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Violence against overseas students – Report suggests racial motivation, offers solutions

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 28 Aug 2012

"While the report's findings suggest a worrying trend of racially motivated abuse of international students, the recommendations for community leadership and improved support and reporting offer real solutions," Senator Rhiannon said.

The investigation was based on an online multilingual module for international students at Newcastle Uni to report anonymously incidents of physical and verbal abuse from August 2011 to August 2012.

"Violence is devastating for students and their families and should be unacceptable in university towns.

"The report suggests a pattern at Newcastle Uni of targeting students from Asia and the Middle East.  Over one year, Asian students reported 82 percent of the incidents of physical and verbal abuse.

"It is also clear that a large number of international students at Newcastle Uni did not know how to report incidents or where to go for help.  In 56 percent of reported incidents, the victim did not know they could contact the police.

"The report recommends a collaborative approach between the university, the police and local community leaders to end targeted violence and improve support and reporting mechanisms.

"The response must go beyond a law and order mantra.

"International student numbers have plummeted in the last two years due to the high dollar, difficulty in obtaining visas and reports of violence targeting international students.

"This drop has see revenue from education exports drop more than $3 billion from $17.2 billion in 2010 to $13.9 billion in 2011, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

"Too little is known about the extent and the victims of violence against international students. I congratulate NUSA for undertaking this investigation", said Senator Rhiannon.

The NUSA investigation 'Report an Incident' is here:


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