ACRATH goes to uni

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ACRATH has embarked on an education program across Australian universities to equip students and staff with the skills to identify human trafficking and ways to respond to reports or concerns.

Educating for Change has already begun in collaboration with the University of South Australia and Flinders University and aims to reach 21 universities. It’s an ambitious program spearheaded by ACRATH’s Melissa Halliday with support from an advisory group made up of educators and policy makers, including St Vincent’s Health Australia, Australian Federal Police and the NSW Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Some universities, participating in the advisory group, are hoping to integrate the program into their institution as a pilot in 2024.

The program, funded by the Federal Government for two years, is made up of six 30-minute micro-credentialled modules, each targeting a different group, including a module for:

  • Staff and students introducing them to basic information to raise their awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking.
  • University staff, including counsellors, student services and international student bodies to help them recognise and respond to risks within the student population.
  • Pre-service education, healthcare, law and social work students who will be moving into critical professions to help them identify the signs and indicators of modern slavery.

The online modules can be integrated into the course at a point determined by the lecturer.

Dr Nerida Chazal, an Online Course Facilitator for the Bachelor of Criminal Justice and the Bachelor of Psychological Science and Sociology at the University of South Australia is currently trialling integrating the modules into the criminology course. Dr Chazal has done extensive research examining human trafficking, modern slavery and gender violence.

“We will be very interested in the outcome of this trial. This is what is happening at the University of South Australia, but another university could choose to roll it out during Orientation Week, for example. Ideally each target group will see the introductory module and then the specialised module,” Melissa said.

Melissa was joined by Flinders University A/Prof Marinella Marmo and ACRATH NEO Christine Carolan, to present the project to the recent ACRATH Members Gathering. The three spoke about the Educating for Change initiative and encouraged people to help ACRATH develop links with universities. At the end of the presentation three members of ACRATH in WA spoke of their links with universities in WA.

“We know that international students are particularly vulnerable to being exploited so we are making connections with those student and community bodies, but we would like help from people who have connections in universities,” Melissa said.

“These modules are not all that people need to know to identify human trafficking, but it is teaching something that may mean a student, who enters a teaching or health profession in a few years, knows how to respond if they are concerned a person might be facing a forced marriage or being trafficked. They will know a pathway for support.”

If you would like more information or would like to get involved, please contact Melissa Halliday 

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