NSW Police have launched two new social media sites to help international students, after a number of high-profile cases in which young foreigners were bashed.
Higher and tertiary education is one of Australia's largest export industries, but the sector's reputation has been damaged by incidents of overseas students being attacked, robbed or abused.
In April last year, a gang of six teenagers assaulted, robbed and racially abused two Chinese students on a train in Sydney's south.
The victims then wrote a graphic description of the attack on the Chinese social media site, Weibo.
One of the victims' accounts was shared 10,000 times - prompting thousands of students to express their disgust and the Chinese embassy issued a warning for citizens travelling in Australia.
There have been other cases, including a number of Indians being bashed in Victoria during 2011.
Mindful of the damage such incidents cause, NSW Police launched Facebook and Weibo sites on Wednesday, aimed at reassuring overseas students and helping them avoid falling victim to crime.
Weibo is China's largest social media site, while there are an estimated 500,000 users in Australia.
Police forces across Australia are being urged to set up similar websites to help boost the nation's reputation.
"That's what we're trying to encourage, because if there's an incident in Western Australia it affects us here in NSW - in how we're perceived internationally," University of Wollongong Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Joe Chicharo told AAP.
He said the vast majority of international students had safe and happy experiences in Australia.
"But there is a small number that have unfortunate incidents - it happens in any community," he added.
"What we're trying to do here, is employ a proactive approach to reduce those rare events to a smaller number."
More than 190,000 foreigners studied in NSW during 2012, including many from Asia.
Acting NSW Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas said part-time jobs and late-night travel could put some young foreigners at risk.
Others may be unfamiliar with local industrial laws or use share accommodation, potentially leaving them vulnerable to scams.
The new Facebook and Weibo pages will give students information about ways to avoid falling victim to crime, Mr Kaldas said.
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