Attributable to Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson:
The Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee’s report is another important step in the ongoing work to address the societal issue of sexual harm, and we welcome it.
Our members have an unwavering commitment to combat this scourge.
Sexual harm is prevalent everywhere – from university campuses to workplaces, pubs, clubs, homes and on public transport.
We all have a responsibility to address it, and universities don’t shy away from this.
As a sector, we have undertaken a significant amount of work to address and prevent sexual harm on campuses, including launching the world-first, sector-wide Respect.Now.Always. initiative.
Australian universities took a leadership position by conducting the first student safety survey across the whole sector.
We are proud of our efforts to date, but we recognise there is much more we can do collectively.
Our members are committed to continuing to run tailored and individual campus-based activities, building on the hundreds of initiatives already implemented to continue tackling this issue head on.
Universities Australia, on behalf of the sector, will also advance an appropriately redesigned survey next year. This will build on the two previous surveys conducted in 2016 and 2021.
We are already working closely with Ms Patty Kinnersly in her capacity as expert adviser to the working group advising government on ways to strengthen university governance.
As a sector, we are continuing to confront this very serious issue and that is what we will continue to do because that is what our students and staff deserve.