Sector guidance to ensure safe campuses

August 4, 2017

The first university response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on sexual assault and harassment at Australian universities has made 18 ‘systematic recommendations’ aimed at creating safer university communities.

On Safe Ground: A Good Practice Guide for Australian Universities, launched by the Australian Human Rights Centre at the University of New South Wales, is the first examination of responses to sexual assault and harassment in a university setting, drawing on the experiences of students and international examples of approaches to tackling the issue.

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) chief executive Anthony McClaran said that On Safe Ground was a welcome resource for higher education providers and offers, in part, a good practice guide to ensuring campuses are safe and students have proper access to support services.

“The second of the report’s systematic recommendations calls for TEQSA to develop guidance materials on relevant Standards of the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) to ensure greater clarity on legislative requirements”, Mr McClaran said.

TEQSA has released guidance material clearly outlining the responsibility of all higher education providers to promote and foster a safe environment for students both on campus and online, and the need for clearly defined complaints policies and procedures.

“The guidance note covers sections ‘2.3 Wellbeing and Safety’ and ‘2.4 Student Grievances and Complaints’ of the Threshold Standards, and aims to offer greater clarity for providers in their interpretation and application”.

The guidance note has been released in draft form for a three-month consultation period, closing 28 October 2017.

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