NSW Labor MPs have today expressed outrage over the Australian Human Rights Commission decision not to publicly release data on individual universities, nor make recommendations as a result of a study into sexual assault on campus.
The Human Rights Commission began their nationwide survey last year and surveyed 39,000 students to assess the extent of sexual assault and sexual harassment of university students.
Students who participated in the study – who often detailed appalling harassment, assault or rape - are feeling a sense of betrayal by the news that the Human Rights Commission will not release sexual assault data on individual campuses and that no recommendations will be made from the study.
Many university leaders have acknowledged that releasing such data would be the most effective catalyst for change.
Over the last year, NSW Labor has been working with Women’s Officers across the state to fight for an end to sexual assault on university and TAFE campuses.
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Jenny Aitchison
“Sexual assault on our campuses will continue as long as we fail to hold universities to account. They seem to be under the misconception that if they don’t talk about sexual assault, people will assume it didn’t happen. Those days are over.
“Universities need clear policies to address consent training, reporting and responses so that students who report sexual assault are supported and not disadvantaged.
“Without recommendations being released, the report is a betrayal of the thousands of students who have come forward with their stories in the hope of stopping the same thing happening to other students. It is an enormous breach of trust.
“Labor is calling on the Human Rights Commission to review their decision to not to release the data nor offer recommendations, so governments, students and advocates can hold universities to account.”
Quotes attributable to the Shadow Minister for Women Sophie Cotsis
“Another report and another year have ticked over and we still have universities failing to be held to account for their failure to protect women’s human rights.
“Women have the right to study without fear of sexual violence.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen
“We know the problem of sexual assault on campus exists. Now it is time for action. We need clear recommendations based on best practice standards which are uniformly observed across the country.
“This report cannot just be another set of survey results that float out into the ether never to be acted upon.
“This report could be a turning point for a generation of activists fighting for action on sexual assault on campus. We can’t let this opportunity pass us by.
“Recommendations empower governments, advocates and students to hold universities to account, and I can understand the disappointment and frustration felt by students today.”