RECOMMENDATION TWO<br>Universities develop a plan for addressing the drivers of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Universities develop a plan for addressing the drivers of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The Respectful Communities team was established 1 January 2018 to oversee prevention and Respect. Now. Always. (RNA) initiatives across the University. We recognise that prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment requires an ongoing commitment with dedicated resources focused on addressing the drivers of gender-based violence. Respectful Communities is committed to taking an evidence-based approach to prevention, which includes the monitoring and evaluation of all initiatives and training. They provide regular reports on their initiatives to the RNA Advisory Committee.
- Respectful Communities has developed and delivers numerous training and education opportunities for the Monash community:
- Respect at Monash module: Building from an earlier module developed in 2017, in October 2018 the new Respect at Monash module was launched for students at Monash. The development of the new online course involved extensive input from our student community, as well as external experts including SECASA. For students commencing study in 2019 the module is now compulsory. This occurred at the request of the Monash Student Organisation Presidents in 2019, and was endorsed by the RNA Advisory Committee. Students who fail to complete the module within their first semester of study are encumbered.
- Respectful Research at Monash module: A tailored version of the Respect at Monash module, specifically for graduate research students. The module focuses on rights and responsibilities, respectful relationships and appropriate conduct when representing Monash; all focused on the particular nuances of academic supervisory relationships and the challenges that may arise.
- Respectful Supervision of Students module: Staff who supervise graduate research students are required to complete this module on respectful supervision which will help them understand the power imbalance in the supervisory relationship and take steps to ensure this relationship is respectful. This module is strongly recommended for any Monash staff who supervise students in any capacity.
- Respect at Monash: for Staff module: This program focuses on the high standards we expect from our staff, comprising three modules which help us to promote a safe and respectful environment for everyone in the Monash community. The module covers three areas mirroring the student version, including: rights and responsibilities, respectful relationships and alcohol and drugs. The Respect at Monash: For Staff module is being launched in early 2022, with work underway to embed within compliance processes.
- Call It Out module: A one-hour online module open to all students and staff to encourage intervention in problematic and harmful behaviours. It aims to encourage students and staff to speak up to promote equality and prevent violence in the community, and gives them tools on how to intervene and provide the best support to those affected. After extensive consultation with students and staff, including academic experts, the module is set for launch in early 2022.
- BRIGHT Prevention of Gender-Based Violence training: The Bystander, Respect, Intimate Partner Violence and Gender in Higher Education Training is a peer-led, interactive training session aimed at supporting respectful relationships and gender equality in our community. The national primary prevention framework, Change the Story (2015), is drawn on heavily as evidence for this program; along with data from the Change the Course Report (2017). BRIGHT training is annually updated, in collaboration with peer facilitators and following student feedback obtained through pre- and post-surveys.
- Flip the Script training: This program, known formally as the Enhanced Assess Acknowledge Act (EAAA) program, is one of the only programs in the world evaluated to show it reduces sexual violence. In a randomised controlled trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, women who took EAAA experienced a 46% reduction in completed rape and a 63% reduction in attempted rape in the following year compared to those in the control group. The evidence-based program for women focuses on empowerment, dispels common myths for women around their safety in public spaces, while also reducing victim-blaming attitudes in self and others. This program, in partnership with a comprehensive suite of prevention initiatives and sound response pathways, is significant for improving perceptions and understanding of their safety for women and the Monash community at large.
- The Masculinities Project: In 2019 Monash started researching the development of a healthy masculinities program. Increasingly organisations are focusing on working with men on healthier masculinities to prevent gender-based violence, however research in this area remains incredibly limited. Many interventions for men in existence have no sound evidence behind them, nor are they being evaluated. After almost 18-months of research and development, the project was launched in 2020. Our program remains unique from other healthy masculinities programs in that it’s open to all men, as well as gender-diverse students with an interest or lived experiences of masculinities. We engage facilitators of diverse genders, ensuring not just men facilitate sessions, and remain accountable to feminist literature. The program is being formally evaluated by Monash academics, with findings to be released later this year.
