In February 2016, Universities Australia began the Respect. Now. Always. initiative.
This world-first, sector-wide program aims to prevent sexual violence in university communities and improve how universities respond to and support those who have been affected.
It builds on work done by individual universities in Australia over many years to develop policies, reporting procedures and support services.
As part of the initiative, Universities Australia has:
- commissioned two national surveys of university students on their experiences of violence, with the first survey running in 2016 and the second survey running in 2021;
- developed tailored training resources for university staff;
- released guidelines for universities to respond to reports of sexual assault;
- published principles to guide supervisor-postgraduate interactions;
- provided awareness raising materials to residential colleges; and
- partnered with Our Watch and the Victorian Government on a comprehensive whole-of-university model to prevent gender-based violence.
2021 national student safety survey
Universities have commissioned and funded the national student safety survey to run in September 2021.
Like the foundational 2016 survey, it will collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Before it is deployed nationally, a pilot for the survey will be conducted at two universities – the Australian National University and Charles Sturt University – during March and April 2021.