100 signatures reached
To: University of Melbourne
Zero Tolerance for Zero Action: Affirmative Consent
This campaign has ended.
CW: Mention of sexual assault and harassment, stealthing, online-abuse.
We are calling on the University of Melbourne to amend their Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy in line with new state laws.
1. That the University of Melbourne updates their definition of consent, and rather defines it as “affirmative consent,” with the same inclusions listed within updated Victorian law.
2. That the University of Melbourne amends policy to include stealthing.
3. That online image-based abuse is defined within policy, with deepfakes, taking, sharing or threatening to share images or videos without consent included within this.
Why is this important?
After the passing of the Justice Legislation Amendment (Sexual Offences and other Matters) 2022 Bill on 31/08/2022, affirmative consent is now law in Victoria.
This amendment means that everyone has the responsibility to get active consent before engaging in sexual activity. This may include (but is not limited to) saying “yes,” as well as physical gestures like nodding and/or reciprocating removing someone’s clothes. To put it simply, there must be a “clear and enthusiastic go-ahead."
The new legislation also firmly guards people from other forms of violence such as stealthing (non-consensual removal of barrier protection such as a condom) and image-based abuse (which can include, but is not limited to: deepfakes, taking, sharing or threatening to share sexual images or videos without consent).
This change in law marks a crucial step in creating survivor-centered legislation, which shifts the responsibility away from survivor to perpetrator.
The University of Melbourne’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy and their definition of consent lags behind state law. Additionally, the policy does not acknowledge stealthing as a form of violence and does not comprehensively cover the emerging issue of online image-based abuse.
There is no room for victim-blaming at the University of Melbourne. Therefore, UMSU calls on the University to immediately change its policy in line with new state legislation. By doing this, it will shift the focus and burden of responsibility from the victim-survivors actions to those of the perpetrator. This change is vital to ensure we are committing to a victim-centred approach that puts justice and safety first.
If this letter brings up any concerns for you, please reach out to the following supports:
Sexual Assault Crisis Support Line (24/7):
1800 806 292
1800 Respect (24/7):
1800 737 732
UMSU Sexual Harm and Response Coordinators
The UMSU Sexual Harm and Response Coordinators provide support with making complaints to the University, reporting to the police, and appropriate referrals to therapeutic services. Contact them via their webpage: https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/support/survivors/
University of Melbourne, Safer Community Program
Provides advice and support to University of Melbourne students who have been affected by sexual violence and harassment: https://safercommunity.unimelb.edu.au/
How it will be delivered
This petition will be open for six weeks. It will then be presented by the UMSU Women's department and UMSU President to the University Vice Chancellor, Duncan Maskell, and Respect Committee for response.