University Fails to Support Victims of Sexual Assault

1 August 2017

The University of Melbourne is sitting below the national average with regard to having accessible and clearly publicised support services for victims of sexual assault, data from the nationwide survey on campus sexual assault has revealed.

According to the Changing the Course report, released by the Australian Human Rights Commission this morning, 68.3 per cent of participants said they knew little or nothing about where to seek support or assistance regarding sexual assault or harassment. Across Universities, this was lower – 56.9 per cent of participants said they knew little or nothing on where to seek help on campus.

Only three per cent of students who were sexually harassed at the University indicated they sought support and assistance from the university. 

An overwhelming majority of respondents indicated they had little or no knowledge of the University of Melbourne policy on sexual harassment and assault.

In all other areas, the University sits in line with the national average, which reflected an “alarming” incidence of on campus sexual assault and harassment. In 2016, twenty per cent of respondents were sexually harassed on campus.

Vice Chancellor Glyn Davis said that the University will be taking on the recommendations in the Changing the Course report.

“Such harassment and assault are never the fault – or the responsibility – of the victim. As a community we are committed to learning from these results and making this a safer place for students,” he said.

The University will also be rolling out online training modules to all students in 2018, covering key areas including communication and relationships, bystander intervention and sexual consent.

If you or someone you know requires counselling or support, a national support line is open on 1800 572 224.

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