This message was emailed to all students on 23 March 2022
Content warning: This message contains references to sexual harassment and sexual assault, which some students may find distressing.
Today Universities Australia released the results of the 2021 National Student Safety Survey (NSSS), one of the world’s largest surveys on sexual harassment and sexual assault experienced by university students.
I want to acknowledge the 959 La Trobe students who responded to the survey, and I particularly appreciate the victim-survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault who so bravely shared their personal experiences.
The Universities Australia national report and La Trobe’s results can be viewed on our website.
The report shows that despite the progress that has been made, La Trobe University, and the higher education sector as a whole, still have significant work to do to address sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Too many students have experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault and one incident is one too many.
To our students who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault, we are profoundly sorry. The University is committed to working with our students to make meaningful change, to continue to improve the safety of our campuses and to further develop the support and prevention programs we provide across our campuses.
La Trobe’s response to the National Student Safety Survey results can be found in our statement, which includes a link to a summary of the strategies we have implemented since the Change the Course report, that include the implementation of Safer Community, our confidential support service for students experiencing threatening, inappropriate, or uncomfortable behaviour and our research-informed prevention programs.
The University is committed to responding to the insights from the survey and we will be working in partnership with you, our students, your student associations and experts from across the University to develop a comprehensive action plan and make meaningful change. This is a significant piece of work and there are some immediate actions we are committing to today as a University:
- we will introduce mandatory consent and respectful relationships training for all students;
- we will develop targeted programs and supports to prevent and respond to sexual harm in our gender diverse and LGBTIQA+ communities, and
- we will review existing and develop additional resources to address online sexual harassment.
We understand that conversations around the NSSS and its results may be distressing for members of our staff, students and wider communities and I’d like to remind you of the support services available.
Safer Community is our free, confidential support service for students. If you experience threatening, inappropriate, or uncomfortable behaviour, Safer Community can provide support and advice in a trauma-informed and victim/survivor-centred approach. Contact Safer Community by calling 03 9479 8988 or emailing email@example.com. You may also contact one of the external support services listed below:
- Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA), casa.org.au
- 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732, or 1800respect.org.au
- Lifeline: 13 11 14, or lifeline.org.au
- QLife: 1800 184 527, or qlife.org.au
- MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78, or mensline.org.au
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636, or beyondblue.org.au
La Trobe is committed to the safety and wellbeing of all our students and these findings from the 2021 National Student Safety Survey will be a critical guide to support our ongoing work to provide a safe and inclusive environment for everyone.
Professor John Dewar AO
Vice-Chancellor and President
La Trobe University