Guide to Improving Safety and Security Incident Response in Australian Colleges and Universities

Best Practice Guide

Data confirms safety and security risk to college and university students in Australia

Multiple datapoints indicate that college and university settings aren’t immune to the prevalence of sexual violence experienced by young adults in the wider community. Put out by the Social Research Centre, the most recent National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) report on the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault among university students (2021) points in the same direction.

What does it say? For starters, it confirms pre-pandemic research. That research shined a light on incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment among university students, including incidents that took place on-campus and/or in other university-related events and space (See working definitions below).

Those incidents persist, suggesting that university settings aren’t always physically or psychologically safe for matriculants.

Indeed, one in six university students now report that they have been victims of sexual harassment since they started university. When it comes to incidents of sexual assault, one in 20 report that they have been victims.

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