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If you need help or to talk to someone, specialist help is available. 

Call the National University Support Line on 1800 572 224. 

Or to find specialist support available at your university, click the button below.

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A FURTHER PROGRAM OF ACTION

As an initial response to the survey report, Universities Australia has developed a further series of major initiatives that will be undertaken and funded as part of our Respect. Now. Always. campaign.

The first of these major commitments is a new interim round-the-clock specialist support line for victims and survivors. This 24/7 support line will operate in addition to the face-to-face counselling services available at universities. It will be available in the months following the release of the survey to assist with an anticipated increase in students needing specialist counselling support at this time. It is operated by the specialist counselling service Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia. The number is 1800 572 224.

The plan, released on August 1, also includes a series of further sector-wide prevention, awareness and support initiatives that Australian universities can draw on to complement the many local initiatives they have underway to prevent and address sexual assault and sexual harassment in student communities.

The full 10-point action plan can be found here:

Download the 10-point action plan (PDF 7.1MB)


The Fullstop Foundation has produced these guidelines for journalists, survivors and student representatives on how reporting can affect survivors and ethical reporting practice.  

Background to Respect. Now. Always.

In February 2016, Australia's universities launched a groundbreaking initiative to prevent and address sexual assault and harassment across the sector.

Respect. Now. Always. highlights the determination of Australia’s universities to ensure that our universities are places of safety and respect. 

It builds on work done by individual universities in Australia over many years to develop policies, reporting procedures and support services. 

The campaign aims to: 

  • 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 global best practice resources across the sector​​

Hear from former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and other university leaders about Respect. Now. Always.:


National university student survey

In late 2016, tens of thousands of Australian university students were asked to participate in Australia’s first-ever national prevalence survey on university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment. 

The survey results will give Australian universities a clearer evidence base to guide further work to prevent and address sexual assault and sexual harassment. It is a critical part of the university sector’s Respect. Now. Always. campaign that aims to  keep university students safe.

The leaders of all 39 Australian universities asked the Australian Human Rights Commission to investigate the nature and scale of these behaviours. The survey is supported by the National Union of Students and the National Tertiary Education Union. 

All survey responses are confidential and the privacy of everyone invited to take part is protected. No university will ever know whether a student has participated in the survey or what they say. 

The survey findings will be published by the Commission in a national report to be released on 1 August 2017.

#RespectNowAlways

   

 

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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 additional support for students in the immediate period following the release of the national report?

Yes. Universities Australia has established an interim national support line (1800 572 224) 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.

This will be in addition to existing university support services, which will continue to operate.

Will the support line be disability friendly and cater to students from non-English speaking backgrounds?

Yes, the support line has 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.

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