ANU Students Mark One Year on from AHRC Report into Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment on University Campuses
· 2017 AHRC Change the course report found that at least 116 ANU students were sexually assaulted in 2016, 52 of those students were assaulted on campus
· Student Associations mark the day with speak out, vigil and the release of a progress report entitled Surveys but No Service.
· PARSA and ANUSA call for on the university to deliver on promises.
August 1st 2018 is the first anniversary of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Report into Sexual Assault and Harassment on Australian University Campuses. This day has been marked by the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association (PARSA) and ANU Students’ Association (ANUSA) with a protest, vigil for survivors and a report entitled Surveys but No Service condemning the university’s slow progress towards its commitments.
The 2017 report found that The Australian National University ranked #1 in the country for the percentage of students who had been sexually harassed at university, and #2 for the percentage of students who had been sexually assaulted at university.
In the past year, the ANU has made some achievements that deserve to be commended, however, progress has been extremely slow and implementation needs to be better resourced in order for the university to deliver on their commitments. Every day that progress is delayed, more students are harmed. The key areas for improvement in the University’s response to Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment on campus are in implementation and communication.
Alyssa Shaw, PARSA President and Emma Davies, PARSA Women’s Officer, said:
“The university has failed to deliver comprehensive and accessible status updates on their progress for reforming policy. Communication on the project has been fragmented, heavily reliant on blog updates, forums and vague documents that are infrequently updated.”
“The university’s failure to communicate to the community about changes and progress being made has led to, once again, students stepping up and filling in the gaps.”
“The university has not clarified its position on informal reporting information collection and retention. Concerns have been raised that information is being withheld from formal complaints investigations being undertaken by the university officials. This raises severe concerns that university offices and departments, where students are directed to seek support and information concerning their options, are functioning to protect predators who have a clear and documented history of concerning behaviour.”
“PARSA is particularly concerned with the lack of action on marginalised and vulnerable groups in our community. In particular the lack of action on supporting Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students – postgraduate students who are at greater risk of violence from staff, due to the supervisory relationship.”
Eleanor Kay, ANUSA President, Tess Masters, ANUSA Vice-President and Laura Perkov, ANUSA Women’s Officer said:
“Many students across campus still do not know how to report misconduct or how to get support. ANU reporting lines are unclear, and no progress has been made towards electronic reporting that might support anonymous reporting. On this, ANU is falling dangerously behind the sector.”
“Restorative justice was integral in the demands handed to the ANU by students in August last year, yet there has been little movement towards integrating the principles of restorative justice into the university’s response. Processes must be trauma-informed and victim centred, emphasising healing and perpetrator responsibility and accountability, and recognising the role of the community in both harm and healing.”
“When comparing progress against the recommendations ANUSA and PARSA developed last year, it is clear that the university is lagging behind.”
For more information, contact:
Alyssa Shaw, PARSA President on email@example.com, or
Eleanor Kay, ANUSA President on firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to editors:
The protest and vigil will be held from 12pm-2pm on Wednesday the 1st of August outside the ANU Chancellery. Media are invited to respectfully attend.