Staff to student sexual harassment is not a topic that universities have historically been keen to broadcast, presumably for reasons relating to risk, reputation and responsibility. As such, it becomes the domain of impartial, third party organisations to investigate and report on this issue

This is why the Australian Human Rights Commission’s survey of sexual harassment at Australian Universities was such a promising opportunity to provide important data on staff sexual misconduct. The survey canvassed over 30,000 students across 39 universities and included 1849 qualitative individual submissions. With this scope, the study could have mined data to provide depth of analysis comparable to the Association of American Universities (AAU) study of sexual harassment published in 2015.

The AHRC report delivers on the prevalence of sexual harassment in Australian universities, noting that 51% of students experienced sexual harassment in 2016, and 6.9% of students experienced sexual assault at least once in 2015-16. It includes analysis on experiences of different groups within the university population such as international students, and LGBTQ, trans and non-binary students. Continue reading “AHRC university sexual harassment survey downplays staff misconduct”