Living your best life in the uni break

We all have the right to feel safe and secure, and with the university break coming up, our daily activities might look a bit different. With that in mind, we’ve spoken to Jayne McCartney, the Respectful Communities Coordinator at the University of Newcastle, to see how students can feel safe while enjoying their time off. 

What are some safety services that the University offers?

The University has a dedicated Safety and Security Services Team who work hard to ensure students and staff are safe on all our campuses. The team provides a range of services, including a Safe Walk service at Callaghan and Ourimbah if you want to be escorted around campus after-dark and a Security Night Shuttle at all campuses that can take you to neighbouring suburbs. The University also has 24/7 emergency response service, CCTV monitoring and security help points. To find out more about the services available and how to access them, you can check out the comprehensive list on the University website.  

Everyone has the right to feel safe on campus, no matter what time of day or night. As well as the many services offered through the University, we also encourage all members of our community to look out for one another. If you see anything concerning, you can get in contact with Security or Campus Care.  

What advice do you have for students looking to manage their own personal safety while studying at university?

While we do have services in place to support the safety and security of our students while on campus, we also know that students are members of our wider community, and with that being said there are some inherent risks to personal safety. We are really clear that it is never the fault of any person who is the victim of a crime – the blame always lies with the perpetrator. While we work on shifting our cultural norms to prevent crimes like sexual assault and harassment, we also want to ensure that people acknowledge their right to keep themselves safe.  

One way we can do this is by knowing the safety features of services that we regularly use or activities we enjoy in our daily lives. For example, it’s worth checking out the safety features when using Uber or other rideshare options. Your romantic or sexual life is somewhere you should always feel safe, no matter where you meet potential partners.  The e-safety commissioner offers some advice for staying safe when using dating apps.  

Students can also experience harm from things like drink spiking when they visit entertainment venues. Drink spiking – adding alcohol or other drugs to someone else’s drink without their consent – is a crime, and like all crimes it is never the fault of the victim. When you are out there are some things you can do to help make you and your friends less vulnerable to these crimes. 

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I cannot stress enough that we all have a right to feel safe and secure as we go about our day-to-day lives. If you ever feel unsafe do not hesitate to call our Security Services when on campus. Of course, in any emergency you should always call 000. When you are out in the wider community, it helps to be aware of available safety and security services in case you need them.  

Our actions, big and small, play a role in contributing to a safer campus and community for all. Safety starts with respect for one another. Respectful behaviour means we respect the boundaries of others, we acknowledge their right to feel safe, we call out or report behaviours that are concerning and we check in with other members of our community.   

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