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MEDIA RELEASE: CAPA welcomes follow-up survey on SA/SH in universities

16 Aug 19

CAPA welcomes follow-up survey on SA/SH in universities

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) welcomes Universities Australia’s announcement of a follow-up survey on sexual assault and harassment in universities, as promised following the release of the Change the Course report in 2017.

We are encouraged that the survey will include extensive consultation with students, including with groups, such as End Rape on Campus, which have been instrumental in advocating for change.

We look forward to representing the unique concerns of postgraduate students to the survey team as part of the consultation process.

Research students are vulnerable to inappropriate behaviour from their supervisors due to the power dynamic involved. The follow-up survey represents an opportunity to systematically gather data on this issue for the first time. CAPA strongly encourages Universities Australia to include this issue in the survey, and we look forward to collaborating with our member organisations and others in the sector to advocate for change.

“The Change the Course report two years ago highlighted the prevalence of sexual violence in university communities, sparking many conversations in the sector about the culture we create and inhabit,” says CAPA National President, Natasha Abrahams. “The follow-up survey is an opportunity to examine if any universities have been successful in reducing sexual violence in their community, and will provide the sector with data illuminating where action is needed.”

“Women need to be given a safe environment to work in so they can be successful. For female postgraduate and research students, collecting data will be a crucial step in addressing inappropriate relationships between students and their supervisors and the link to future career success,” says CAPA Women’s Officer, Romana Begicevic. “We welcome this opportunity to better represent and support the success of women in academia. It is wonderful that the follow-up survey has been announced during Bluestocking Week, which celebrates women’s participation in higher education.”

Furthermore, we encourage the survey team to consult with and incorporate feedback from other peak bodies including the National Union of Students, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association, the Union of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students, and the Council of International Students Australia.
For comment:
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993