National Student Safety Survey

Trigger warning: this page includes references to sexual harm (sexual assault and violence).

The National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) is an initiative funded by Australian universities that collect data to determine the scale and nature of the sexual assault and sexual harassment (sexual harm) experience by tertiary education students. This is the second national survey of its kind, the result of the first survey was released on 1 August 2017 and conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The survey will commence on 6 September and conclude on 3 October 2021. Results are expected to be released between March and April 2022.

National Student Safety Survey logo

About the Survey

The survey will be conducted by the Social Research Centre (SRC), a subsidiary of the Australian National University in Canberra. The SRC will be conducting the survey in partnership with leading violence prevention expert Associate Professor Anastasia Powell from RMIT University.

The survey will randomly select student samples from all 39 universities. A random sample of 10,000 students from each University will be invited to participate in the survey. The sample will consider factors such as gender, year of study, residency, and level of study to ensure samples represent the wider student population.

De-identified results are expected to be released in early 2022.

Yes, the survey and related research project have received ethics approval from a Human Research Ethics Committee.

As the survey will contain highly sensitive questions. Students, victims and survivors’ wellbeing will be at the centre of the entire survey process.

If the survey triggers past trauma or you require support, please contact the Health and Wellbeing Resource Centre on 9479 1084 or email Our Wellbeing Advisors will be able to link you into the appropriate support service.

Only current students at one of the 39 member institutes of Universities Australia, which has been randomly selected to participate in the survey are eligible.

This will be a random sample including representation across gender, level of study, as well as domestic and international students.

Only students currently at University and selected in the sample can participate in the survey.

All students who have been enrolled in an Australian university in the past five years will have the opportunity to share their stories anonymously in a separate qualitative survey, whether or not they have been selected to participate in the survey. This will inform the SRC’s analysis and final report.

Students can stop and re-start the survey at any time. As this is a sensitive topic, participants may consider taking breaks or stopping the survey to access support. Students do not need to complete the survey if they feel that it may impact their safety or wellbeing.

The Social Research Centre (SRC) has established a free-call helpdesk and email inbox for students. You can contact the SRC on 1800 023 040 (free call), or view the SRC website.

About the Questions

The survey will include a range of behavioural questions regarding sexual assault in line with international best practice.

The survey will also include questions about student’s attitude toward violence which has been adapted from the 2017 National Community Attitudes toward Violence against women Survey (NCAS).

La Trobe University has requested that the Social Research Centre include an additional set of questions on students’ perceptions of the culture and knowledge of support services at their accommodation.

Universities Australia and the Social Research Centre held stakeholder roundtable as part of this process which included representatives from a various organisations including End Rape on Campus (EROC), Council of the Australian Postgraduate Association (CAPA), National Union of Students (NUS), and Council of International Student Australia (CISA).

La Trobe University has made significant progress in preventing and eliminating sexual harm and gender-based violence. Our whole university approach includes initiatives in education, policy and governance, awareness and outreach, communication campaigns, the creation of the Health and Wellbeing Resource Centre, external engagement and partnerships and improvements in our response and support services.

Information on the range of initiatives is available via the Respect at La Trobe website.

The University has also invested in resources to continue our effort to prevent and eliminate sexual harm and gender-based violence. Since 2016, the University has had a Senior Student Wellbeing Coordinator of Prevention and Education. In 2020, the University established the Respect, Prevention and Culture team, which included a Manager and Coordinator.

The University has proposed in the 2021 transformation to create two new roles in this team: Senior Coordinator of Respectful Communities and Senior Coordinator, Student Culture and Conduct. Both of these roles will have a strong focus on the prevention of sexual harm and gender-based violence.

If you or someone you know have experienced sexual harm, you can contact Safer Community for support. Please visit the Safer Community website for further information.