Victoria University has a zero tolerance approach to violence in any form, including sexual and gender-based violence.

Gender-based violence is a serious social issue driven by gender inequality and enabled by sexist attitudes and behaviours.

We work to build a culture of safety and respect, where students and staff are empowered to become change agents to help stop gender-based violence at the University and in the wider community.

Respect & Responsibility program

The Respect and Responsibility program implements the University’s Preventing Violence Against Women Ten Point Plan. We deliver programs and initiatives that challenge gender stereotyping and help change attitudes and behaviours around sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The ten point plan draws on international best practice in violence against women, and has been developed with input from staff and students at the University, including those who have experienced sexual violence, as well as external experts in the field.

  1. Promote gender equity across the Institution.
  2. Provide individual support to those affected by violence.
  3. Further develop policies, procedures and codes of conduct to ensure that the expectations of both staff and students in responding to and preventing violence against women are clear.
  4. Build staff and student knowledge and skills in issues pertaining to violence against women and its prevention.
  5. Ensure safe campus environments for all students, staff and visitors.
  6. Develop communications material to raise awareness of issues pertaining to violence against women and the role of men in taking action to prevent it.
  7. Develop leadership roles of students and staff in contributing to the prevention of violence against women.
  8. Develop academic leadership to support current and new research and teaching endeavours pertaining to violence against women.
  9. Build partnerships with communities, the public and private sectors to support collaborative action to prevent violence against women.
  10. Monitor, evaluate and report on outcomes achieved.

Read VU's Preventing Violence Against Women Ten Point Plan.

Some of the Respect and Responsibility program achievements include:

  • obtaining a Victorian Government grant to employ a student-as-staff project officer to develop a Student Reference Group to oversee the program's work
  • providing training workshops and development opportunities to students interested in leading action to challenge gender inequality
  • supporting VU students and staff from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to take part in a Leadership in Preventing Violence Against Women course coordinated by AMES
  • organising VU’s participation in the global 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence events in 2017 and 2018
  • in conjunction with VUSU, facilitating the painting of a mural at the Footscray Park Campus on International Women’s Day 2018.

Future initiatives include the development of an e-learning module that focuses on being an active bystander, and coordination of face-to-face training for VU student leaders in the areas of respectful relationships, gender equality, consent, and being an active bystander.

Please email [email protected] if you would like to be an active part of this important work.

My friend told me about a sexual assault - what should I do?

Sexual assault and sexual harassment are very common. If your friend, classmate or colleague tells you about unwanted sexual contact, there are some simple things you can do that will really help.

1. Believe them

Believing someone when they tell you about sexual assault or sexual harassment is really important. It takes a lot of courage for someone to talk about sexual assault or harassment. Let your friend know that you believe them, and tell them that it’s not their fault.

2. Listen to them

Let the person talk, and really listen. Don’t focus on your reactions. Don’t ask for details of the assault, or ask questions like “Why did you go there?” or “Were you drunk?” Just listen, and let them know you want to support them.

3. Help them find support

Getting support as soon as possible is important. See the important contacts listed on this page (below). Victoria University has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault or harassment. You can report an assault anonymously if you wish to Safer Community.

Important contacts

  • On campus:
  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732): National helpline for advice and support about sexual assault. They can connect you with appropriate services wherever you are.
    Live chat also available at
  • Western Region Centre Against Sexual Assault (WestCASA): Counselling and crisis support in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
    Call +61 3 9216 0444 (After hours: 1800 806 292)
  • inTouch: Provides services and support to migrants and refugees.
    Call 1800 755 988
  • Q Life: Provides peer support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) people and their friends, families and allies.
    Call 1800 184 527
  • Djirra: Provides culturally safe and accessible services to Aboriginal people seeking support.
    Call 1800 105 303
  • Women's Information & Referral Exchange (WIRE): Any woman, any issue - free support, referral and information for all Victorian women, non-binary and gender diverse people.
    Call 1300 134 130

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Banner: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence. 25 November - 10 December 2018. #HearMeToo.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is a global campaign that happens every year between 25 November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women) and 10 December (International Human Rights Day).

VU has participated in 16 Days of Activism in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Read about VU's program of free events to highlight gender equality and preventing violence against women.

Contact us

For more information about Respect and Responsibility programs, initiatives and training please contact:

Email: [email protected]