A holistic model to help prevent gender violence in universities has been launched by Our Watch and University Australia, in partnership with the Victorian government.
The model, Educating for Equality, was developed in collaboration with Monash University, Western Sydney University, Southern Cross University and La Trobe University.
Drawing on national and international evidence, the model includes comprehensive tools to support a whole-of-university approach to preventing gender-based violence.
The sector-wide model builds on work already underway at universities to prevent violence and aims to challenge the behaviour, culture, norms and structures that drive this kind of violence.
Universities Australia Chair Professor Deborah Terry said Australian universities would strengthen their efforts to achieve gender equality and ensure existing inequalities are not deepened.
“If we want to harness everyone’s full potential, talent and skills – and if we are serious about ending gender-based violence – we need to begin by addressing gender inequality.”
Our Watch Chair Natasha Stott Despoja said the model was designed to work alongside response services such as student and counselling services.
“More than one and a half million people work or study in universities across Australia, and every one of them has the right to feel safe and respected,” Ms Stott Despoja said.
“Disrespect and violence against women do not just occur in a vacuum, but as a result of drivers of this abuse which include condoning of violence towards women, rigid gender stereotypes and male relationships and peer friendships that emphasise disrespect towards women.”
Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said addressing gender inequality in all its forms, and wherever it appears, is the only way to stop violence before it starts.
“Educating for Equality will support universities to provide a safe working and learning environment where gender equality is actively promoted, gender stereotypes are challenged and gender-based discrimination becomes a thing of the past,” Ms Jackson said.
Educating for Equality frameworks and supporting resources can be found at educatingforequality.org.au.