Uni­ver­si­ties vow ha­rass­ment crackdown

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

MELBOURNE , Australia — Lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties on Tues­day promised to crack down on sex­ual ha­rass­ment af­ter a land­mark na­tional sur­vey found half of stu­dents were ha­rassed in the past year.

The sur­vey of 31,000 ran­domly se­lected stu­dents from 39 in­sti­tu­tions, re­leased by the Hu­man Right Com­mis­sion on Tues­day, found that 51 per­cent of re­spon­dents were sex­u­ally ha­rassed at least once last year, with half of the in­ci­dents tak­ing place in a univer­sity set­ting.

Women and LGBT stu­dents were most af­fected, the sur­vey found.

Glyn Davis, Vice-Chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of Melbourne, said that the institution would use the find­ings to pro- tect its stu­dents from sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“Sex­ual ha­rass­ment and sex­ual as­sault are un­ac­cept­able. Every time,” Davis said in a mes­sage to stu­dents and staff.

“Such ha­rass­ment and as­sault are never the fault or the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the vic­tim. As a com­mu­nity we are com­mit­ted to learn­ing from th­ese re­sults and mak­ing this a safer place for stu­dents.”

More than 2,300 stu­dents from the univer­sity re­sponded to the sur­vey, among the high­est par­tic­i­pa­tion rates of any institution, with 50 per­cent say­ing they were sex­u­ally ha­rassed last year.

Ros­alind Croucher, the newly in­ducted pres­i­dent of the Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion, said the re­port rec­og­nized “con­tin­u­ing prob­lems” for stu­dents.

“Be­hind the statis­tics in this re­port ... are many per­sonal sto­ries, ex­pe­ri­ences, deep ex­pe­ri­ences and deep pain,” Croucher said.

“(Stu­dents) want to feel safe, they want to feel re­spected and they want oth­ers to ac­knowl­edge the pain of their ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They want oth­ers to sup­port them in their heal­ing and they want things to change so oth­ers won’t be sub­jected to the same things they were.”

Si­mon Birm­ing­ham, Australia’s Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter, said that “sex­ual as­sault and ha­rass­ment have no place in Aus­tralian uni­ver­si­ties, just as they have no place any­where in Australia.”

Davis said that the uni­ver­si­had al­ready taken steps to es­tab­lish a “Re­spect Task­force” to im­prove the cul­ture of the institution and roll out on­line train­ing mod­ules to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion on com­mu­ni­ca­tion, re­la­tion­ships and sex­ual con­sent.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.