The Australian Human Rights Commission will be conducting a nation-wide survey of university students on sexual harassment and sexual assault. The confidential online survey will be conducted in the second half of the year by Roy Morgan.

“The survey will help determine the prevalence of harassment and assault as well as students’ knowledge of existing services to support them on campus. Most importantly it will help identify the effectiveness of the universities’ responses to a range of incidents, so that they can keep improving their systems,” says Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.

The project is being supported and funded by the Vice-Chancellors of Australia’s 39 universities and Universities Australia. The Commission is an independent organisation and is committed to producing an accurate picture of where the problems are.

“Recent incidents on campus and in residential colleges have highlighted that young people are sometimes subjected to abuse and mistreatment. What we can’t be sure about is the extent of the problem, and this survey will help in quantifying it,” says Commissioner Jenkins.

Valuing our young people means ensuring they are able to learn in a safe environment.

“There are more than one million students enrolled in Australian universities, and we want all students to be free from abuse, assault and harassment,” she said.

President Gillian Triggs says this survey is part of the Commission’s ongoing work around harassment and violence.

“This project builds on the Commission’s earlier work with the Australian Defence Force around cultural change on the treatment of women,” says Professor Triggs.

The Commission will work with student representative bodies and university leadership to ensure that students are encouraged to participate in the survey.

Read more about this here.