Strengthening Australian university responses to sexual assault and harassment

The Strengthening Australian University Responses to Sexual Assault and Harassment Project is part of a strategic initiative directed at examining the issues raised by the 2014 American documentary The Hunting Ground, as they relate to the Australian context. 

The Hunting Ground, directed by the Academy Award-nominated film-making team behind The Invisible War, focuses on sexual violence in American universities and highlights, for Australian universities, the importance of developing effective prevention strategies and reporting mechanisms to address this issue.

Building on research undertaken by the National Union of Students, the project focuses on the development of effective and appropriate institutional responses to sexual assault and harassment in Australian universities, with a focus on the needs of women, LGBTQI students and international students.

The Australian Human Rights Centre at UNSW was engaged by The Caledonia Foundation to design and undertake the project. The report On Safe Ground: Strengthening Australian university responses to sexual assault and harassment was released in August 2017, making 18 recommendations, including the establishment of a national cross-university task force to focus on consistent policies, procedures and practices relating to sexual harassment and assaults on campus.

On Safe Ground is the first Australian report to thoroughly examine responses to sexual assault and harassment in a university setting and draws strongly on the experiences of students and international examples of university approaches to the issue.

Key project partners

  • The Hunting Ground Australia Project (THGAP)
  • Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW Law
  • Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Universities Australia
  • National Union of Students (NUS) 

Reports

  • On Safe Ground: Strengthening Australian university responses to sexual assault and harassment - A Good Practice Guide for Australian Universities
  • Local Perspectives: A case study on responses to sexual violence in a university setting