Date: 
Tuesday 19 December 2017

Report

Woman graduating from uni, cover of Change The Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities (2017)

Read the report: Change The Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities (2017)

Read the university responses to the recommendations: Audit of university responses (2017)

Live video


Watch the release of the report, Tuesday 1 August 2017

About the project

The Australian Human Rights Commission undertook a project on sexual assault and sexual harassment of university students. The purpose of the project is to provide an accurate picture of the nature and extent of sexual assault and sexual harassment at universities, and how universities respond to these incidents.

This project consisted of two main elements:

  • a national university student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment; and
  • an open call for submissions on sexual assault and sexual harassment at university.

The project came after years of advocacy by survivors of sexual assault, student representatives and other organisations to raise public awareness of the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities.

It built on the Commission’s extensive experience leading projects of this kind, including the Review of the treatment of women in the Australian Defence Force and conducting national workplace sexual harassment surveys for the past 12 years.

All 39 universities, through peak body Universities Australia, supported the Australian Human Rights Commission to undertake this project.

National university student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment

Australia’s 39 universities supported the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct an independent survey of university students to gain greater insight into the nature, prevalence and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment. This survey is an important part of the university sector’s Respect. Now. Always. campaign to prevent and address sexual assault and sexual harassment.

This survey is the first of its kind and will provide clear data and evidence on the prevalence, nature and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities. It will also examine the effectiveness of services and policies that address sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus and make recommendations for areas of action and reform.

The survey was conducted in the second half of 2016 on behalf of the Commission by Roy Morgan and was delivered online to students at all 39 Australian universities. The Commission worked closely with student unions and universities to implement and publicise the survey.

In addition to the national report, the Commission provided universities with information about the rates of sexual assault and sexual harassment at their individual institutions.

All 39 universities committed to release this data publicly on the same day that the national report was released.

Submissions on sexual assault and sexual harassment at university

In addition to this survey, the Commission provided the opportunity for members of the public to make submissions.

To find out more about the submission process, please click here.

Submissions closed on Friday, 2 December 2016. If you have any questions regarding the submissions process, please email universitiesproject@humanrights.gov.au.

If you have experienced sexual harassment, you can make a complaint to the Commission. If you have experienced sexual assault, please see here for a list of sexual assault services throughout Australia or call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).