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.
Hear from former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and other university leaders about Respect. Now. Always.:
As part of the initiative, in 2016 Universities Australia asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to undertake a national survey of university students. The results of this survey were released on 1 August 2017. You can find the report here. On the same day, all 39 universities publicly released their institutional reports.
As an initial response to the survey results, Universities Australia released its 10-point action plan. This Plan outlines the sector’s program of work over the coming years to address sexual violence. It includes:
- the development of training resources;
- specialist professional development for counsellors;
- guidelines for universities to respond to reports of sexual assault;
- principles to guide supervisor-postgraduate interactions;
- providing awareness raising materials to residential colleges; and
- respectful relationships education.
The 2021 survey
Universities have commissioned and funded the next student survey of sexual assault and sexual harassment to run in 2021.
Like the 2016 survey, it will collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.