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Aus: student muggings prompt safety review

A series of violent robberies in eastern Melbourne has prompted the Australian education minister Dan Tehan to include physical wellbeing into an ongoing review of international student mental health protections after it was revealed overseas students were among the victims.

Protects for international students physical safety will be considered. Photo: Inbal Marilli/UnsplashProtects for international students physical safety will be considered. Photo: Inbal Marilli/Unsplash

Any attacks that involve international students has the potential to damage Australia’s reputation

The muggings, which took place throughout April and May, appear to be opportunistic according to police, who confirmed seven people had been arrested in relation to the matter.

“Students seeing action has been taken to assist after such an incident is essential”

“International students are welcome in Australia and all students should be safe on campus and in the wider community,” Tehan said.

“Our Government wants to ensure all students who come to Australia are living in a safe, supportive environment.”

Tehan added industry consultation between the Department of Education and Training and the international education sector looking into strategies to address mental health issues would not be expanded to include physical safety.

“Violence against international students is a high priority for all levels of government and law enforcement,” he said.

Bronwyn Gilson, president of student advocacy group ISANA, said any attacks that involved international students had the potential to damage Australia’s reputation as a safe place to study.

“However, it is the immediate response and action from the police and institutions to assist and follow-up with those involved that will have a lasting effect,” she told The PIE News.

“Students seeing action has been taken to assist after such an incident is essential.”

She added international student should be included in any consultations to understand why and how they become vulnerable to attacks, as well as a review of how students are processing safety information.

“The question really should be what else can Services, Institutions and support staff do to ensure international students are aware of the situations in which they can be seen as vulnerable,” she said.

“It will be as a community that safety issues are addressed and will, therefore, result in safety for all community members being improved.”

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