Sexual violence prevention and response
Content warning: This webpage contains information about sexual assault and sexual harassment which may be distressing for some people. For support, contact Health, Safety and Wellbeing.
About this page
The Australian National University (ANU) is committed to providing a safe, respectful and inclusive environment for our community on our physical campuses as well as online. We are continuously working to achieve a culture that is free from sexual and gender-based violence. Our holistic response to prevention covers three key areas:
Governance, strategy and action plan
The University has taken progressive steps to meet the recommendations found within the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Change the Course Report and the ANU Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy (SVPS).
- We released our first action plan – The Student Safety and Wellbeing Plan (2022-2023).
- We’ve set up a Student Safety and Wellbeing Committee which reports directly into ANU Council.
- We have updated our Sexual Misconduct Policy and implemented a new procedure for dealing with reporting.
- We’ve expanded teams across Student Safety and Wellbeing, Residential Experience and the Office of the Registrar. There are now more resources to support our students and staff, to ensure we are delivering against our Student Safety and Wellbeing action plan (2022-2023).
- We will conduct our first mid-term review for the Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy by August 2023.
- We’ve formed a Student Safety and Wellbeing Steering Group, including student representatives, who meet monthly and have endorsed an action plan.
- We’re developing a regular student forum which includes senior members of the University to continually gauge student insights on what is working and where we need to improve.
Prevention and response
We’ve established the Respectful Relationships Unit (RRU) sustainable cultural change through evidence-based education and professional services. The RRU has developed the following prevention initiatives:
- In January 2023, the Rights, Relationships and Respect program launched. This is an education program which introduces new students at ANU to core concepts about consent and respectful relationships and is mandatory for students living in residence.
- Released the Respectful Relationships Unit's (RRU) sexual violence prevention toolkit, a practical guide to help implement change across all areas of ANU.
- New staff training programs are being piloted this year to further support our student facing staff and their work.
- Implemented the Residential Community Safety Officer program across residences to add additional safety and support to our residential students after hours.
Additionally, ANU has been working on uplifting and expanding the current support services offered to students and staff for reporting, disclosures and case management through the Student Safety and Wellbeing Team.
- The Student Safety and Wellbeing in partnership with staff development teams and the Higher Degree by Research (HDR) team hosts training sessions to support staff dealing with student disclosures and other matters across Colleges and Service Divisions on campus.
- We’ve successfully recruited additional GPs and appointed a Nurse Practitioner to improve access of care and address gaps. Our Nurse Practitioner provides focused sexual health care and wellbeing support for students.
- Two new case managers have joined our team - including a fluent Mandarin speaker who has worked extensively with international students. Students can drop into the Health and Wellbeing Centre in Kambri to speak with a case manager.
Institutional reports and communication
The documents, communication and reports below demonstrate our ongoing commitment to improving institutional transparency and accountability about incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus. Read below to find out what the university has done in response.
- In August 2017 the University commissioned an independent review of all policies and procedures related to sexual assault and harassment to find ways to update and improve them.
- In May 2018 the University commissioned an independent review of ANU Residences' Response to Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment.[JB1]
- In November 2019 the University released the Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy 2019-2026. Developed over a two-year period, the strategy sets out a long-term, evidence-based and strategic approach to effectively prevent and respond to sexual violence across the University.
- In March 2022 the University responded to the Universities Australia National Student Safety Survey (the NSSS) which ran across the Australian university sector in late 2021.
- In March 2022 the University published and accepted all the recommendations from the Independent Assessor's Report of our Sexual Violence Prevention Strategy, led by expert Lyn Walker.
- In March 2022 we released the first Sexual Misconduct Report and Disclosures for incidents lodged with the University between 2019 and 2021.
- In May 2022 the University published more detailed results from the NSSS.
- In May 2023 the University released the 2022 ANU Sexual Misconduct Reports and Disclosures.