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April 29, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Consultation Open on New VUW Sexual Violence Policy

 

Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) has put their draft Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy up for consultation and is asking for feedback from the university community.

Speaking as an academic, VUW Faculty of Law Professor Yvette Tinsley says feedback from students and staff will ideally help advance the policy so that it reflects common values within the university.

Tinsley highlighted the importance of engaging with a range of viewpoints to “ensure that the policy will not only comply with the law but also accord with our community and its needs.”

The Sexual Abuse Prevention Network works with various instutions and organisations, educating them on how to prevent sexual harm in these spaces.

General Manager Fiona McNamara agreed that consultation is a crucial step in developing the policy, to ensure the document serves the needs of staff and students.

The VUW website states that the draft policy “defines and prohibits sexual harassment, sets out how the University will manage disclosures and complaints of sexual harassment, and encourages safe active bystander intervention.”

The website also says the proposed procedures that accompany the policy “set out how students and staff can report sexual harassment, what will happen when they do, and how they can access advice and support.”

Tinsley hopes that the policy will empower students and staff with regard to how they can seek help and support.

She also thinks it will provide information about types of behaviour that will breach the policy.

“Policies like these can be one tool to ensure that when poor behaviour occurs, it is not accepted,” Tinsley says.

McNamara believes that while the policy is an important element of preventing sexual harassment, it will not solve the problem alone.

“It needs to go hand in hand with other initiatives, particularly education and training. I think that education and training need to be really widespread, and reach all students and all staff.

The draft policy is available on the VUW website, with email submissions open until May 17 (policy-help@vuw.ac.nz). Consultation forums on May 8 at Pipitea, and May 9 at Te Aro and Kelburn campuses, are also available for feedback on the proposed document.

 

More details are available online.

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