University of Sydney criticised over sexual assault handling

Date: Mar 13, 2017

The University of Sydney has come under fire for its perceived lack of action over sexual assault cases occurring on the academic institution's grounds.

According to Channel 7 News, a freedom of information (FOI) request revealed that 58 cases of sexual misconduct were reported to the university over the last five years, including instances of harassment and sexual assault.

NSW Police records show that 13 sexual assaults were formally reported to officers as having occurred at the university over the five-year period.

Female students have now launched a number of initiatives in response to the university's alleged failure to provide support for victims.

A series of events aimed at addressing the issue were launched in Orientation Week, including self-defence classes, consent-awareness activities and panel discussions regarding sexual violence.

Providing effective support

Anna Hush, women's officer at the University of Sydney, launched the peer-led support group Survivor Network, which aims to help victims of sexual or domestic abuse.

"The Survivor's Network has been formed in response to the systemic lack of support systems for survivors. It is so crucial to create a space where survivors feel safe to talk, and can connect with one another and share their experiences," she explained.

It is not the first time Ms Hush has raised concerns about sexual misconduct at the university. In August last year, she told the Sydney Morning Herald that 15 women had approached her since December 2015 regarding alleged sexual assaults or harassment.

The university last year released the results of a survey that showed nearly 25 per cent of female student respondents had experienced some form of unacceptable behaviour. More than 6 per cent had specifically suffered harassment, sexual assault or stalking.

"These statistics suggest that there is a large number [of] survivors on campus, many of whom won't have reported their assault formally," Ms Hush added.

Claiming compensation for sexual assaults

One way that victims of sexual assault can ensure their voices are heard is to speak to an experienced lawyer to see whether there is any legal recourse open to them.

Compensation is available for people who have suffered through sexual, physical and mental abuse, although many claimants simply want justice to be served against those responsible.

If you or a loved one would like to discuss these issues in more detail, Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can provide a free face-to-face or in-person consultation.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.