- Beyond the aforementioned educational programs, Respectful Communities provides numerous opportunities for training around broader diversity, inclusion and social justice matters – all seeking to build our community of safety and respect at Monash.
- Respectful Communities hosts numerous events and other engagement activities annually for the Monash community:
- Orientation Week campaign: An information marquee for the duration of each O-Week carnival at the Clayton, Caulfield, Peninsula and Parkville campuses. The information marquee involves engaging students in a conversation about the prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment on-campus, as well as providing information regarding support services and educational opportunities (including online modules).
- Respect. Now. Always. Week: Respectful Communities, in collaboration with students from the Monash Minds Leadership Program, host an annual RNA Week across the Caulfield, Peninsula, Clayton and Parkville campuses.
- International Day for the Elimination of Gender-Based Violence and 16 Days of Activism: Each year, during the 16 Days of Activism (between November and December), Respectful Communities and Campus Community Division host the annual Elimination of Gender-Based Violence event for all Monash staff. The focus of the event changes each year. Monash has been marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence since 2012. Given the time of year of the event, focus has been on engaging staff in conversations on the topic with numerous guest speakers invited over the years. Since 2019, this has formed part of a broader digital campaign across the 16 Days of Activism to further encourage education on this issue.
- Beyond the aforementioned events and initiatives, Respectful Communities coordinates various other events and activities around broader diversity, inclusion and social justice matters – this includes Pride March, IDAHOBIT, Diversity & Inclusion Week, the Give Respect Art Competition – all seeking to build our community of safety and respect at Monash.
- In partnership with the University Health Services, Respectful Communities oversees numerous sexual health education initiatives to further build the capacity of our students to feel empowered in their relationships. This has included:
- Establishment of the Sexual Health Network made up of students and staff (along with a representative from SECASA) to help build sexual health literacy, consent and respectful relationships education within the community. The Network meets twice per year.
- In 2021, Respectful Communities and MUISS (Monash University International Students Service) received funding through the International Student Welfare Grant to develop a series of sexual health and consent resources for international students. The educational resources are all peer-developed and will be delivered through Instagram (@OurSexualHealth) and launching formally for semester 1, 2022 orientation.
- Monash Residential Services (MRS) specific initiatives include:
- All residents living at MRS or at Mannix College complete the 1-hour Sexpectations training. It focuses on inclusion and respect, safer sex, respectful relationships, being an active bystander and how to access support services.
- Since 2018, two MRS Residential Advisors from each residential hall are trained to delivered the Sexpectations program to their peers. Respectful Communities conducts a facilitator training program each year. SECASA endorses the program, and the facilitators, annually. Between 2020 and 2022 COVID-19 has impacted our ability to deliver in-person training, however Sexpectations was as a result adapted into an online module.
- All Resident Advisors at MRS and Mannix College complete BRIGHT training and Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence training.
- Working closely with Respectful Communities, the MRS Gender Equality Committee membership is made up of MRS residents and led by members of our Residential Support Team and MRS Senior Management. The Committee is peer-led and seeks to raise awareness of the importance of consent, creating cultures that are free from discrimination and harassment and how we can all work to stop gender-based violence. The Committee has been in place since before the RNA campaign began in 2016, and as of 2022 has been renamed the Gender Equality Committee in recognition of its focus on primary prevention initiatives to address sexual and gender-based violence. The Committee hosts numerous events and initiatives across any given year. In 2021, the MRS Gender Equality Committee has worked towards creating awareness of gender-based violence and its drivers through presentations and discussions in all MRS Halls. Over 260 residents have been reached through these sessions. The Committee has recently achieved a significant goal, putting together a successful proposal to have all MRS vending machines include personal care items. This goal facilitates easy access to these products for all residents.
- MRS continues to promote widely messages promoting affirmative consent, along with other prevention of gender-based violence events, training and messages developed by Respectful Communities, throughout their residential halls on digital screens and hard copy posters.