Deakin University has welcomed the release of national survey results as a significant opportunity for Australian universities to continue to confront the scourge of sexual harm.
Last September, the National Student Safety Survey gathered data on students' experiences relating to sexual harm at Australian universities, including sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Of Deakin's more than 66,000 students, about 10,000 were invited to participate in the survey and 1166 responded.
Current and former students enrolled within the past five years were also given the opportunity to share their experiences on the NSSS website.
Deakin has campuses at Burwood, Geelong and Warrnambool and the statistics do not reference where the students who responded are from.
Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the release of the NSSS highlighted that sexual harm was an issue across society and Deakin would continue strengthening its prevention, safety and support programs.
"While the data reflects that, for the vast majority of our students, Deakin is a safe place, even one instance of sexual harm is too many," he said.
"Deakin has worked with our staff and students for many years to build a strong culture of safety, mutual respect and inclusion - but there is always more to do.
"Together, we must continue to confront the scourge of sexual harm both at universities and across our broader communities.
"This behaviour has no place at Deakin, and with insights from the NSSS, we have strengthened our respect and sexual harm programs to continue supporting our students and changing attitudes and behaviours.
"On behalf of the University community, I thank each of the 1166 Deakin students who accepted the invitation to participate in the NSSS, and those willing to share their experiences. You have helped us understand where to focus our energy."
The NSSS data showed the experiences of the 1166 Deakin students were broadly consistent with the national findings.
Based on the responses of the Deakin students who participated:
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Johnson said the survey data revealed the need to increase student awareness about access to support services and where to go to report incidents.
"The national and Deakin results highlight that around half of students knew nothing or very little about the formal reporting process for sexual harassment or sexual assault," she said.
"In addition, only 6.7 per cent of students who were sexually harassed went on to make a formal complaint to the University.
"The data also highlights that around half of students know little about where to seek support or assistance for harassment or sexual assault. Only 17.7 per cent of students who were sexually harassed sought support or assistance from Deakin.
"In response, we have already made this information more prominent online and on-campus, and we will work with our students to improve communication and understanding.
"We take a proactive approach to preventing sexual harm. We have a strong foundation of policies, procedures and programs and are committed to working towards improving how we respond to and support those in our university community who have been affected.
"Through the delivery of our Respect and Sexual Harm programs, we focus on changing the attitudes and behaviours that lead to incidents and building a safer and more respectful community."
Deakin initiatives to ensure student safety and prevent harm include, but are not limited to:
Anyone wanting support can contact:
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