Good afternoon student,
As part of our commitment to providing a safe and respectful learning environment for all students and staff, Flinders University supported a National Student Safety Survey conducted during Semester 2 last year.
Universities Australia today released the sector-wide survey results, providing insights into student experiences of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Flinders University has also been provided with a de-identified report that is specific to responses from our University, a summary of which you can view here.
Thank you to the 1,030 Flinders students who took part in the survey; by sharing your experiences you are helping us create a safer environment for our entire Flinders community.
The report shows that even though we have made considerable efforts to address sexual harassment and sexual assault there remain instances at Flinders.
In the past 12 months 11.2% of respondents said they experienced sexual harassment, while 1% said they had an experience of sexual assault.
Flinders is strongly committed to safety and security and will continue to take action where breaches to safety and our code of conduct are found. It’s our view that even one instance of sexual harassment or sexual assault is unacceptable.
Concerningly, we note that
- almost half of the Flinders respondents said they know nothing or very little about where to go to make a complaint
- sexual harassment can happen anywhere, with general campus locations most common, about a fifth of reports involving the library, and a similar rate for lectures theatres and labs.
We have made important progress in building a culture of safety, improving education and awareness around sexual assault and sexual harassment, simplifying reporting processes and boosting counselling. However, these results indicate we need to continue to do still more to ensure you know how and where to report incidents, to make it easy for you to do so, and to provide the supports and encouragement you need.
Because this survey conducted by the Social Research Centre utilised different methodologies to the 2017 survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, it is unfortunately not possible to validly compare the results. The two surveys took different approaches with different aims, with the NSSS diving deeper. We welcome the richer insights from today’s results, as a valuable guide to identifying and addressing areas we must improve.
In another departure from the previous survey, the SRC has not provided recommendations but encouraged Universities to consider what actions they need to make based on the responses of their students.
In line with the guidance of Universities Australia, we’ve identified immediate responses we can and will make including:
- Introducing an online MATES bystander program
- Increasing the visibility of support services and reporting channels
- Reviewing our policy and procedures, to ensure they are in line with best practice
We will also reflect on our results to identify what further response we can and should make and we’ll ensure that students are part of the process so that services and supports meet your needs.
We take this opportunity to make the following principles clear:
- Flinders is committed to safety and security
- Everyone deserves to be safe, including at their place of study or work
- Although sexual harassment and sexual assault is a problem across society, as a place of education we have a particular responsibility to address and prevent it
We understand the release of this report and any matters relating to sexual harassment or sexual assault can be extremely difficult and challenging; please remember support is available.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault, or you are concerned about an incident, please consider making a report. Making a report does not initiate a complaint, it is the first step to offer support and a chance to talk through your options.
To talk with someone or get more information/support before reporting the incident, contact Counselling Services on 08 8201 2118, (Monday - Friday, 8.45am to 5.00pm) for free and confidential support. For out of hours counselling support, you can call the out of hours crisis support line on 1300 512 409 or text 0488 884 103.
External support is also available:
- Yarrow Place offers counselling, information and a forensic medical service. You can contact them on 1800 817 421.
- 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) is a national 24/7 sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It is free and confidential.
Important: If the matter requires immediate attention, please contact Flinders Security on 8201 2880 or dial 000 in case of an emergency.
As Flinders University Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students), we are both personally committed to fostering a healthy culture and ensuring that our University is a respectful and safe place. Together, we will lead the continual work that is needed to address sexual harassment and sexual assault and provide a safe environment for all.
Colin & Romy
Professor Colin Stirling
President & Vice-Chancellor
Professor Romy Lawson
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students)