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University students get more funding and staff to fight sexual violence

Press Release – NZ Union of Students’ Associations
After nearly two years of working closely together, the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed an historic partnership agreement to combat sexual violence for those in tertiary education.

The agreement, which spans three years and more than doubles NZUSA’s financial and staffing capacity, follows the relaunch of the Thursdays in Black campaign, where individuals wear black on Thursday to stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual violence.

‘This is an historic milestone for students. It empowers the student movement to undertake a comprehensive work programme to stamp out rape culture and sexual violence in our communities. It shows we can be true to our principles and beliefs and work constructively with a government of whatever shape on issues we both see as a priority’, says NZUSA National President Jonathan Gee.

‘ACC is delighted to be working with NZUSA to rid our communities of sexual violence. This partnership means that we can work together to provide more support to young people and make a real difference,’ Mike McCarthy, ACC’s Violence Injury Prevention Manager said.

Along with an agreed plan of education and training activities, part of the work programme with ACC includes the launch of the In Our Own Words report, which details the findings of a comprehensive survey undertaken last year around tertiary students’ experiences of sexual violence and secondary school sexuality education. The report will also include recommendations for both the secondary and tertiary education sector.

Thursdays in Black National Coordinator Izzy O’Neill says In Our Own Words has been an important and collaborative community project.

‘The report gives us a real insight into the ways that sexual violence appears in the lives of our diverse student population. We’ve been working on this with students, minority gender, sex and sexuality organisations, student disability representative groups and specialist support agencies,’ O’Neill says.

‘This partnership means that we can develop solutions towards ending sexual violence that genuinely meets the specific needs of our students’ says Gee.

The report launch takes place on Thursday 24 August at Victoria University of Wellington and will be attended by student groups, community groups, and other tertiary leaders.

http://www.students.org.nz/

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