct Policy was released
The ANU Sexual Misconduct Disclosure Form was released to the ANU community
An extensive suite of training opportunities was rolled out to the ANU community
The Respectful Relationships Unit Facebook page was established as a key community communications avenue
First staff appointments made to the Respectful Relationships Unit beginning in January 2019
The Review of ANU Residences' Response to Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment was released
The Audit of Counselling report was released
The ANU announced that it would establish the Respectful Relationships Unit
The Discipline Rule was updated to include definitions of sexual assault and sexual harassment
The Respectful Relationships Steering Group and Working Group were established.
The ANU responded to the Rapid Context Report
The ANU responded to the Australian Human Rights Commission survey
The Vice-Chancellor issued an apology to any member of the ANU community who has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment on campus.
Addressing sexual assault on campus is a collective responsibility, wrote Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt
The Vice-Chancellor issued a video apology
The Vice-Chancellor wrote a letter to the ANU community outlining the core values that members of the ANU community should uphold
The ANU announced a partnership between ANU, ANUSA and the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre to provide improved on-campus counselling services for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment