Featured News JCU and 3rd Brigade combat sexual abuse and suicide

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Thu, 26 Oct 2017

JCU and 3rd Brigade combat sexual abuse and suicide

Prof. Sandra Harding and Brigadier Chris Field
JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding and Commander of 3rd Brigade, Brigadier Chris Field AM, CSC.

James Cook University and Townsville’s 3rd Brigade are joining forces to combat sexual assault, sexual harassment and suicide in their communities.

The two organisations will also work together more closely to support regional development, including through education and research projects.

JCU and 3rd Brigade have developed a Memorandum of Understanding, acknowledging their roles as significant employers making a vital contribution to, and impact on, the regional economy.

Between them, the two organisations make up a significant proportion of Townsville’s population. JCU has over 16,500 staff and students based in Townsville, while 3rd Brigade has more than 17,000 serving members and families.

The health and wellbeing of these communities has a significant social impact on the broader Townsville region, particularly given the proportion of young adults (18-24 years old) within the two organisations who are at a higher risk of assault, mental health issues including suicide, binge drinking and substance abuse.

Under the memorandum, JCU and 3rd Brigade will work together and with the broader Townsville community to ensure:

A safer community – by working as advocates and partners in:

  • promoting gender equity;
  • abolishing sexual harassment and assault within our organisations;
  • prevention of violence against women (focusing on family and domestic violence) within our communities; and
  • promoting bystander education and support.

Promoting individual health and wellbeing – through:

  • supporting Defence member transition to civilian life through education and employment opportunities at JCU;
  • collaborating on initiatives aimed at suicide prevention and awareness including active participation in the Townsville Community Suicide Action Plan 2017 – 2020; and
  • collaborating on Mental Health initiatives (particularly in the 18-24 age range).

Supporting Regional Development – leveraging current and potential partnerships through:

  • education and research projects that may assist 3rd Brigade particularly around working in the tropics (such as medical countermeasures, heat resilience);
  • navigating industry and other organisations where local solutions/research have broader community and Defence application; and
  • exploring additional course articulations and/or local short courses which might be made available or co-created to support the needs of the Australian Defence Force.

Being good neighbours – by committing to:

  • timely and responsive communications where activities of one party may affect the other (such as controlled burns);
  • timely and responsive communications on issues of security where threats may transfer across boundaries to the other party; and
  • reasonable and appropriate infrastructure or other development of our connected places.

Increasing broader community safety and resilience may also be achieved through the close collaborations being established between the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment and JCU’s Cyclone Testing Station, and leveraging JCU’s research around disaster management and public health more broadly.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at a ceremony at JCU’s Douglas campus earlier today by JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding and Commander of 3rd Brigade, Brigadier Chris Field AM, CSC.

Prof. Harding said the agreement further deepens JCU’s already strong partnership with Defence.

“As neighbours and partners, JCU and the Australian Army have a long history of cooperation, and this agreement will help us work together more closely to target issues in our communities such as sexual assault, sexual harassment and suicide.

“We are gripped by our importance to the Townsville community, as major employers and as a key node of economic activity for our city. What we do matters and helps set the tone for the city.

“We also look to further boost regional development, through our individual and shared existing and potential partnerships, and this could involve among other things research projects and new education opportunities for 3rd Brigade and greater exposure for the JCU community to the important work undertaken by 3rd Brigade,” Prof. Harding said.

Brigadier Chris Field said the 3rd Brigade is honoured to sign the MOU with James Cook University.

“As significant employers in Townsville and North Queensland, we value our community partnerships.

“We believe that the behaviour of our people demonstrates the values of our organisations. Based on our organisational values, this MOU guides our combined relationship with JCU.

“As noted by the then Prime Minister Harold Holt in 1966 when he laid a foundation stone at University Hall at JCU and opened Lavarack Barracks: 'some people say that the pen is mightier than the sword - Townsville now has both',” Brigadier Field said.


For more information please contact:

Richard Davis

Head of Media and Communications, JCU

0413 451 475