19 September 2016

The University of Queensland has joined the Universities Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct a broad-reaching survey of students and their experiences of sexual harassment.

The national Respect. Now. Always. university student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment is the first such survey to encompass universities across Australia.

It has been designed to gain insight into the nature, prevalence and reporting of sexual assault and sexual harassment among university students.

UQ Student Services Director Ms Andrea Strachan said the survey was a way for students to put their voices to their own safety.

“It will help universities to gain a better understanding of the incidence and nature of these behaviours in our student communities, to guide continuing improvements in policies, practices and support services,” she said.

“About 3000 UQ students will be randomly selected and asked via email to fill out the survey.

“They will be given a confidential link to fill out the survey – which should take about 10 to 12 minutes to complete,” Ms Strachan said.

“The survey is an important undertaking and we are encouraging students to complete it so we can increase our understanding of this important issue and consider the support universities can put in place for those who experience sexual harassment and assault.”

University of Queensland Student Union President Michael Lucas said the Union was proud to support the rollout of the survey by UQ, Universities Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

“This survey is absolutely critical to supporting, engaging with and advocating for students, student safety and the reduction of sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus,” he said.

“The Union believes that initiatives such as this help determine deficiencies at universities, and we hope that the results are used to implement nationwide student sexual assault strategies.

“It is really important to see initiatives such as this where key stakeholders are working together to shed light on these critical student issues,” Mr Lucas said.

Ms Strachan said she appreciated that participating in the survey could cause some students to feel uncomfortable or distressed.

“Student Services has set aside specific resources to assist students who would like support before, during and after participation in the survey,” she said.

The anonymous survey is open to all UQ students, and can be accessed at the Australian Human Rights Commission website here.

Survey responses will inform an Australian Human Rights Commission report.

Support is available from Student Services and The University of Queensland Union.

Media: Communications@uq.edu.au, 07 3365 1120.