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End Rape on Campus Australia welcomes UNSW Human Rights Centre’s landmark report, ‘On Safe Ground’

PRESS RELEASE | 3 August 2017

EROC Australia welcomes UNSW Human Rights Centre’s landmark report, ‘On Safe Ground’

For immediate release

 

End Rape on Campus Australia welcomes the release of the UNSW Human Rights Centre’s landmark report, ‘On Safe Ground’, which provides a comprehensive analysis of sexual violence at universities. This report will be critical in shaping universities’ responses to sexual assault and harassment, and represents a clear, evidence-based framework on which to base future action.

 

The key findings of the report echo what students, survivors and advocacy groups have maintained for decades: that universities have an ethical responsibility both to prevent and to respond to sexual violence in their communities, and that, to date, they have comprehensively failed to fulfil this responsibility. This history of institutional failure has made universities complicit in the harm that student-survivors have experienced.

 

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s report, released on Tuesday, paints a harrowing picture of sexual assault and harassment in university communities. However, this research alone will not reduce the prevalence of sexual violence - it must be followed up by swift and rigorous action. ‘On Safe Ground’ provides the roadmap that universities must follow if they are to follow through on their rhetoric with genuine action.

 

We note that the recommendations in ‘On Safe Ground’ align closely with those made in EROC Australia’s submission to the AHRC project, ‘Connecting the Dots’, which was released publicly in January.

 

“The ‘On Safe Ground’ report is a much-welcomed, rigorous response to sexual violence within our university communities. At its core is a recognition that universities have a duty of care to their diverse student bodies, and that they must do more to engage with those students in order to enact real change. We strongly urge all of Australia’s 39 universities to engage with their students and to implement the recommendations of the report”, says End Rape on Campus Australia Founder & Director, Sharna Bremner.

 

“As places of research, universities should be looking to academic evidence in their efforts to improve sexual assault prevention and response. The recommendations of this report - transparency, consistency, accessibility and enforceability - provide a new standard for universities to meet”, says End Rape on Campus Australia Ambassador, Anna Hush.