Western Sydney University releases its National Student Safety Survey data

Western Sydney University will intensify and expand its efforts to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment across its campuses, online and throughout all University activities, following the release of results from the 2021 National Student Safety Survey (NSSS).

Western Sydney University participated in the survey of 43,819 students from across 39 Australian universities in the period September-October 2021. Conducted by the Social Research Centre (SRC) and supported by Universities Australia (UA), the NSSS collected information on the scale and nature of students’ experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO, said there is no greater priority for Western Sydney University than the safety of its students, staff and visitors, and that the University will immediately begin to build on the existing and continuing work of its Respectful Relationships Taskforce. The top priorities will be:

  • Implementing clear, inclusive and targeted campaigns to educate specific groups on consent and the drivers of sexual assault and sexual harassment, the impact of these behaviours, as well as the available support measures and reporting mechanisms.
  • Challenging cultures that normalise or excuse these behaviours, focussing on specific locations in which students congregate to live, learn and socialise.
  • Reviewing the University’s misconduct process to embed trauma-informed approaches and increasing transparency on the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment and the outcomes of reporting.

“Western Sydney University believes that everyone has the right to study and work in an environment that is safe and respectful. Any incidence of sexual assault and sexual harassment will not be tolerated and is completely unacceptable. It is important we openly discuss these results and learn from them,” said Professor Glover.

“We acknowledge and thank all those who have taken part in the survey and those who have bravely shared their experiences. We understand that this has not been easy.

“We recognise the ongoing impact on many aspects of your life, including your relationships, your physical and mental health, your studies and your work. Please know that the University community is listening, is here to support you and is committed to working with you to create meaningful, positive change.”

There were 817 Western Sydney University respondents in the National Student Safety Survey. The University’s institutional data shows:

  • 13.8% of the University’s respondents experienced sexual harassment since starting university
  • 2.6% of the University’s respondents experienced sexual assault since starting university
  • 55.2% of the University’s respondents knew nothing or very little about where to go within the University to make a complaint about sexual assault
  • 46.4% of the University’s respondents knew nothing or very little about where to seek support or assistance within the University about sexual assault
  • 49.7% of the University’s respondents knew nothing or very little about where to go within the University to make a complaint about sexual harassment
  • 47.9% of the University’s respondents knew nothing or very little about where to seek support or assistance within the University about sexual harassment.

(opens in a new window) Opens in a new window, accessible text version(opens in a new window)

In response to the landmark 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission national report into sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities, Western Sydney University formed a Respectful Relationship Taskforce led by the Vice-Chancellor and comprising a cross-section of student and staff, as well as representatives from external support services.

This resulted in the co-creation and implementation of wide-ranging strategies(opens in a new window) across the University including safety programs, prevention and education initiatives, counselling and support services.

Professor Glover said the University can and will do more to strengthen awareness and education.

“As a University, we must be part of the solution. This is an ongoing journey for all of us across the sector to tackle sexual assault and sexual harassment not just within our universities but the broader community. We will redouble our efforts to keep students safe,” Professor Glover said.

Hear more from our Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Barney Glover AO.

For more information about the National Student Safety Survey visit the 2021 NSSS website(opens in a new window).

ENDS

23 March 2022

Amanda Whibley, Manager, Media and Public Relations

Where to go for support

We understand that conversations about the National Student Safety Survey and its results can be distressing and potentially retraumatising for members of our University and wider communities. If you would like to speak to somebody, you can reach out to the University’s support services outlined below:

Mental Health and Wellbeing Team
1300 668 370 (option 4 then option 1)
mhwbsupport@westernsydney.edu.au

Counselling Service
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
1300 668 370 (option 4 then option 1)
counselling@westernsydney.edu.au

eCounselling
ecounselling@westernsydney.edu.au

Employee Assistance Program (for staff)
24 hours
1800 81 87 28

Campus Safety and Security
24 hours
1300 737 003

TalkCampus App
After Hours Student Assistance Line (for international students)
1800 735 807

Reporting

Complaints
02 9678 7900
www.westernsydney.edu.au/complaints
complaints@westernsydney.edu.au

Sexual Offences Reporting Portal
https://offencereport.westernsydney.edu.au/

You can also contact national support services outlined below:

1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732

Lifeline: 13 11 14, or lifeline.org.au(opens in a new window)

QLife: 1800 184 527, or qlife.org.au(opens in a new window)

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Australia-wide university support and safety services(opens in a new window)