Melbourne-based foreign students say when safety is threatened, a racial element is involved

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Melbourne, Feb.16 (ANI): A survey of foreign students in Melbourne has found that when their safety is threatened, more than 50 percent believe there is a racial, religious or cultural element attached to that threat, the Herald Sun reports.

However, the paper found that 82 per cent of the students still found Melbourne safe overall.

The Victorian University, following the increasing incidence of violence against international students, conducted the study between June and November last year and included an online survey of 1013 students, 515 of whom were international.

The study also included interviews with key stakeholders, such as Victoria Police.

Of the 515 international students, 403 reported perceived threats to their safety, and 50 per cent of those felt the threats were motivated by racial, religious or cultural factors.

The report found a complex range of factors contributed to the safety threats, including lack of access to safe affordable houses, high-risk employment and poor transport options.

It also found offenders were often identified as groups of young alienated men.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including setting up an information hotline, better access to safer transport and better information for new international students.

Victorian Premier John Brumby said he had not seen this latest survey but two similar studies, released earlier this week, had been "overwhelmingly positive".

"Again I would say that the educational experience that students from overseas can get here in Australia is amongst the best anywhere in the world," Brumby said.

He said the opening of an international student support centre two weeks ago was a measure of the Government's commitment to assist foreign students. (ANI)

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