Edith Cowan University (ECU) has released its institution-level data from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Change the course: National report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities (the National Report).
The release of the National Report is part of the wider Respect. Now. Always. initiative, and is based on data collected from a survey carried out between September and November 2016. More than 30,000 students from all Australian universities participated.
ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman said the University accepts the recommendations made by the Commission as well as the supporting 10-point Action Plan developed and released by Universities Australia. ECU is now working with the higher education sector and the ECU community to implement them.
“We welcome the findings in this important report because gaining a clear understanding of sexual assault and harassment at universities is vital to providing a compassionate, timely and fair response, and taking requisite actions to address the problem,” he said.
“At ECU we are committed to providing a safe learning and working environment. We have zero tolerance for sexual assault or harassment.
“ECU has already implemented several initiatives aimed at preventing sexual assault and harassment and better supporting our students.
“I also acknowledge the ECU students who completed the survey or made a submission. I want to assure you the information you provided is confidential and guiding us in our response.”
Initiatives the University has already implemented include:
- Reviewing and updating our website to provide clear and appropriate information for students about sexual assault and harassment.
- Refining our case management process for students or staff making a report and requiring support.
- On-campus promotion of the telephone hotline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via +61 8 6304 2282.
- Working closely with Campus Living Villages (CLV), a private provider of student accommodation, to ensure all residence students are provided with relevant information on arrival. All CLV residents now attend a mandatory induction that includes consent and respectful behaviour content.
- Briefings with student leaders and ECU staff to provide information on the University approach, current initiatives, and to gain feedback on opportunities for improvement.
Providing training for frontline staff to assist them in dealing with disclosure.
- Updating ECU’s Prevention of Harassment, Bullying, Discrimination and Violence policy
- On-campus security improvements, including:
- A 24-hour security control room, complementing our existing 24 hour security patrols and vehicle escort service for students;
- Upgraded lighting on the Joondalup and Mount Lawley Campus;
- Allowing students to park closer to campus buildings after 5pm, including staff and visitor bays, on all campuses; and
- ECU funding the evening operation of the CAT bus between the Joondalup Campus and train station.
ECU is currently analysing its institutional-level report in detail and will announce new initiatives, as well as progress on implementing the Commission’s recommendations, in due course.
Support is available from ECU and other organisations, no matter when or where the assault or harassment happened.
ECU will respond to all reports of inappropriate or threatening behaviour and offer support.
Students and staff can report a sexual assault directly to ECU on +61 8 6304 2282 (all hours) or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students can also seek support via the national university support line on 1800 572 224 (available until 30 November 2017).