Release of 2021 National Student Safety survey results

More than 1,300 University of Adelaide students participated in the survey and provided information about their experiences.

Today, the University of Adelaide released its results from the 2021 National Student Safety Survey (NSSS). 

The results for the higher education sector as a whole have been released by Universities Australia, our peak body.

More than 1,300 University of Adelaide students participated in the survey and provided information about their experiences. 

2021 results indicate there is still work to be done, and the University of Adelaide is committed to stamping out sexual harassment and assault, and to transforming the attitudes behind them.

University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Peter Høj, said he was deeply appreciative of students’ candour.

“I thank the students who participated in the survey, and who shared their experiences of these deeply sensitive and challenging issues, and I apologise to students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviours at the University, and to any students who have not felt supported or heard.

“The survey results reflect a growing body of evidence that shows how pervasive sexual assault and sexual harassment are in all areas of our society. Sexual assault and sexual harassment must not be tolerated, and we recognise that we have a collective responsibility, along with the rest of Australia, to prevent sexual violence and to support victims and survivors.

“These behaviours have no place at our University, or in society. The only acceptable number of cases is zero.

“The information shared by students will help us to take further action, recognise where existing measures need improvement, and identify areas where there are meaningful signs of progress and change. The University will be working through the student feedback provided by students, and the suggested actions in the report, to determine how we can best implement them.”

The University of Adelaide is committed to building a culture of respect. Following the 2016 survey, the University commenced implementation of all nine of the recommendations from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Change the Course report. These took the form of a 65-point action plan which, along with a number of other measures, have been put in place to improve support services and reporting processes. 

More recently, the University of Adelaide introduced a Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy that covers all aspects of student life. The Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Information Network (SASHIN) was also established, with specialised training provided to members to enable them to support students in seeking help or making a report. The University is also developing an Integrity Unit through the Transforming Culture team, which will provide central administration of the investigation, management and reporting of complaints and misconduct. 

The Transforming Culture team and key University leaders will also immediately begin working through the valuable feedback and advice provided by students in both the qualitative and quantitative survey report, to determine how that information can be incorporated in our policies, procedures and actions, and will be engaging more fully with specific student cohorts to ensure policies and procedures are inclusive and in line with international best practice. 

This information may be distressing and there are a number of organisations that can provide assistance and advice. 

  • 1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732 or online 
  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 or online  
  • QLife: 1800 184 527 or online
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 or online
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or online
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