Two young women smiling, friendly

Sexual assault and relationship violence do an enormous amount of harm, affecting people in heartbreaking ways and often for life. Victoria University is participating in an Australia-wide initiative to address these issues.

Respect Week 2021 begins today with the aim of coming together to gain a deeper understanding of what respect means to each other and how our relationships with others can be happier, safer and more rewarding.

A program of discussion sessions and events begins at 10.30am. See the full program and check the VU Student Union Facebook page and Instagram account for Respect-themed giveaways and a special fundraiser.

Social Work students will present a panel session on Gendered Violence, while short drop-in sessions tackle topics including consent, respect and inclusion for students and staff with diverse backgrounds. Chat with the Safer Community coordinator, ask any question you like about women’s health, and watch the film, Moxie.

On 6 October (COVID permitting), join in and help paint the giant RESPECT mural being created on the external wall of Building M at our Footscray Park campus.

Respect Week 2021 coincides with the commencement of the National Student Safety Survey, which will be conducted by the Social Research Centre, and is funded by Universities Australia’s Respect. Now. Always. initiative.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said the survey – which will run until 3 October – builds on the first, foundational survey conducted in 2016 as part of the world-leading Respect. Now. Always. initiative.

"Any incident of sexual violence that occurs inside or outside of our university communities is one too many,” Ms Jackson said.

This confidential, anonymous survey will distributed randomly to 10,000 students at every Australian university, and will collect data on the scale and nature of sexual assault and sexual harassment experienced by university students – no matter where it occurred. The results will be used to make universities across Australia safer for all.

“This survey is an important initiative in the ongoing work that universities have done in the last five years since the ground-breaking Change the Course survey was conducted. Though response services for students have improved over that time, and our prevention of gender-based violence work is ongoing, we know that relationship violence is still too prevalent in society and within our University community,” says Adam Shoemaker, Vice-Chancellor and President, Victoria University.

Since the results of the survey were released in late 2017, VU has embarked on an ambitious plan of education, resource development, leadership, monitoring, evaluation and technology development to address the drivers of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Relationship violence as well as sexual assault is being addressed during Respect Week. As COVID-19 has added a deep layer of stress to everyday life, relationship violence has increased. This week is an opportunity to talk openly about relationships, whether good or bad, and also to gain a deeper understanding of what respect means in all its forms.

“Victoria University is committed to providing a safe place for students to study and preventing gender-based violence in all its forms,” says Professor Shoemaker.

Help is available

In an emergency call 000.

Talking about sexual harm and sexual harassment can be distressing.
If you need support, please reach out for help:

  • VU Counselling 03 9919 5400
    Free and confidential appointments to help you manage study and personal issues
    Operates 9am–4.30pm weekdays
  • 1800Respect 1800 737 732
    Support for anyone impacted by sexual assault or family violence.
    Operates 24/7
  • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
    Free counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns, including issues of violence
    Operates 24/7
  • QLife 1800 184 527
    Specialised LGBTIQ+ support and counselling.
    Operates 3pm–midnight daily.
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
    Provides support for anyone having a personal crisis or suicidal thoughts.
    Operates 24/7
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
    Provides support for anyone having a personal crisis or suicidal thoughts.
    Operates 24/7

Contact us

If you have any questions, you can access ASKVU, email us, speak to us via live chat or call us on +61 3 9919 6100.

Contact us

Beverley Johanson
Media Adviser
External Media
Phone: 
+61 407 311 272