A safe community

Keeping our community safe

UWA is committed to ensuring all students, and staff, can work and study in a safe and inclusive environment. Creation of a safe and respectful community takes action from everyone, every day.

How can I contribute to a safer UWA community?

Get skilled

Build practical skills to call out disrespectful or unsafe behaviour by attending Step Up Bystander Training or Mental Health First Aid Training.

Take action

Be an active bystander and step up to help others or report any safety concerns to UWA Security.

Celebrate success

Nominate your favourite project for a Safer Communities Award. Read more and nominate for an award below. 

Highlights and achievements

In 2016, Universities Australia asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to investigate university student experiences of sexual assault and harassment through Australia's first-ever national survey. Following the release of the survey results in 2017, Australian universities each developed action plans to improve the safety of their students.

A follow up survey, The National Student Safety Survey, will run from 6 September to 3 October 2021 to check in and measure our progress.

We are very proud of the work done by both students and staff to help make UWA a safer place. Since the last national survey on this topic in 2016, as a community we have:

  • Formed the UWA Safer Communities Working Group and launched the Safer Communities Award.
  • Convened the WA RNA Network so that Western Australian universities can work together to support all students in response to sexual assault and harassment.
  • Launched Step Up Bystander Intervention Training and trained a large number of students and staff to safely intervene if they see someone in trouble.
  • Commissioned a review of sexual misconduct within the college setting. The majority of recommendations made in the review have since been endorsed and implemented by all colleges and this work is still ongoing.
  • Provided an extensive program of events by the UWA Student Guild Women’s Department throughout each year, covering topics such as healthy relationship education, self-defence workshops and the award winning #EndTheViolence week.
  • Opened The Living Room which provides a welcoming space where someone is always available if students are feeling stressed, upset or just need a chat. No appointment needed.
  • Implemented the Ask for Angela initiative at the UWA Tav.
  • Launched an online system for reporting incidents to make the process easier.
  • Increased the number of Guild student club executives that receive training from the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
  • Launched a confidential Disclosure service to support students in response to incidents of sexual harm with academic adjustments, fast tracked referrals and advice on reporting options.
  • Improved the information available on how to seek support and report an incident.
  • Made external bathrooms across campus accessible only with a student or staff card after-hours.
  • Launched a security SMS line, so you can contact UWA Security if you’re in a situation where verbal communication is not possible (SMS 0438 739 744).
  • Ensured both male and female security guards are available to respond to incidents.
  • Improved lighting across campus to provide lower glare and better visibility after dark.
  • Launched the UWA app with a quick tap to call Security button, so you don’t need to look up the phone number in an emergency.
  • Launched low-barrier consent and healthy relationships outreach activities, run by trained Health Promotion Peer Educators on campus and at the residential colleges.
  • Strengthened the partnership between the Guild Student Assist and University health and wellbeing services to speed up the process of support.
  • Made Wellbeing Volunteers now present at all Guild events where alcohol is available.
DIRECT: Lead by example. Provide immediate help or directly call out disrespectful language or treatment in the moment when it's safe to do so.  DISTRACT: Diffuse tension, change the subject, roll your eyes, or de-escalate a situation if you can't help directly.  DELAY: You can make a difference afterwards by checking in on the person affected.  DELEGATE: Get others involved, especially if the situation is serious. UWA staff are here to help.  DOCUMENT: Record or report an incident to prevent future issues.

Be an active bystander

All staff and students have a role to play in creating a safe community. Be an active bystander against disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour and create a culture of helping. You can help in a range of ways, both directly and indirectly.

Learn more by attending Step Up Bystander Intervention Training for students and staff.

Attend a workshop

Collaborating makes our community safer

The Safer Communities Working Group was established in 2016 in response to the report by Australian Human Rights Commission. It exists to build a safe, inclusive and supportive campus culture at UWA. Both staff and students are members of the Working Group and come from across the University, including College Row and the Guild.

Areas of focus include:

  • Policy
  • Process and reporting
  • Environmental and structural measures
  • Prevention and cultural change
  • Support services
  • Communications

The Safer Communities Working Group 2020 Report outlines the initiatives aimed at preventing and responding to safety concerns and concerning behaviour at UWA.

Download report [PDF, 1.2MB]

If you’d like to find out more about the Safer Communities Working Group, contact Executive Officer Emma Hawkins.

The UWA Safer Communities Award recognises the successes of key individuals or teams who have delivered projects that create a safe, inclusive and supportive environment at the University in line with the UWA Student Experience Strategy – Experience UWA 2025.

Nominations are encouraged from students and staff, both individuals or teams across all areas of the University and its affiliates, including the Student Guild and College Row. Nominations are also invited for collaborative projects between teams. Preference will be given to individuals or projects whose contributions extend beyond their usual core business.

Nominations for 2021 have now closed. 

Download information sheet

Past winners


2021: The UWA International Student Support Team for their Friendship Friday project.

2020: The UWA Student Guild Women's department for their #EndtheViolence week.

2019: The UWA Health Promotion Unit and College Row for their College Row Event Management Toolkit; and The UWA Law School for their Juris Doctor Boarding Pass.


College Row Cultural Review and Taskforce

In October 2017, UWA and the five residential colleges commissioned a review of sexual misconduct within the college setting in accordance to Recommendation 9 from The Australian Human Rights Commission Change the Course Report. The overarching report findings are available in the Report’s Executive Summary. A Taskforce was convened in December 2019 to address the recommendations. 

The majority of recommendations and suggested actions have since been endorsed and implemented by all Colleges, or are reflective of the ongoing nature of the recommendations, such as annual training and review. A summary and detailed action plan can be found in the Taskforce 2020 Report. 

College Row Cultural Review Report [PDF, 3.2MB] 
Taskforce Report [PDF, 3.2MB] 

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