Universities ordered to act on sexual assault on campus

Australian universities have been told to improve the way they deal with sexual assault on campuses after a damning report found only 4% of students believed their university was doing enough to provide support for victims, writes Michael McGowan for The Guardian.

Earlier this month Universities Australia released a set of 12 guidelines aimed at helping universities respond to sexual assault and harassment on campus. They include recommendations to “engage” with independently run residential colleges, improve staff training and create single points of contact to report incidents of sexual assault. The guidelines are a response to a Human Rights Commission (HRC) report released in August last year. The landmark report – which was commissioned by Universities Australia – found that one in 10 female university students had been sexually assaulted in the past two years.

The HRC report – which surveyed students at 39 Australian universities – found 51% of students were sexually harassed in 2016, and 6.9% of students had been sexually assaulted in either 2015 or 2016. Universities Australia Chief Executive, Catriona Jackson, said she believed vice chancellors were “absolutely determined” to address the issue of sexual assault on campus. “Anyone who read the Human Rights Commission report would have been shocked and made to feel sick,” she said.
Full report on The Guardian site