Sunday, December 04, 2022

University makes affirmative consent education compulsory, as more sexual assault punishments expected

Professor Trish Mundy and Dr Nancy Huggett at the University of Wollongong are on the front lines of dealing with sexual assault and harassment.

Women lead a safe and respectful community team that provides support for students who have witnessed or experienced sexual harassment.

They say NSW’s new affirmative consent law, which came into force from 1 June, will prove to be a game-changer for women who have been sexually assaulted.

,[In the past] Our conversation has been about what the survivor or the complainant did or didn’t do to show that they were not consenting,” said Professor Mundi, the university’s dean of law.

As of now, the onus is on the defendant to prove that they sought and consented to any form of sexual activity.

The law now also says that if someone is too drunk or unconscious, they cannot give consent.

Professor Mundi said the changes are likely to result in more successful convictions for sexual assault.

“I think by changing the focus [to] What is said and done to trace consent and make it clear that when it is not freely and voluntarily given, it can only improve the experience in court for the prosecutors and the complainants,” he said. Told.

Photograph Of The University Of Wollongong Building Surrounded By Trees And Lush Green Bushes.
The University of Wollongong is looking at ways to increase student safety on campus.,Supplied: University of Wollongong,

Laws to address harassment at university

Data released earlier this year by the National Student Survey found that 18.5 percent of students at the University of Wollongong had been sexually assaulted since starting university.

Dr Huggett said this is a big problem in all universities.

“Whether it’s improving lighting, making sure our students have security escorts if it’s dark and they need to get their own car, more information … to try and prevent sexual assault and assault.” We can do a lot for that.”

Consent Module Mandatory

A major initiative at the university is to make its online consent cases module mandatory for all students in the second half of this year.

“Consent cases have been available online for some years, but student feedback should be mandatory,” said Dr. Huggett.

“How to say no and how to ask for consent and make it attractive and something you want to do, not something you’re nervous about.”

He said after the COVID lockdown and long periods of online study with students back on campus, sexual harassment became a major issue.

“We have a lot of students who are exploring their sexuality and I think it’s important in their leisure activities that they are armed with the facts.”

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