AHRC National Report

August 1, 2017

In support of the Universities Australia (UA) Respect.Now.Always. campaign, Bond University has today released its institutional survey data that complements the national report undertaken by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The AHRC Report was commissioned by UA and is part of the university sector’s commitment to tackle the issue of sexual harassment and assault which is a significant matter in our society that must be addressed. 

The AHRC Report includes the results of a national survey of university students conducted last year. Bond has now issued the results from the survey of all of its students as part of its commitment to the objectives of the campaign and in the interests of transparency.

Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford, recognised the significance of the issue and acknowledged that the survey results were confronting both locally and nationally.

“Today is a wake-up call, and we understand that the issue of sexual harassment and assault is real and attitudes need to change, both in society and within the university sector.  One case is one case too many," he said.

“The problem is not new but the AHRC report demonstrates that we must find new solutions. 

"We are supportive of the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission, and have already implemented the majority of the measures they have proposed.”

Professor Brailsford said that Bond has long-standing initiatives including 24/7 security surveillance and support to ensure campus safety, on-campus residential managers, counselling services, on-line resources and strong disciplinary action. 

“However, we must do more," he said.

“We have introduced specialised training for front-line staff and residential managers, embedded educational content in the curriculum, implemented an educational campaign, increased the level of support information and resources, and provided regular briefings for students.

"Respect and consent sessions are now delivered to residential students. Dedicated lecture content has been introduced for all undergraduate students at the start of each semester.

"Further, we have taken steps to improve the visibility of support services for our LGBTIQ students with the expert assistance of the Queensland Aids Council.

"We have also reached out to the Queensland Police Service, who have partnered with us to provide additional support, including sending a female officer to campus to take confidential statements from any individuals who have experienced a sexual assault.

“We will also be undertaking a comprehensive review of our disciplinary processes and procedures to ensure that we have the power to deal with perpetrators quickly and effectively, including suspension and expulsion."

The University’s Chancellor the Hon Dr Annabelle Bennett AO SC commented that Bond’s Council, the highest governing body of the University, regarded the issue with priority and urgency.

“The Council of Bond University is fully supportive of the strategy and actions taken. However, there is always more that we can do and the University remains absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our student community and to ensuring a culture of respect,” she said.

“This is a national issue and one to which the university sector cannot be immune. We trust that the leadership taken by our universities, including Bond, assists in raising awareness and changing culture through education.”

The President of the Bond University Student Association, Mr Christian Whitfield said that the close engagement between students and Bond University on this issue was helping to address the challenge. 

“The Student Association has been involved in the campaign since its inception. We encouraged every student across campus to take an interest and complete the survey,” he said.

“There is an elevated awareness of the issue across campus and Bond’s openness and transparency has been greatly appreciated by students. Together with the University we are committed to the cause.

"Our goal is to create an environment that not only advocates for the prevention of these incidents, but equally creates avenues to the appropriate support systems if and when required." 

The Human Rights Commission's full report can be found at https://www.humanrights.gov.au/

Access Bond University's institutional survey data 

Bond University recognises that sexual harassment and assault is a significant and ongoing issue, both in society and within universities.  Hence, we have been an active participant in the RNA campaign and we continue to strive for improvement.  Our University is committed to providing a safe, respectful and nurturing environment for our students. The university has undertaken many initiatives including the introduction of a formal training program for our frontline staff including bespoke education programs delivered by Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia.

Other initiatives include:

  • improved coordination and alignment of support services  
  • the provision of extensive, up-to-date information and readily accessible advice to students via the student portal and website
  • a review and subsequent intervention strategies to assist and promote the wellbeing of our LGBTIQ community
  • the RNA awareness campaign including targeted sessions for students and student-facing staff
  • the embedding of relevant educational content into the core academic curriculum, including a focus on consent, making it a mandatory requirement for all undergraduate students
  • improving, streamlining and simplifying reporting procedures
  • review and delivery of “Code of Conduct, Bullying and Harassment for Academics” training 
  • the establishment of a partnership with Queensland Police Services (QPS) that involves presentations during O-week, advice from the QPS and the sensitive handling of reports from victims and statements of evidence.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault, you can call the following:

  • If you're in an immediate emergency, dial 000
  • Student Services on 07 5595 4002 
  • Campus Security on 07 5595 1234
  • Lifeline Telephone Counselling 24 Hours Line on 131 114
  • The Crisis Counselling Service on 1300 363 622
  • The Sexual Assault Line on 1800 010 120