Few Speak Up On Sex Assaults, Harassment at Aussie Campuses - Higher Education
Higher Education News and Jobs

Few Speak Up On Sex Assaults, Harassment at Aussie Campuses

by Rod McGuirk, Associated Press

CANBERRA, Australia — A survey of more than 30,000 Australian university students released on Tuesday found that half the respondents had been sexually harassed and almost one in 50 had been sexually assaulted on campuses, but few made formal complaints.

The Australian Human Rights Commission, which surveyed students across all 39 universities in 2015-16, concluded that sexual assault and sexual harassment occurred at unacceptable rates at Australian universities.

The survey found 51 percent of respondents were sexually harassed at least once in 2016.

It also found 6.9 percent of respondents reported being sexually assaulted in 2015 or 2016, with 1.6 percent saying the assaults occurred in a university setting.

But only 9 percent of those sexually assaulted and 2 percent of the sexually harassed in the past two years had made formal complaints.

The commission recommended that universities ensure that staff and students representatives likely to hear such disclosures receive training to respond. It also urged universities to pay for surveys every three years to track progress in reducing such harassment and assaults.

The commission also recommended that university residences and residential colleges fund a review of factors that contribute to sexual misbehavior in their settings.

Universities Australia said the 39 universities that the advocacy organization represents shared a commitment to do more to ensure every student was safe and could study in an environment where respect was paramount.

“We send a strong and clear message today that these behaviors are not acceptable. Not on our campuses and not in Australian society,” chair Margaret Gardner said.

The National Union of Students accused universities of allowing rape cultures to develop on campuses around the country.

“Universities can no longer bury their heads in the sand and ignore sexual assault and harassment,” the union women’s officer Abby Stapleton said.

The union wants universities to establish a national complaints and compliance mechanism and maintain comprehensive records of assault and harassment reports.

RELATED ARTICLES >>
A Transformative Model for Diversity in Higher Education Affirmative action. Karen Berman The mere mention of those words in the college admissions process evokes heated debates that often overshadow the true value of diversity that policies are meant to achieve. Diversity is more than a social virt...
Diversity Officers Grapple with Efforts to Professionalize Role Concerns about the legitimacy of the institutional chief diversity officer (CDO) have frequently prompted conversations about the need to professionalize the role. As recently as this year, organizations like the National Association of Diversity Off...
Doubts About Diversity I am skeptical that any of us embraces “diversity” as much as we might believe. We claim to be multicultural, but our conception has limits. These lines become apparent in any dispute involving vaguely liberal norms on the one hand, and a truly di...
Federally Funded Programs Are Not Enough to Diversify the STEM Workforce The Government Accountability Office (GOA) reported that of the 13 federal agencies surveyed that administer science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education programs, there were 163 STEM programs funded in fiscal year 2016 that wer...
Semantic Tags: