25 March 2022

USU Statement on the National Student Safety Survey

On Wednesday 23 March, the results of the 2021 National Student Safety Survey were released. More than 43,000 students completed the survey. Their contributions identified that 1 in 6 students have been sexually harassed in a university setting, and that 1 in 20 students have been sexually assaulted in a university setting. Importantly, the NSSS reiterates that women, non-binary people, trans people and disabled people are significantly more likely to experience sexual violence on campus. 
These results confirm what survivors have been shouting for years: that rape culture continues to thrive on campus, that sexual violence disproportionately impacts marginalised communities and how, throughout all this, universities, and student organisations, like ours, are failing to do enough for student safety.
The survey highlighted that 26.7% of sexual assaults in a university context happened at clubs and society events and that 43.3% of sexual harassment occurred in general campus areas. Only 1 in 4 and 1 in 6 sought the university’s help with their assault and harassment, respectively. This is because over half of these students reported that they knew little to nothing about the formal support systems in place to help survivors. 

The USU, as your student union, are shaken by these results and know that we must do more to support survivors and prevent sexual violence on campus. We hope to be part of the solution for creating a safer campus, but this also starts with acknowledging where we have been responsible. We commit ourselves to improved communication, more detailed policies, better training, and better advocacy for the cultural shift that needs to happen, where survivors feel safe and valid in coming forward with their disclosures, no matter the perceived level of seriousness, and where they see proper outcomes. 
This year, in collaboration with the SRC, SUSF, SUPRA and Student Life, we have instituted mandatory Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault online training module and Mental Health First Aid training as well as First Aid and Responsible Service of Alcohol for select clubs. We want to proactively equip and empower our club executives so they can quickly and confidently respond to disclosures and maintain safety of all their members at events. We’re also in the ongoing process of reviewing all our relevant policies, especially related to Camps, with an eye towards improving the accessibility of information to Executives and members. But our work does not stop here. USU has a zero-tolerance for harassment or violence in any form and we will be bold in addressing this crisis on campus. 
From here, we encourage clubs to come along to our 11 April forum which will be running through our safety policies in detail, and we also encourage any students who feel affected by these results to reach out to the University’s Safer Communities office for support if needed. If you also wish to communicate your experience/struggles within the USU as an executive or member of a club, feel free to reach out to our Programs office at: d.programs@usu.edu.au.
Everyone deserves to feel heard, respected, and safe. Change is coming and we recognise and thank all students for their courage in speaking up. 
USU Board
Resources and Support Services available
USU Programs Office
If you wish to communicate your experience or struggles within the USU as an executive or member of a club, feel free to reach out.

Safer Communities Office
Specialist staff who provide trauma-informed support and case management to survivors of sexual misconduct.
+ 61 2 8627 6808
Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.30 pm
Student Counselling Service
+61 2 8627 8433 or +61 2 8627 8437
(within Australia) or text +61 488 884 429 (for
SMS chat)
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
After hours mental wellbeing support line
1300 474 065 (within Australia)
or text 0488 884 429 (for SMS chat option)
Monday to Friday, 5pm to 9am
24 hours on weekends and public holidays
Campus security number
02 9351 3333 or 1800 SYD HLP (793 457)
Available 24 hours, 7 days a week for your safety
Inclusion and Disability Support
+ 61 2 8627 8422
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm
Racial discrimination support
1800 SYD HLP (793 457)
If you need to report an incident of racial discrimination call our confidential helpline.
24/7 counselling service for international students
International students currently enrolled and studying in China, India, Myanmar, Singapore, and Hong Kong, can engage in confidential single-session counselling.
You can access the service by emailing:
Or visit the Student Website for phone numbers in your home country.
Download the TalkCampus app and chat with students around the world, 24/7, in a safe, supportive and encouraging multilingual environment.
The TalkCampus app provides free and instant support for your mental health and wellbeing, allowing you to chat anonymously in your first language, give and take advice and make friends globally.
Search 'TalkCampus' on Google Play or the App Store.