‘1 in 6 Australian university students sexually harassed on campus’

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Almost 5 per cent of Australian university students have been sexually harassed on campus, a report has found.

Peak body Universities Australia (UA) published the results of the 2021 National Student Safety Survey, reports Xinhua news agency.

It revealed that 4.5 per cent of about 44,000 participant students said they have experienced sexual assault.

One in six students have been sexually harassed since starting at university and one in 12 has been sexually harassed in the past 12 months, said the report.

Some victims said they did not know how to report the incidents to their institutions.

“On behalf of Universities Australia and its 39 members, I am deeply sorry,” John Dewar, chair of UA and vice-chancellor of La Trobe University, said in a statement on Thursday.

“To every single university student who has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault, or has a friend, family member or loved one who has, I am sorry.”

Students who lived in on-campus accommodation were more likely to be harassed or assaulted than their peers who live with family.

Australian National University (ANU), the second-best university in the country according to Times Higher Education’s rankings, said the survey results indicate, within a university context, that a higher percentage of ANU students experienced sexual harassment since starting university and in the last 12 months than the national average.

Earlier in March the university announced a A$3.3 million ($2.4 million) student safety and wellbeing plan with a focus on safety in student residences.

“No instance of sexual harassment or sexual assault should be tolerated, and our institutions must set the tone for what is expected from our future graduates,” Dewar said.

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