Welcome to this week’s Round-Up! Women at university are pushing back against a culture that tolerates sexual violence and fails to hold perpetrators to account. Women students are widely subjected to sexual assault, harassment, and abuse, as documented by AWAVA member organisation the National University of Students Women’s Department in their recent Talk About It report. Movements against this violence are growing, with a new national prevalence survey launched this week by the Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia, and an open letter from the current University of Sydney Women’s Officer and 12 her predecessors over the past decade accusing the university administration of deliberately stalling action on sexual assault. A special session at Prevalent & Preventable (19-22 September, Adelaide) will address this topic, with speakers including Kate Jenkins (Sex Discrimination Commissioner), Heidi La Paglia (NUS Women’s Officer) and Catriona Jackson (Universities Australia). Visit our conference website to check out the full program and register!


Around the Country


In Melbourne, child sexual assault survivor advocates have condemned a judge’s comments expressing sympathy towards a man convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The judge said that the offender, a former Children’s Court guard, was “not made of steel”, while the girl had appeared “worldly”.

Former sex discrimination commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has carried out a six-month study on diversity and inclusion within the AFP, finding that sexual harassment within the AFP workplace is almost twice the national average. For the copy of the report click here.


Our Watch CEO Mary Barry has written about the schools online pornography case, arguing parents need to understand that abusive behaviour by boys is not inevitable and that telling girls to be more careful is not the answer.


Around the World


In Pakistan, a not-for-profit organisation, Blue Veins,  in collaboration with the District Bar Association, Aurat Foundation and USAID, has conducted training to educate lawyers about gender concepts and pro-women legislation. The training was conducted to encourage Pakistani lawyers’ active participation in law making under the international treaties and conventions ratified by Pakistan.


In Bangladesh, a pilot project in partnership with UNDP Bangladesh and Korea’s Development Agency (KOICA), has found that despite the high rate of gender based violence in the country only four per cent of victims and survivors sought support from police or agencies.


In India, Bhubaneswar intellectuals, policymakers, diplomats, academics and other professionals have gathered together for a day-long workshop on ending violence against women,  following the rape of Nirbhaya in 2012.

[This article contains discussions of violence that may be distressing.]


Research and reports


AWAVA’s policy brief on access to justice is now online! This brief identifies the key challenges faced by victims/survivors in obtaining legal support and redress, and brings together policy recommendations on issues including family law, online abuse and harassment, judicial training, and sexual violence within domestic violence.


The University of New South Wales has conducted a scoping study in Darwin highlighting the effects of sexual violence on employees and the workplace. The study, ‘Gendered Violence and Work’, contains 134 in-depth interviews with survivors of sexual violence in the Northern Territory, and was conducted in partnership with AWAVA member organisation Ruby Gaea Darwin Centre Against Rape, together with the Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre.


Rosie Batty has launched ‘Sense and Sensitivity’, a research report by Women’s Legal Service NSW on information-sharing and confidentiality in family law proceedings involving family violence. Among other findings, the report argues that records of therapeutic and support services provided to victims/survivors must be shielded from perpetrators.


Get involved! 


  • The United Nations Association of Australia will hold a consultative forum on the Economic Empowerment of Women and Girls. The forum will be held in Melbourne from 5-6 September in Novotel, 270 Collins St. Melbourne. To register.
  • Lucy’s Project is hosting the second annual conference on Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse-International Perspective to be held from 5-6 November at the Portside Conference Centre, level 5 Symantec House, 207 Kent St., Sydney. Book here.
  • The Australian Women’s Health Network is asking for supporters to make some noise and save women’s health! Join the campaign here.
  • Women’s Legal Service Victoria is holding an interactive workshop on Children and the Law on 15 September at Level 50 Bourke Place, 600 Bourke St, Melbourne. Click here to book.
  • The University of Melbourne has created a website called ‘NotTheOnlyOne’ where women can anonymously read and share stories about experiencing family and domestic violence.
  • The National Multicultural Women’s Conference will be held on 3 and 4 November 2016 in Parkroyal Parramatta, Sydney. Find out more here.
  • 1800RESPECT, the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Counselling Service is holding a webinar to give front-line workers an understanding of technology facilitated abuse and knowledge on how to support women with practical advice and tools to increase their safety when using digital technology and online media. The 45 minute webinar will be held on 15 September from 1pm AEST. The presenter is Karen Bentley, National Director SafetyNet Australia, WESNET. Register here.
  • Soroptomist International is sponsoring the Rosie Batty Roadshow from 5 October to 7 November 2016, travelling from Brisbane to Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne and Adelaide. Proceeds will go to the Women’s Legal Services in each capital that Rosie will visit. To buy your tickets click here.