Media releases

Media Release: CAPA calls on universities to take action on sexual assault

20 Jul 17

Ahead of the release of the results from the National University Student Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment, the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) has launched a series of recommendations for reforms at Australian universities.

CAPA has formulated 19 recommendations with short, medium and long-term goals in order to meaningfully address this issue. These include

  • the provision of information to survivors, staff, and student leaders on how to deal with incidences of sexual assault;
  • clarification and consolidation of reporting procedures; and
  • initiatives aimed at changing the culture within universities through the strengthening of community standards.

A full list of recommendations can be found here

These recommendations provide real, and achievable reform that is focused on safety for all students on campus. Universities, which were sent a copy of these recommendations earlier this week, are being asked to demonstrate that they intend to take action to combat sexual assault and campus safety by signing on to these recommendations.

By agreeing to implement these recommendation, Australian universities reassure their students that they are being proactive in addressing this important ahead of the report’s release.

These recommendations come out ahead of the results of the sexual assault and sexual harassment survey performed by Universities Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission. The results are expected to be announced on August 1.

Alyssa Shaw, CAPA Women’s Officer, said:

“Universities that fail to act are creating a safe environment for perpetrators, not students.

“CAPA is calling on Vice Chancellor’s to show strong leadership on this issue by acting on these recommendations to ensure student safety, just outcomes and systemic cultural change.”

“We want Universities to be prepared to act quickly, which is why these recommendations also include immediate actions necessary before the survey release on 1 August.”

Peter Derbyshire, CAPA National President, said:

“Our recommendations are designed to provide a plan that ensures that Vice-Chancellors across the country can implement change in a progress and measured fashion.

“The recommendations are designed to ensure high levels of student consultation in the process of their implementation.”

“There is nothing within these recommendations that should be too difficult to implement if Vice-Chancellors truly want to show reform in this area.

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For more information or to arrange interviews with CAPA representatives Alyssa Shaw and Peter Derbyshire, contact (0435 047 817) or (president@capa.edu.au).