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National Student Safety Survey

In September 2021, Charles Darwin University (CDU) participated in the National Student Safety Survey (NSSS). The survey collected data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

This included experiences on-campus or off-campus, among university friends or staff, during participation in sporting clubs, student societies or other social gatherings, in student accommodation or on university field trips or competitions.

Student safety and wellbeing was at the centre of the entire survey process, and all higher education and VET students from the last five years at CDU received an invitation to participate in the research.

We acknowledge that this was difficult for some students but we wanted everyone to be able to tell their story in their own words.

The valuable responses received will help form universities’ responses to student safety and wellbeing into the future.

CDU is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning, working and living environment. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are unacceptable. Changing unacceptable attitudes and addressing the drivers of sexual violence across societies is complex work, and it takes sustained effort.

If you are a student who is affected by sexual assault or harassment or you have any questions, please contact Student Support on 1800 610 963 or email equity@cdu.edu.au.

Our CDU after-hours support line is open 24/7 to offer support.  Call 1300 933 393.

Background information

In February 2016, Universities Australia began the Respect. Now. Always. initiative. Supported by all Australian universities, this sector-wide program aims to prevent sexual violence in university communities and improve how universities respond to and support those who have been affected.

Now, Australian universities have commissioned and funded the National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) to run in 2021. The survey will collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The NSSS will run during September and will build on the foundational survey undertaken in 2016 to provide a national picture of what is happening in student communities.

Student safety and wellbeing will be at the centre of the entire survey process, and all higher education students at Charles Darwin University will receive an invitation to participate in the research.

The survey will be conducted by the Social Research Centre (SRC) in partnership with leading violence prevention expert Associate Professor Anastasia Powell of RMIT and draws on an advisory group of experts. The survey instrument was piloted by university students from the Australian National University and Charles Sturt University.

There are concerns that COVID-19 may have increased experiences of gender-based violence, including sexual violence and online abuse. Certain groups, including young women, are more likely to experience this kind of violence.

Charles Darwin University is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning, working and living environment. Sexual assault and sexual harassment are unacceptable.

Actions taken from the results of the first survey
  • The establishment of a Respect. Now. Always Committee. This Committee is still in place in 2021 and continues to meet and review CDU’s undertakings in regard to CDU’s 10-Point Action Plan and additional items raised by the Committee.  The Committee meets quarterly and reports to the Vice-Chancellor and the Senior Executive Team/VCAC meetings.
     
  • Development of the Contact Officer Network, which comprises staff across CDU who receive training in assisting others to find support, make a report or determine their next step. 
     
  • Implementation of Consent Matters – an online module to provide information to staff and students about sexual assault and harassment, what is it, and how to be a proactive bystander. 
     
  • Staff training:  The Respect.Now.Always Training Subcommittee conducted a review of university job roles to determine the staff most likely to receive disclosures of sexual violence. The online training in Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Violence was rolled out to staff in each of the identified areas and was completed by all members of the Contact Officer network.
     
  • The development of a Quick Response Protocol.
     
  • A review and update of policy – leading to the development of the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Assault and Harassment Policy.
     
  • Community Forum held each year (except in 2020) to discuss actions under RNA, report back to CDU community, and discuss key issues.

Charles Darwin University is committed to providing a safe, secure and supportive environment. If you, or someone you know, has experienced sexual misconduct, we encourage you to lodge a report.  

You can lodge a disclosure, make a formal report, or report anonymously.  An anonymous report may limit the University’s capacity to effectively support you or respond to the incident. 

Make a report