United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Dear Colleagues,

In the lead-up to this International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, I’ve been thinking about what we can do to meet this great challenge of our time.

The United Nations describes gender-based violence as one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights challenges in our world today. It includes all forms of violence against people on the basis of their gender, including sexual harassment, and domestic and family violence.

Today, November 25th, marks the start of 16 Days of Global Activism – a time when we are all encouraged to show support, raise awareness and take action against gender-based violence.

I am proud of the world-class research our academics are putting into finding new solutions to this challenge. Recently, colleagues from across our disciplines met with community leaders at a conference to discuss new collaborations between domestic and family violence researchers and community organizations. At the conference, Hayley Foster, CEO of Full Stop Australia, spoke about the new National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032 and I would like to highlight some of the actions for us.

This new national plan identifies the need for educational institutions to integrate intervention initiatives into their work and engage all young people in respectful behaviour. It also shows the importance of addressing the unique barriers our vulnerable communities face. I am proud of the work the University of Sydney has done to create the Safer Communities Office, a specialist service providing students and staff with trauma-informed support and delivering preventive education across the University.

There is still much work to be done, and I look forward to partnering with our students and colleagues to continue building a society that thrives through equality, diversity and inclusion as we roll out the Sydney 2032 Strategy.

The National Plan also sets out actions for workplaces to address the challenge of gender-based violence, including the need to promote gender equality at work, ensure our environment is safe, and provide leave benefits for those who experience violence.

Creating a society where all people can thrive is another important aspiration of the Sydney 2032 Strategy, and I would encourage colleagues to continue accessing the professional development and leadership opportunities we offer to advance this.

Through these actions, we can all work together to tackle the complex challenge of ending gender-based violence in a single generation – and we can ensure that the University of Sydney is a place where all our staff and students feel safe, supported and able to bring all of their selves into our campus.

It is considered,

Mark Scott
Vice Chancellor and President

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