One in five students sexually harassed at Australian universities

Copies of a ten point action plan response to the national student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment

Copies of a ten point action plan response to the national student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment

Australian universities could potentially gain nearly one working week (4.8 days) per month, or 57 days every year, with the developments in processing and reconciling payments from global students, according to new research* released from Western Union.

"We found that college settings are a particular area of concern, particularly for women who were four times as likely as men to have been sexually assaulted in this setting".

Advocates, students and many are calling on Australian universities to lift their game on the issue.

You can find more information on support services here.

Another point of contention has been the university sexual assault hotline launched last week; Universities Australia claimed ownership of the initiative, despite EROC, and journalist and survivor, Nina Funnel, having lobbied for a hotline for months.

"Students will not accept a race to the bottom". There are no celebrations or congratulations to be had.

It includes developing a respectful relationships education program tailored for university students, and providing specialist training to staff about how to respond effectively and compassionately when someone tells them about an incident.

"There is nothing to revel in in having a few less sexual assaults than the university next door", Johnson said.

"The unavoidable conclusion of the that incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment are occurring at unacceptable rates at Australian universities", said Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.

"For global students, while it did identify that it was a slightly lower rate [of sexual assault and harassment], it's still concerning that it happens", Jenkins said.

Ms Jenkins said many students became anxious on campus because they were afraid of seeing their perpetrator.

Student representatives said universities could have acted earlier to combat sexual harassment and violence.

National Union of Students president Sophie Johnston described the findings as heartbreaking.

The results from a ground-breaking national survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities will be streamed live via this page.

The Council of International Students Australia expressed disappointment that international students were given only a "cursory glance" within the report and called on universities to improve the gaps within their services for international students.

It is clear from the survey that women experience sexual assault and sexual harassment at disproportionately higher rates than men: they were nearly twice as likely to be harassed in 2016 and more than three times as likely to be sexually assaulted in 2015 or 2016.

Both ISANA and CISA praised the report's recommendation to provide information that is accessible for global students as well as others from diverse backgrounds.

Overwhelmingly men were the perpetrators of both sexual assault and sexual harassment in the survey, which found 51 percent of all respondents had experienced sexual harassment on at least one occasion in 2016.

Flinders University pledged to adopt the recommendations from the peak body, Universities Australia, on best practice in the field.

"The University has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault and we are determined to dramatically reduce its incidence and support those affected".

"Every member of our community has a right to expect they will be safe in their place of study, their place of work, or - as this campus is for many - their home", Professor Schmidt said.

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