On 1 August 2017, the Australian Human Rights Commission released Change the Course - a National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities 2017. The report and its recommendations were based on the results of a national survey of students.
PARSA and ANUSA stand in solidarity to demand that ANU take immediate action to combat sexual assault and sexual harassment in our university communities, and apologise for past mishandlings of sexual assault and sexual harassment, following the release of the results of the Australian Human Right Commission’s Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment survey. As students, we have a right to feel safe in our community and access our education free from violence. ANUSA and PARSA demand that the ANU implement these changes.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt, accepted all nine recommendations including a recommendation that an advisory body should assess and publicly report on the University's progress towards implementation of these recommendations within 18 months of the release of this report. The ANU progress against AHRC Recommendations report is written in response to that recommendation. The report is structured to address each of the nine recommendations and outline the actions the University has already taken.
Update in 2021
PARSA jointly organised with ANUSA, ANUSA’s Women’s Department, and the Interhall Council a protest on 1st August 2021 in response to a lack of action by the ANU to address concerns around sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) on campus.
The 2017 AHRC report, followed by the 2018 Nous Review, the 2019 Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy, and countless more, are overflowing with promises made, and broken, by the ANU. These promises are made to protect the community and stand with survivors - every broken promise contributes to the acceptance of violent behaviour, leaves women feeling unsafe, and renders support services useless to survivors.
PARSA, ANUSA, ANUSA’s Women’s Department, and the Interhall Council stand with survivors, against the ANU’s consistent betrayal of students and demand that:
1. That the ANU apologise for the grave injustice of failing to uphold promises made over the past 4 years.
2. That the ANU commit to fully funding the RRU to fulfill its purpose as a “one-stop shop” for all SASH issues on campus, including prevention, response, and case management. Survivors deserve to have a dedicated service on campus.
3. That the ANU immediately develop a Cultural Action Plan with clear actionables and timelines. Without community contribution, a sexually violent culture is unchangeable.
4. That the ANU stop prioritising reputation and centre survivor needs in their decision-making by increasing transparency and releasing data as promised.
5. That the ANU take responsibility for their failure to listen to the needs of survivors, and immediately identify oversight and accountability mechanisms, both within the RRU and within the University Executive. When something is everyone’s job but no one’s responsibility, nothing happens.
6. That the ANU commits to redressing every single broken promise from the 2021 Broken Promises Report.
To survivors, we believe you, we support you, always and forever. The ANU claims to listen to our concerns; to hear our voices; to understand our distress - if that is the case, then we demand action, now.
No more broken promises.
Update in 2019
August 1st 2019 has been marked by the PARSA and ANUSA with a black flag installation, sit-in outside the ANU Foundation Day Lecture at University House and a report entitled One Step Forward, Two Steps Back condemning the university’s slow progress towards its commitments.
In the past two years, the ANU has made some achievements that deserve to be commended, however, progress has been extremely slow and implementation needs to be better resourced in order for the university to deliver on their commitments. Every day that progress is delayed, more students are harmed.
This 2019 report differs only minimally from the same arguments made by student advocates on this day one year ago, and while the past year has seen the establishment of the Respectful Relationships Unit, so little progress has been made in the same areas of concern highlighted in 2017 and again in 2018. The ANU still systemically fails at the stages of implementation and communication.
Update in 2018
August 1st 2018 is the first anniversary of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Report into Sexual Assault and Harassment on Australian University Campuses. This day has been marked by the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association (PARSA) and ANU Students’ Association (ANUSA) with a protest, vigil for survivors and a report entitled Surveys but No Service condemning the university’s slow progress towards its commitments.
The 2017 report found that The Australian National University ranked #1 in the country for the percentage of students who had been sexually harassed at university, and #2 for the percentage of students who had been sexually assaulted at university.
In the past year, the ANU has made some achievements that deserve to be commended, however, progress has been extremely slow and implementation needs to be better resourced in order for the university to deliver on their commitments. Every day that progress is delayed, more students are harmed. The key areas for improvement in the University’s response to Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment on campus are in implementation and communication.
View the whole report here.