'PRETTY ANGRY': CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman says any number of sexual harassment incidents is not acceptable.
'PRETTY ANGRY': CQUniversity Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman says any number of sexual harassment incidents is not acceptable. Chris Ison ROK130416cbask2

The awful truth about sexual harassment at Australian unis

ALMOST half of CQUniversity students were sexually harassed in the past year, according to a damning new Human Rights Commission report.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a landmark report into sexual assault figures at Australian universities.

The national survey of 31,000 students across Australian universities revealed more than a half of students, 51%, were sexually harassed at least once last year.

Out of those, almost half were sexually harassed in a university setting.

A total of 381 CQUniversity students completed the survey.

Of the survey respondents, 167 CQUniversity students (44%) said they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the past year.

Out of this group, 53 students indicated the harassment had happened at university.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Scott Bowman said any number of incidents was not acceptable.

"As someone who has daughters and granddaughters, I'm pretty angry and disappointed," Prof Bowman said.

"Universities should be safe and respectful places to learn and interact with others, and largely this is the case.

"That is why any instance of sexual harassment or assault, regardless of where it occurs is completely unacceptable."

Of the group surveyed 4.2% (16 people) indicated they had been sexually assaulted in the past two years and of these two had happened at uni.

"What I think is clear within both the national findings and our own institution findings, is that the issues addressed in this report are also issues affecting society at large," Prof Bowman said.

He said far-reaching education in the community was needed to change attitudes and reinforce the importance of respectful relationships and consent.

Another worrying aspect to the survey, Prof Bowman said, was 93% (47 people) of respondents who experienced harassment did not make a formal complaint to the uni, because they did not think they needed to, or because they thought it wasn't serious enough.

"We have good very good procedures and policies in place to deal with this," he said.

"But if people don't know how to report it or we're not making it clear enough, then that's something we've got to do."



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