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“USQ expects respect.”

That’s the word from Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Verbyla who today released USQ’s findings from an independent nation-wide survey of university students into incidents of sexual harassment and assault.

USQ survey results are available at www.usq.edu.au/respect.

Late last year, Universities Australia, representing its member universities including USQ, commissioned the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct a national survey into sexual harassment and sexual assault in university student communities.

The largest-ever survey of its kind undertaken across Australia’s 39 universities is part of the sector’s Respect. Now. Always. campaign aimed at addressing the challenges such issues have in every country and society.

USQ, along with all other Australian universities, issued its institutional results today following the earlier publication of the national survey’s findings posted on the Human Rights Commission’s website (www.humanrights.gov.au).

Professor Verbyla said that the survey provided USQ with a checkpoint on how well the University’s approach to tackling these issues was succeeding.

“The findings from the survey will also help inform us on how we can continue to move forward in deterring sexual harassment and assault at USQ,” she said.

“The survey results suggest, as do USQ’s own reports, quite low rates of sexual harassment and even lower instances of sexual assault.

“We are paying close attention to participants’ responses as part of our focus on our continuing improvement practices.

“At USQ, our ongoing and wide-ranging efforts to promote a safe and reassuring environment is built around positive relationships including mutual respect and support for diversity.

“We already have a number of comprehensive policies and procedures in place to ensure that any reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault within USQ are responded to fairly but firmly.”

Professor Verbyla added that the survey results suggested students were subjected to a higher level of sexual harassment and assault outside the University.

“USQ, being well known for its student support, will continue to give whatever assistance it can to any University member who experiences sexual harassment or assault anywhere,” Professor Verbyla said.

“Sexual harassment and assault is wrong at every level and in any location and USQ will continue to play its part in tackling head-on the circumstances and situations where such instances occur.”