University’s consent education program wins major global award


A leading consent and respectful relationships program developed by The Australian National University (ANU) has been internationally recognised for best practice with a global university award.

The Rights, Relationships, and Respect program won gold in the Nurturing Values and Ethics category in the 2023 QS Quacquarelli Symonds Reimagine Education Awards, and was presented in Abi Dhabi in December.

The 2023 QS Quacquarelli Symonds Reimagine Education Awards received more than 1,200 submissions across 17 categories – a record number – and were judged by a panel of 55 global experts.

The award recognises the program’s commitment and innovative approach to fostering an understanding of and commitment to healthy and respectful relationships among all ANU students.

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Healthy relationships education helps protect student safety

ANU Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Grady Venville said the award highlighted the University’s ongoing work and “significant progress” in fostering healthy relationships across the campus community, as well as broader society.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and there is no place in our society for sexual violence,” Professor Venville said. “At ANU we have been working hard to stop this unacceptable behaviour.

“Consent education is a cornerstone of that work – it is through education that we know we can change attitudes, change behaviours and change our society for the better.”

Read more: Teaching consent – real voices from the consent classroom

Professor Grady said the ANU Rights, Relationships, and Respect program built on the university’s Student Safety and Well-being Plan, launched in 2022.

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“As part of our Student Safety and Well-being Plan, ANU sought to redevelop its primary prevention program through a partnership with OpenLearning Limited,” Professor Grady said.

“Through the leadership of our experts, we developed an online, face-to-face, and peer-led program of activities that engages students to reflect and act on the drivers of violence.

“The program was developed to align with the unique cultural and academic environment of ANU and the progressive legal landscape of the Australian Capital Territory, which stands as a global model for consent legislation.”

Essential training shows commitment to preventing sexual violence

The Rights, Relationships, and Respect at ANU online module is considered essential training for all new ANU students.

The core module introduces students to core concepts related to sexual consent and respectful relationships, as well as important information about ANU and support services.

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In addition to this, all new students and students living in ANU student accommodation are also required to attend face-to-face training sessions as part of the program.

“ANU has been following or creating best practices in this area for some time. We are a leader in the higher education sector and a leader in Australia,” Professor Grady said.

“I am proud of the ANU team who have built and delivered this internationally recognised education program, in collaboration with experts and our students. And I thank the advocates and survivors who have partnered with us on this important work as well as our ongoing efforts to prevent sexual violence in our society more broadly. ANU is committed to providing a safe, respectful and inclusive environment for our community on our physical campuses as well as online.

“We know this program – and our other vital work in this important space – is making a difference for the better.”

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