Next student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment to run in 2020

Australian universities have commissioned and funded the next student survey of sexual assault and sexual harassment as part of their ongoing commitment to prevent unacceptable behaviour.

As work commences on the next survey, we sincerely thank the students and survivors who will complete the survey-and once again pay tribute to the many people across our communities who work tirelessly on these issues.

The survey will be developed this year and then piloted at two universities-the Australian National University and Charles Sturt University-ahead of the full national survey in 2020.

Through the peak body Universities Australia, all 39 universities commissioned the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct the first national prevalence survey in 2016.

Universities Australia Chair Professor Deborah Terry said the Respect. Now. Always. initiative was a major program of work by universities to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“The pilot and the full national survey in 2020 are the next phase in this very significant initiative,” she said.

“Addressing sexual violence is a global challenge-it affects every part of society and every country the world over.”

“Changing unacceptable attitudes and addressing the drivers of sexual violence right across societies is complex work and it takes sustained and persistent effort.”

Building on past work, at least 800 major initiatives have been instigated by Australian universities and students since the 2016 survey.

The next survey will be conducted by the Social Research Centre (SRC) in partnership with leading violence prevention expert Dr Anastasia Powell of RMIT and will draw on an advisory group of organisations and experts.

The SRC has a respected track record conducting large-scale surveys including the National Community Attitudes Towards Violence Against Women Survey with Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) and the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching student surveys for the Australian Government.

Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said:

“We want every student to be safe. There is more to be done to address the drivers of violence against women across society and universities have an important role in that work.”

Professor Terry said the combined expertise of the SRC and Dr Powell, with strong student and survivor engagement in the process, would develop high-quality research with student wellbeing at the centre.

“The SRC and Dr Powell have extensive expertise in survey design and methodology and a clear understanding of the issues of sexual and gendered violence.”

“The survey will be developed in line with international best practice on survey design and sexual violence research and the survey results will help to inform the next steps in university action.”

“We sincerely thank the students and survivors who will take part in the survey – and acknowledge the many dedicated people working to prevent sexual assault in every sector of society.”

“We are acutely aware of sexual assault survivors’ pain and trauma, and we pay tribute to their courage, strength and commitment to a world free of sexual violence. We share that vision.”

For Frequently Asked Questions about the survey click here.

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