IN the wake of a national survey revealing that nearly 7 per cent of uni students were sexually assaulted in 2015/16, Edith Cowan Uni says its rates are lower at its Mt Lawley campus.
The shocking national figures were produced by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which found 1.6 per cent of the assaults occurred on campus.
ECU’s survey shows it’s less common at its campuses in Mt Lawley and Joondalup, with 0.6 per cent being sexually assaulted at uni.
Sexual harassment was far more rife, with 26 per cent of students nationally, and 21 per cent of ECU respondents, reporting they’d been sexually harassed at university in 2016, with offences including unwanted touching, cornering, indecent exposure, and sending unwanted sexual pictures.
Across the country, 7 per cent of offenders were a tutor or lecturer; but at ECU it was eight per cent.
Offenders were overwhelmingly males (71 per cent of harassment was carried out by men, 11 per cent by both men and women, and 11 per cent by women), while the remaining respondents didn’t know or didn’t want to report the gender.
ECU students were less likely to know where to seek support from within the uni, where to make a complaint, and what the uni’s policy was.
ECU’s data vice-chancellor Steve Chapman said, “we have zero tolerance for sexual assault or harassment” and that the uni was committed to the 10-point action plan, developed by Universities Australia to address the sexual assault and harassment rates.
The 10-point plan will complement the existing measures ECU’s taken, including a 24-hour security control room, 24-hour security patrols, vehicle escort service for students, letting students park in the closer staff and visitor bays after 5pm, and holding mandatory inductions for students living on campus to educate them on consent and respectful behaviour.