A national Student Safety Survey has commenced across all Australian universities to help prevent sexual violence and support those who have experienced it in their communities.
The survey will collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
The findings from the research will build on the first foundational survey conducted in 2016 as part of the world-leading Respect. Now. Always. Initiative.
Since the release of the 2016 survey, universities have implemented 800 major actions to prevent and respond to sexual violence in their institutions, including first responder training for student leaders and consent and bystander training for staff and students.
The survey is being conducted on behalf of Universities Australia by the Social Research Centre (SRC) in partnership with leading violence prevention expert Dr Anastasia Powell of RMIT University.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said any incident of sexual violence that occurs inside or outside of our university communities is one too many.
“Universities acknowledge the lived experience of victims and survivors of sexual violence, some of whom may be participating in this survey. We wholeheartedly thank students for sharing their experiences and pay tribute to the courage it takes to do so.”
“Sexual violence is a society-wide issue. Many in our community are at greater risk, including young women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, women with disabilities and people in the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Our universities recognise their responsibility and are determined to build on their commitment to prevent sexual violence and support those who have experienced it.”
Speaking about the survey, Ms Jackson said it was important to stress that all survey responses, including responses that recount or detail any sexual harassment or assault a student may have experienced or witnessed, were confidential.
“Student and survivor safety and wellbeing is at the centre of the entire survey process, and those who participate will be able to stop and restart at any point should they wish to step away and take a break.”
Free and confidential support services are available for people who would like to seek assistance, including at universities. These support services include:
- 1800RESPECT: National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence counselling 1800respect.org.au or 1800 737 732
- MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78, or mensline.org.au
- QLife, referral service for LGBTQ people: call 1800 184 527 or qlife.org.au
- Australia wide university support and safety services (listed through Universities Australia)
- Beyond Blue: beyondblue.org.au or 1300 22 4636
- Lifeline: lifeline.org.au or 13 11 14
The survey closes on 3 October, and the national report will be released in early 2022.