Education Minister: Act to address rape at universities

Everyone deserves to learn in a safe environment. But right now, hundreds of university students are being sexually assaulted every week, and too many universities and residences are failing to adequately prevent or appropriately respond.

Advocates have spoken up time and time again about the need for better responses - so that university processes aren’t re-traumatising survivors, and the impacts of sexual violence don’t force students out of their education. Institutions need to be held accountable when they fail students on these issues.

Now there's a critical opportunity to secure change -- with a national review of the entire higher education system about to get underway.

A Panel of Experts has been tasked with recommending the changes needed to ensure Australia's higher education system meets the needs of the nation - and and into the future. It has 7 focus areas for review - ranging from innovation, to investment. And with such a broad remit - there's a real risk that sexual violence gets sidelined as an area for priority action. 

Can you add your name to the call for sexual violence to be treated as a priority in this review process?


More information (click to view) 

Since February 2018 Fair Agenda, End Rape on Campus Australia, National Union of Students and The Hunting Ground Australia Project have been jointly campaigning for an independent, expert-led taskforce with powers to investigate and hold universities and residences to account on sexual violence.

The latest National Student Safety Survey shows 4.5% of students sexually assaulted since they started uni; 53% knowing nothing or very little about how to report; and 43% knowing nothing or very little about where to seek support or assistance. That’s thousands of predominantly young women having their educations and the opportunities associated with that potentially derailed by the violence perpetrated against them, and further by the inadequate response by the institution that should be supporting them.

This national review has been given an incredibly broad remit, with 7 key areas - including: access to education; accountability on obligations to students; and the quality of our education sector – all areas that inadequate action on sexual violence impact on.

Those of us who care about student’s right to learn in a safe environment, and not to have their education derailed by students and staff using sexual violence, are going to have to work hard and smart to re-focus the spotlight on these issues. The first step is going to be building our people power, and the volume of the public’s call for action on this issue.



Australian Human Rights Commission, Change the Course: National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities, 2017, p 49. The survey found 2.3% of women, 1.7% of trans and gender diverse students, and 0.7% of male students were sexually assaulted in a university setting in 2015 and/or 2016.

D for Disgrace, 60 Minutes, 4 March 2018. New students at St Mark's College subject to degrading, sexually abusive hazing, student tells 60 Minutes, The Advertiser, 5 March 2018.



To the Federal Education Minister, 

All students deserve a safe environment in which to learn.

We urge you to address the scourge of sexual violence on university campuses by establishing an independent expert-led taskforce to track, assess and publicly report on university and residences’ measures to prevent, and improve responses to sexual violence.


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Latest activity

Jill , 6233  /  signed 2023-04-18 17:24:45 +1000
"Rape is an obscene act of violence in any environment, but all the more enraging when it happens in a place where men really ought to know better."
Renee , 3057  /  signed 2023-04-07 21:10:52 +1000
Flor , 2905  /  signed 2023-02-27 15:43:17 +1100
"Women’s safety is human rights issue. Women need to feel safe everywhere and specially in a learning institution."
Susan , 6280  /  signed 2023-01-06 17:40:43 +1100
"Safety at University should be secured for all students."
Sharni , 3305  /  signed 2022-12-14 20:35:04 +1100
Amy , 4350  /  signed 2022-12-12 22:43:46 +1100
Emma , 6122  /  signed 2022-12-09 14:33:54 +1100
Tania , 7009  /  signed 2022-12-08 21:12:02 +1100
Beth , 4174  /  signed 2022-12-07 21:29:06 +1100
"Getting an education should not be accompanied by fear of your surroundings."
Kaylene , 5165  /  signed 2022-12-05 09:25:53 +1100
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