Raising awareness about sexual assault
The International Student Legal Service NSW, run by Redfern Legal Centre, has partnered with City of Sydney and Study NSW to launch a new factsheet for students who have experienced sexual assault. Available in 11 languages, “Your Body, Your Choice” includes key messages specifically for international students.
Now Redfern Legal Centre is working with Redfern Police Area Command to spread the important message that sexual assault is a crime which international students should not be afraid to report.
Sean Stimson runs the state-wide international student service, which is funded by Study NSW to provide free legal advice to international students studying in NSW. He says that a culturally sensitive student resource on this issue was “urgently needed”.
“Many international students seen by Redfern Legal Centre don’t report sexual assaults because they are unaware of their rights, or don’t know where to get help. They are also often afraid to report the incident because they are worried it will affect their visa status,” Mr Stimson said.
Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, said the City of Sydney was proud to develop and support this critical program. “We have more than 35,000 international students in Sydney, with many students away from their family and friends for the first time. It is essential that we do everything we can to keep our international students safe,” the Lord Mayor said. “Your Body, Your Choice helps students to understand their rights and know where to get help if they need it.”
Redfern Police Crime Manager Detective Inspector Despa Fitzgerald is equally supportive. “For anyone reporting a sexual assault, taking that first step is always huge. We know that language barriers can make this even harder. At Redfern Police Area Command we always have telephone interpreters on hand to support victims of crime.”
Your Body, Your Choice is available in print and online, and is being circulated among education providers and support organisations.
For additional information, and requests for hard copies, contact RLC’s International Student Service NSW (www.rlc.org.au, firstname.lastname@example.org), City of Sydney (www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au) or Study NSW (www.study.sydney/about). Download the factsheet at: https://rlc.org.au/publication/your-body-your-choice-sexual-assault-factsheet
Finn O’Keefe is RLC Communications Manager.