A SPECIALIST agency is hopeful a new, Bendigo-based research position will help fill a gap in knowledge about the prevention of sexual violence.
Loddon Campaspe Centre Against Sexual Assault and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University have co-funded a 3.5-year industry doctoral research scholarship.
The role is intended to focus on building knowledge and informing best practice in sexual assault prevention, education, advocacy and counselling across central Victoria.
LCCASA chief executive Kate Wright said there was a gap in research around the rural and regional experience.
The partnering organisations believe the research will help determine effective community, individual and system prevention initiatives and service delivery responses to sexual assault in a rural and regional setting.
The successful candidate would be based at LCCASA's Bendigo office for up to 12 months as part of the role.
They would spend most of the project at La Trobe's Bendigo campus.
LCCASA chair Sonya Oper said the organisation had seen the need for a prevention focus first-hand.
"We know by the number of people that contact us for direct service and for information and advice that we need to invest in prevention research and interventions that stop sexual assault and violence occurring in the first place," Ms Oper said.
The partnering organisations are hopeful the research findings will be applicable to rural and regional settings beyond central Victoria.
One in six women and one in nine men in Australia have experienced sexual and/or physical abuse before the age of 15.
Young women between the ages of 15 - 19 are the highest risk group for sexual assault.
ARCSHS head Suzanne Fraser said it was known that rural and regional communities suffered more than their share of sexual assault, abuse and violence.
"This research program will help to address that," Ms Fraser said.
A passion for gender equality and addressing the systemic drivers of sexual violence in rural and regional Victoria were must-have qualities in a successful candidate.
Ms Wright said the organisations envisaged candidates could come from a number of disciplines, including public health and sociology.
The partnering organisations are aiming to had made an offer of candidature ahead of the new academic year.
Scholarship applications close on November 15.
Further program information is available online at latrobe.edu.au/scholarships
For support or advice about sexual assault, contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or the Sexual Assault Crisis Line on 1800 806 292.
For help from LCCASA, contact 5441 0430.
In an emergency call 000.
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