Western Sydney University partners on national ‘Respect. Now. Always.’ student survey

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Western Sydney University is partnering with other Australian universities in a ground-breaking national student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The survey, to be officially launched today, is an important part of the Australian university sector's Respect.Now.Always. campaign, to ensure students and staff are safe from sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor and Universities Australia Chair, Professor Barney Glover, said Western Sydney University is participating in the survey as part of its longstanding efforts to raise awareness and keep improving policies and support services to keep students safe.

"Sexual assault and sexual harassment are completely unacceptable and the University takes a zero tolerance approach to these behaviours within our student and staff community," said Professor Glover.

"This important national survey will seek comprehensive national data from across our universities and will tell us what more needs to be done to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment, and how best to support our students when they seek help.

"It is vital that we continue to improve our responses and draw on best practice so our students know that their university is doing everything it can to ensure a culture of respect and safety."

Professor Glover said a representative sample of students from the university will be selected to participate in the confidential survey which is expected to begin early September and which will run for approximately three weeks. 

All students selected will be asked to complete the survey – even if they have not experienced these behaviours – to gain a clear picture of the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the student community.

The survey data will be analysed and reported by the independent Australian Human Rights Commission with assistance from Roy Morgan Research.

All the information provided by students is strictly confidential and will not be provided to the University. Responses will be de-identified to protect student privacy.

Any university student who has not been selected in the survey sample but would like to share their views can do so confidentially via the Australian Human Rights Commission website (opens in a new window). These online submissions will also inform further improvements in university policies.

The survey has been developed with input from experts including the Australian Human Rights Centre at the University of New South Wales, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Roy Morgan Research, and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

It is primarily funded by Universities Australia, with seed funding for the survey provided by The Hunting Ground Australia Project. The survey is supported by the National Union of Students and the National Tertiary Education Union.

Go to Respect.Now.Always. for further information about Western Sydney University's involvement in the campaign and for advice on the University's support services and how to seek help.

If students feel distress at any time during or after participating in this survey, support is available by calling 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).


23 August 2016

Amanda Whibley, Media and Public Relations Manager

Further information about Respect Now.Always.

Earlier this year, Australia's 39 universities came together to launch the Respect.Now.Always. campaign.

It has three key elements: raising awareness of sexual assault and sexual harassment and lifting the profile of support services for students; obtaining prevalence data to guide further improvements in policies and services; and assisting universities to share resources and best practice across the sector.

Go to Respect.Now.Always. (opens in a new window) for further information about Western Sydney University's involvement in the campaign, and for advice on the University's support services and how to seek help.

Remember, students who feel distress at any time during or after participating in this survey, can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) for support.

Further information about the University's support services

The University has support services for both students and staff:

Students – If you want to speak privately with our free student Counselling Service or Welfare Service please call 9852 5199 during business hours. You can find out more about these services, which are on each campus, at www.westernsydney.edu.au/counselling and www.westernsydney.edu.au/welfare

Staff - Staff may contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) on 1800 818 728. The EAP is a free, anonymous service to University employees. For more information please visit www.westernsydney.edu.au/eap

Western Sydney University Campus Safety and Security - can provide 24/7 support if you are feeling unsafe. Phone: 1300 737 003.

Police - If you wish to report a sexual assault, contact your nearest Police station. Police are well trained to provide assistance to people who have been sexually assaulted.

University support staff, NSW Health sexual assault services, and 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) can also help facilitate this process.