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Sector update: Respect @ Work

This sector update provides information and resources for higher education providers in implementing recommendations from the Respect @ Work report.

The Respect @ Work report provides recommendations about the prevention and response to sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace.

For further information from TEQSA about prevention or response to sexual assault or harassment in higher education, you may contact studentwellbeing [at] teqsa.gov.au.

Respect @ Work report

In January 2020, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) released its Respect @ Work: National inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces report. This report included 55 recommendations, 2 specifically referencing the Australian higher education sector (the sector).

Sexual harassment prevention by universities and other tertiary education institutions
 

Recommendation 11
 

Building on work already underway in response to the recommendations in Change the Course, all tertiary and higher education providers deliver evidence-based information and training on sexual harassment for staff and students that addresses the drivers of gender-based violence and includes content on workplace rights.
 

Recommendation 12
 

Recognising that some smaller tertiary and higher education providers lack the necessary resources and expertise to deliver the information and training identified in Recommendation 11, the Australian Government should support those providers to do so, for example through the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency and the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

 

These recommendations seek to make Australian higher education a safe place to study and work. In support of that goal, TEQSA has recommitted to supporting the sector in delivering these recommendations.

TEQSA’s support of the sector

Since August 2017, TEQSA has worked alongside the sector to improve and assure providers’ capacity to prevent and respond to sexual assault and sexual harassment. TEQSA’s focus has been on students’ safety and wellbeing.

The Respect @ Work Inquiry and its resulting recommendations focus on sexual harassment in the workplace, which includes staff in higher education work settings. Consequently, TEQSA’s focus in this area has broadened to include sexual harassment of staff.  

Drivers and remedies are similar for the sexual assault and sexual harassment and the Respect @ Work issues and TEQSA will continue to support the sector to combat both.

TEQSA resources

External resources