Calls for student sexual assault taskforce

Leading anti-sexual violence advocacy groups are calling for the federal government to establish an independent taskforce to monitor Australian universities’ and residences’ responses to sexual violence and how they are attempting to tackle the issue, writes Remy Varga for The Australian.

Fair Agenda, End Rape on Campus Australia, the National Union of Students and the Hunting Ground Australia Project want an expert-led watchdog to track, assess and publicly report on how incidences of sexual assault are handled. This includes requiring universities, residences and colleges to report on measures in place to protect students and how perpetrators were disciplined. The taskforce would regularly liaise with student bodies.

End Rape on Campus Australia Director Sharna Bremner says universities have an inconsistent approach to dealing with sexual assault and institutions often fail to take responsibility for mishandling incidents. “The mechanisms for students getting the help they need; or holding universities to account for failures on this issue are ad hoc at best,” she said. “What’s more – there aren’t any easily identifiable consequences for universities and residences which fail to actually make improvements on this issue.”
Full report on The Australian site