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University students still unsafe after five years of inaction

Media Release
Larissa Waters 23 Mar 2022

The Greens have called on universities to take a zero tolerance approach to sexual violence and harassment on campuses, after the results of the latest National Student Safety Survey revealed that many university settings remain unsafe and unsupportive of student survivors, especially young women.

Lines attributable to Greens deputy leader and spokesperson on women Senator Larissa Waters:

“It’s shocking how little has changed since the 2017 survey that formed part of the Human Rights Commission’s Change the Course report.

“The findings of this latest survey reveal that students, particularly female students, remain unsafe and unsupported in many university settings.

“Students have been speaking out for years about sexual violence and harassment on campuses across the country, hoping that sharing their traumatic experiences would lead to universities taking action and being held accountable.

“Organisations like End Rape on Campus have worked tirelessly to keep these issues in the spotlight and get universities to ensure student safety.

“Today’s results show that not enough has been done.

“Universities must finally take this matter seriously. They need genuine zero tolerance policies; transparent, timely complaints procedures; and appropriate support to students from the moment they raise concerns. Universities must ensure residential colleges have professional, trauma-informed staff and clear accountability for enforcing sexual harassment policies. They must engage EROC and survivors in designing, implementing, and evaluating education programs, reporting mechanisms, and support services.

“The National Plan to End Violence Against Women should include specific indicators for university settings to hold universities to account and ensure students are safe and respected.”

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