Human rights and international law expert Professor Hilary Charlesworth, says that Australia's appointment to the UN Human Rights Council gives the country an opportunity to examine its own human rights record.
The app – Unisafe – has been designed as part of the Safer Community Program, within the Wellbeing area of the University’s Student Services. The app allows staff and students to access resources in and around the campus and provides an instant link to assistance and support.
Safer Community Manager, Sally Coates, said UniSafe was part of the university’s commitment to providing students and staff with the best possible experience on campus.
“Our students are fortunate to study at one of the safest and most beautiful campuses in the world and they play an active role in maintaining this environment,” she said.
The app links to a wide range of university services including counselling, disability assistance, human resources, security, and occupational health and safety information. Students can also access the websites of international student support, health services, chaplains, the Student Union, the Graduate Students Association, and information on discrimination, harassment and bullying.
“Unisafe means anyone with a smartphone can locate a range of university services,” Ms Coates said.
“One of the handiest tools is the flashlight for walking though the campus at night. Though Parkville is well-lit, at the touch of a button students can find their way around in the evening,” Ms Coates said.
Another feature of the app is the ability to book a chaperone to escort people to nearby transport.
“Our students work hard and study late. We want them to feel that the campus is their home and that there is always someone to call if they need help. It is exciting to be at the forefront of developing more supportive learning and working,” she said.
“The Safer Community Program and the UniSafe app have received positive feedback from the broader community including Crimestoppers Victoria and the Women’s Domestic Violence Crisis Service,” she said.
UniSafe is the first app of its kind in Australia and it will be used as a prototype to develop similar apps for other Australian universities.
The launch of the app coincides with recent initiatives implemented by the Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne to improve the city’s safety. “We wanted to get on board with these programs to be proactive in promoting safety on campus,” Ms Coates said.