In the coming days, the news headlines are likely to be full of stories relating to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on university students’ experience of sexual assault and harassment.
Whether or not you’re a survivor of sexual assault or harassment, this news could affect you or someone you know.
If it does, remember that it’s okay to turn the news off. It’s okay to take care of yourself, first and foremost, and it’s okay to seek help.
Where to seek help if you need it:
No matter why the news about the report has affected you, it is okay to seek help.
Here are some easy ways to do so:
- You can access support via the Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault, who offer free short and medium term counselling for survivors of sexual assault. Find information here or call 1800 806 292 in an emergency.
- You can seek individual counselling via the University’s Counselling Service.
- Universities Australia has a 24/7 phone service for survivors of sexual assault. The contact number is 1800 572 224.
- You can access immediate counselling over the phone with 1800 RESPECT.
- If you have a Medicare card, you can speak to your GP about a Mental Health Care Plan and access Medicare rebates on psychological services. Find information here.
- If you are an international student and have enrolled with the University’s recommended OSHC provider, you should also be eligible for rebates on psychological services. We recommend you confirm this with your insurer first. Find information here.
You can also see a full list of all free mental health and wellbeing resources available to students here.
If you are in immediate danger:
If you are in immediate danger, please dial 000.
If you are in immediate danger on campus, you can also contact Campus Security if you feel more comfortable doing so: 03 8344 6666.
You can also use a blue help phone to contact Campus Security. Here is a map of where you can find them on campus.
If you would like to report an incident:
Whether the assault you would like to report happened recently or a long time ago, it is okay to come forward. Many survivors do not feel able to report what has happened to them until long after the fact. Know that what happened to you is absolutely not your fault.
If you would like to report an incident, however long ago it happened, you should first contact Victoria Police.
You can either:
- contact your local police station (find information here), or
- register the incident with the Victoria Police Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team (find information here).
You can find out more information about how Victoria Police will handle your report here (available in multiple languages).
You can also choose to report the incident to the University.
You can do this by contacting the Safer Community team.
Max Bergh is GSA's Women's Officer.