Australia launches hotline for sexually assaulted university students

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Canberra, July 31 (IANS) Australian authorities on Monday launched a nation-wide hotline service for sexually assaulted university students.

The service will be available to students around the clock, with specialist trauma counsellors from Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia at the helm to provide support, reports Xinhua news agency.

Director and founder of End Rape on Campus Sharna Bremner told Xinhua on Monday that she hoped the hotline will help victims of assault and harassment – particularly in light of the report on sexual assault on Australian university campuses, which is due to be released on Tuesday.

“The hotline came about because we (End Rape on Campus) requested a specialist hotline for students, with 24/7 counselling,” Bremner said.

The report into sexual assault and harassment at universities will detail the results of a student survey – undertaken by all the 39 universities which are part of the Universities Australia (UA) group – and Bremner anticipated there will be “mass panic from the universities” in light of what she expects will be damning figures.

The release of the survey is likely to see a number of students reach out for help, according to UA chief Belinda Robinson, and she hoped the support line will complement existing services that are already in place for survivors.

The support line will operate until November 30, when it will be re-evaluated to assess how many students accessed the service and whether it should be continued.

–IANS

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