Frequently asked questions
2021 student survey of sexual assault and sexual harassment
What is the Social Research Centre?
The Social Research Centre is Australia’s leading social research organisation and has a respected track record conducting large-scale surveys, including the National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey and the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching surveys for the Australian Government. The SRC has considerable expertise in high-quality survey design, administration, data analysis and reporting — as well as experience in surveys on sexual assault and harassment, community attitudes to violence against women, psychological well-being and mental health.
Who is Dr Anastasia Powell?
Dr Powell is Associate Professor in Criminology at RMIT, specialising in sexual violence policy and prevention. She has published widely in these fields and has contributed to policy-specific research for the Commonwealth and Victorian State Governments, as well as projects commissioned by leading agencies such as ANROWS, Our Watch and VicHealth. Most recently, Dr Powell’s research has focused on technology-facilitated forms of sexual violence and harassment, legal and policy reform, sexual violence prevention and community attitudes to violence against women.
What is the student survey?
Like the 2016 survey, it will collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The survey is funded by the university sector’s
world-leading Respect. Now. Always. initiative — a sector-wide program that aims to prevent sexual violence in university communities and better support those who have been affected.
Why is a pilot being conducted before the national survey?
Conducting a pilot to inform the full survey is international best practice in survey design.
Will there be ethics approval?
Yes — the Social Research Centre and Dr Powell will obtain ethics approval for both the pilot and the national survey instrument.
Will students and survivors have input in the survey process?
Yes — the Social Research Centre and Dr Powell will engage students, survivors, experts and key organisations as the work progresses.
What kind of support will be in place while the survey runs?
Key support numbers will be provided to all survey participants while they do the survey. Students will be able to stop and re-start the survey at any time if they need to take a break. All universities have counselling services available on campus for students. In July 2019, Universities Australia funded Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia to provide first responder training at an annual meeting of student women’s officers. Universities Australia will offer to fund this training for student women’s officers again in 2021.
How will the impact on students and suRvivors be taken into account?
The wellbeing of students and survivors will be top of mind throughout the process as the survey work is piloted and conducted by the Social Research Centre and Dr Powell.
Will anyone be able to identify survey participants?
No – the survey results will be confidential, de-identified and aggregated.
WHY HAS THE SURVEY BEEN DELAYED?
The survey was originally scheduled to take place in 2020. After careful consideration of the impact of COVID-19 on students and survivors, Universities Australia has decided to postpone the pilot and the full national survey to 2021.