The Australian National University's response to the Rapid Context Report

22 November 2017

In August 2017 the University commissioned independent research consulting firm Rapid Context to undertake an independent review of all policies and procedures related to sexual assault and harassment. The researchers consulted staff and students, to provide the University with a report in September 2017.

The report, the Review of The Australian National University's sexual assault and sexual harassment policies and procedures, has been provided to the Respectful Relationship Steering Group, Working Group and the Student Working Group.

These groups have considered the recommendations of the report and have in turn made recommendations for a response that has been endorsed by the ANU Executive.  

All groups agreed not to proceed with the recommendation to provide a 24/7 hotline, as it is already being provided by existing services.

The actions that the University will be undertaking include:

  • Implementing a comprehensive framework, strategy for responding to sexual assault and harassment at ANU - including support, accountability and reporting and details on how there will be regular ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of ANU responses.
  • ANU will review the procedures and mechanisms under which disciplinary action may be taken.
  • The University will continue to improve its communication to make very clear its values regarding the rights all students and staff have to be safe, and its commitment to gender equality and the rights of people of diverse genders and sexualities and the actions that ANU will take when these values are transgressed.
  • Providing a 'first-stop' unit to support survivors, to coordinate university responses to sexual assaults on campus and to work towards constantly enhancing ANU's responses by analysing the effectives of the university's responses.
  • Improving communication and making the complaints process clearer and easier for complainants to find and navigate. This will involve providing user-friendly versions of policies and templates for reporting on the website and making them easier to locate and use. ANU will also raise awareness of support and training options within the University for students.
  • ANU will conduct further research to inform appropriate methods of mediation and restorative justice mechanisms. We will also consider implementing an institutional restorative engagement program.
  • ANU will also research the experiences of HDR students at the University, the vulnerabilities that they experience, and the policies and procedures that may best address their needs.
  • The University will make training on the policies and procedures regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment more available to all students and staff. We will also review and revise current training to ensure that it is culturally sensitive and is appropriately evaluated.
  • ANU will also develop clear timeframes for implementing review recommendations and ways to evaluate effectiveness of changes.

Download the report (PDF, 1.9MB). Please note all names have been removed to protect privacy.