7 June 2019
A new unit at the University of the Sunshine Coast that is bringing together global research to help prevent sexual violence will be officially launched on Monday 10 June.
The Sexual Violence Research and Prevention Unit, established in 2018, has become a national and global source of expertise on how to understand, prevent, and respond to sexual violence and abuse.
Guest speaker will be former Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson, who was also one of six Commissioners for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Leading the USC team are psychologists Dr Nadine McKillop and Dr Susan Rayment-McHugh, and Dr Larissa Christensen, all lecturers in Criminology and Justice.
Dr Rayment-McHugh said recent high-profile cases such as the sentencing of Cardinal George Pell and his appeal, accusations against Michael Jackson and the Royal Commission have kept the issue at the forefront of discussions for the public, practitioners and policy-makers.
“Our unit brings together researchers, practitioners and policy professionals to understand, prevent and respond to sexual violence and abuse at a local, national and international level,” she said.
Dr Christensen said the unit’s focus was strongly on using research to drive change.
“By partnering with industry stakeholders, we can ensure the unit’s research is relevant to the current policy and practice challenges. In this way, research can inform innovations in our responses to sexual violence and abuse,” she said.
Dr McKillop said the unit was also working to build and develop collaborations – including with police, corrective services, and the Australian Institute of Criminology – and to encourage evidence-led research to better inform both policy and practice.
The three researchers welcome others with relevant expertise to join their team. Professor of Interactive Digital Media Professor Christian Jones from USC’s Engage Lab is involved as a research mentor.