Australian universities have agreed to release data about sexual assault and harassment on their campuses after criticism by students and sexual assault survivors.
The data was collected in a survey conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission last year and will form part of a report by the commission to be released mid-2017, but the commission angered students when it said it would not force the release of campus-specific data.
On Wednesday the peak body Universities Australia, which contributed $1m towards the survey, said it had secured a commitment from the vice-chancellors of all 39 universities in Australia to release the data alongside the commission’s report.
“This work was led by vice-chancellors, and so it should come as no surprise that all universities will release their institutional data,” the Universities Australia chief executive, Belinda Robinson, said in a statement.
“University leaders wanted the survey to guide further improvements in how to prevent and respond to sexual assault and harassment, and support survivors.”
The decision was welcomed as a victory by students and sexual assault support workers, who say it would not have happened without negative media coverage.
“This welcome development would never have occurred were it not for the dedicated campaigning of committed students and survivors who have worked tirelessly to raise these issues,” said a sexual assault support worker, Nina Funnell. “This is a victory for all students.”
Anna Hush, who was the women’s officer on the student representative council at the University of Sydney when the survey took place, said it was a “clear step in the right direction” by the universities but that it was only the…
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