Frequently asked questions
What is the timeline for this survey and how does it fit into the Respect. Now. Always. initiative?
February 2016: all 39 university Vice-Chancellors launched a new initiative to address sexual assault and sexual harassment and build on work by individual universities in this area.
The Respect. Now. Always. initiative has three clear aims:
- raise awareness of sexual assault and sexual harassment and lift the visibility of support services for students;
- obtain data to guide further improvement in university policies and services; and
- assist universities in sharing best practice resources across the sector.
As part of this initiative, the university sector asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct a national prevalence survey of university students.
September 2016 to November 2016: students across the 39 universities were asked to participate in the survey, with the survey running at different times at each institution during this period.
31 July 2017: A national interim support line is made available for university students who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment.
1 August 2017: The Australian Human Rights Commission will release the national report with the survey results and recommendations on areas for university action.
Was there ethics approval for the survey?
This project had two parts: the first was a national prevalence survey to provide quantitative data on the nature and scale of sexual assault and harassment. The second was an open submissions page on the Australian Human Rights Commission’s website that enabled anyone to share their experiences. This process was run by the Commission.
The national prevalence survey received ethics approval from the University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee in August 2016.
The Commission has stated that for the open submissions page: “Ethics approval is required in relation to research. The information provided in submissions is not research in the sense of a survey, but rather provides an opportunity for all members of the public to share their views.”
Will there be university-level data?
Each university will be provided with an institutional report by the Australian Human Rights Commission. All of Australia’s 39 universities have confirmed they will publicly release their institutional data from the sector’s prevalence survey.
Will the Commission’s national report contain recommendations?
In the national report, the Commission will be making recommendations on areas for action for universities.
When will the results of the survey be released?
The Commission will publicly release the national report on 1 August 2017. See further information about the release date here.
Will there be additional support for students in the immediate period following the release of the national report?
Yes. Universities Australia will establish a interim national support line for student victims and survivors in the months immediately following the August 1 release of the national survey data. This support line will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will be run by specialist trauma counselling service Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia from 31 July to 30 November.
What is the national support line number?
Universities Australia will announce the number as soon as possible. The number will then be communicated through our member universities and via key stakeholder groups to students.
Will the support line be disability friendly and cater to students from non-English speaking backgrounds?
Yes, the support line will have TTY capability, enabling those who are hearing or speech-impaired to talk with specialist counselors.
The service will also have capacity to service students whose first language is not English through the Telephone Interpreter Service.
If you need help, or to talk with someone, specialist support is available at your university.