News and Views

RMIT and the Human Rights Commission survey

RMIT acknowledges the Australian Human Rights Commission national survey results into sexual harassment and sexual assault in higher education as confronting for the university sector.

It is a serious reminder that, across Australia, we still have a long way to go to address this issue.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, said: “We are committed to doing everything we can to reduce these numbers. One incident is one too many.

“Sexual harassment and sexual assault is something we do not and will not tolerate.”

RMIT’s results have been shared with students and staff and the University will implement all nine of the Commission’s recommendations.

“RMIT stands by our values and celebrates and respects the diversity and individuality of every single person. It’s a basic right that we should all feel safe, secure and respected,” Martin Bean said.

“As a father, I know how important safety is across the community, and that can only be built on the basis of respect and equality.”

Professor Belinda Tynan, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Vice-President, welcomed the sector-wide commitment to repeating the national survey every three years.

“At RMIT, we’ll go further. We’ll be undertaking a survey of students on these issues every year.

“We will also work harder to make sure all students know their rights and how to report incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

“And with the other universities, we want to work with bodies like public transport providers, Victoria Police and government to address some of the societal factors like safety of travel to and from campuses, and access to support services.”

These actions are in addition to the measures already under way at RMIT:

  • Instituting mandatory responding to disclosure training for all staff
  • Offering training in consent for students
  • Increasing the number of counselling staff with specialist expertise
  • Committing to a process of restorative justice

RMIT has dedicated support teams for students and staff who want to raise issues concerning sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Help is also available via the National University Support Line, which will be staffed 24/7 until the end of November 2017. Its number is 1800 572 224.

Source: RMIT

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