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Australian Report Sheds Light On Sexual Harassment And Assault On Campus

The survey examined 39 universities across the country

A landmark report released on Tuesday catalogues the alarming rates of sexual assault and harassment on Australian university campuses.

The ‘Change The Course’ survey findings show more than half of university students were sexually harassed at least once in 2016. Twenty one percent of those cases took place at a university setting, the ABC reports.

The survey found 2100 students (6.9 percent) were sexually assaulted on at least one occasion in 2015 or 2016.

The report from the Human Rights Commission surveyed 31,000 Australian students from 39 institutions.

The survey also found women were three times as likely to be sexually assaulted as men. Meanwhile, 37 percent of people who witnessed another student being sexually assaulted did not take action.

RELATED“How universities fail students by turning a blind eye to sexual assault”

Sexual Assault University
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Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said the rate of sexual assault and harassment was “unacceptable”.

“The unavoidable conclusion of the data we have gathered across all 39 Australian universities is that incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment are occurring at unacceptable rates at Australian universities,” she said.

“To put this in context, in a lecture theatre containing 100 students, at least one, and possibly two, students have been sexually assaulted in the past two years.”

Following on from the news, Universities Australia announced ten initiatives to create a safer space at universities, The Conversation reports. 

The initiatives include a 24/7 national interim support line offering specialist support for students, operated by Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia, and new training for university counsellors to support victims and survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Over the weekend, End Rape on Campus Australia encouraged people to post messages of support for survivors of university sexual assault and harassment.  

Under the hashtag #EndRapeOnCampus, women shared their harrowing accounts of being assaulted on campus, or explained how some universities mishandled allegations.

You can see some of the powerful messages on the End Rape On Campus’s page

You can contact the national university support line: 1800 572 224(until November 30, 2017), call 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732 or speak to a Lifeline operator on 131 114.

You can find more information on support services here.

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