Universities reaffirm commitment to ending sexual violence

Australia’s universities have reaffirmed their long-term commitment to prevent sexual assault and harassment, and welcomed today’s contribution from the sector’s regulator to eradicate sexual violence.

A “Good Practice Note: Preventing and responding to sexual assault and sexual harassment in the Australian higher education sector‘ was released by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said: “Since the COVID-19 pandemic, reports of sexual violence have increased substantially across the community. We welcome all those who step up to play their part to eradicate sexual assault and harassment.”

“Universities Australia, which began the Respect. Now. Always. initiative in 2016, welcomes all those who want to see an end to sexual assault and sexual harassment. The regulator’s new resource contributes to the sector’s work towards safer campuses.”

“This resource from TEQSA contains many significant and continuing examples of university good practice that are part of Respect. Now. Always.”

“In particular, we are pleased that TEQSA also puts the wellbeing of those who disclose or report incidents front and centre. This is consistent with Universities Australia’s 2018 guidelines for universities.”

Ms Jackson said the sector will continue to work hard to eradicate sexual assault and sexual harassment wherever it occurs.

“One incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment is one too many.”

“We will carry out the next national survey in 2021 to collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences, and help inform the next steps in university actions.”

Universities Australia is partnering with Our Watch and the Victorian Government to develop sector-wide resources to prevent violence against women. These resources will be released in early 2021.

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