CSU consent program sets new students up for safer future

Tuesday 20 Feb 2018

Charles Sturt University (CSU) has developed unique face-to-face training for key student groups to improve communication about sexual relationships and skills in bystander response.

This is part of the University’s commitment to an affirmative response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) national report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities which was released in August 2017 as part of the sector-wide campaign Respect. Now. Always.

The CSU-developed face-to-face training, Playing Right, being rolled out through the University’s Residence Life team, is in addition to the online training program for staff and students, Consent Matters, which is being implemented by universities across Australia.

CSU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Ms Jenny Roberts said, “The face-to-face and online training programs being introduced in 2018 for University staff and other student groups is a key part of the University’s zero tolerance approach to sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“This remains an important issue for the University. Sexual assault is a crime. Sexual harassment is not acceptable.

“This program developed by Charles Sturt University staff will improve the opportunity for us to have greater impact about issues of communication, consent and relationships, with our new students who need that extra level of support and guidance in navigating the transition to on-campus life.

“We want all Charles Sturt University students to be able to enjoy their time at university and have fun, but above all be safe and at all times respectful.”

Playing Right is a compulsory two-hour, face-to-face training offered by CSU Residence Life for new students living on campus in 2018. It is also compulsory for the University’s students holding leadership positions such as O Week Leaders and Student Representative Council members. The training covers sex, sexuality, gender, consent, and how students can support others if they are a bystander when an incident occurs.

It aims to reduce rates of sexual harassment and sexual assault experienced by university students by identifying a student’s responsibilities and rights when it comes to sex and what the options are if the student experiences any form of sexual violence.

“In line with the University’s values of Insightful, Inclusive, Impactful and Inspiring, Charles Sturt University is improving the way we respond to these issues and support students who experience sexual assault and harassment,” Ms Roberts said.

In addition to the training programs, CSU:

  • - Has developed a dedicated Respect. Now. Always website providing access to information, resources and support contacts for students, staff and the community;
  • - Has provided Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence training online for all staff, and face-to-face for key groups of student-facing staff, to ensure staff know the steps to take if they receive a report;
  • - Has established a Sexual Assault Reference Group on each campus, allowing all staff to contact specially-trained staff members for advice if they receive a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment;
  • - Is staffing a CSU hotline with trained counsellors for students to contact if they need support or wish to make a report of sexual violence. After-hours, the hotline diverts to national services;
  • - Has established a Respect. Now. Always Working Party, including student representatives;
  • - Is reviewing policies, procedures and reporting to meet agreed national standards for universities.

Sexual assault and harassment information and support call 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732.


Media contact: Fiona Halloran , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

Media note: Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Ms Jenny Roberts at CSU in Bathurst. Resident Life student leaders are available for interview.

Background on Playing Right program:

  • - Original content developed by CSU Residence Life but modelled on similar programs such as the successful secondary school program ‘Love Bites’ and in consultation with Headspace and other local youth services providers.
  • - Simultaneous roll out across CSU campuses in Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Port Macquarie and Wagga Wagga.
  • - By the end of Orientation Week 2018, 1 700 student leaders on six campuses will have completed the Playing Right program.
  • - Not only residential student leaders but non-residential students are also participants in the program.
  • - Program includes structured content and scenario roll plays in a ‘non-sexual’ context to model appropriate behavior in everyday contexts.
  • - Content of the program is about understanding the rules and negotiating relationships.
  • - Key focus is in perpetrator prevention in education around describing what predatory behavior looks like and language like ‘It’s not YES unless it’s a HELL YES!’ and educating ‘mates to look after mates’ in understanding the rules around appropriate and respectful relationships and opening discussions about how to report and take action if an incident does occur.