Last Week Al Jazeera released a documentary titled ‘Australia: Rape on Campus’ which focuses on the experiences of international student survivors of sexual assault. The Human Rights Commission’s ‘Change the Course’ report found that five percent (or 7665) of international students are sexually assaulted each year, with more than a quarter of incidents happening in a university setting.
Some international students are afraid to report sexual violence due to social isolation, fear they will be blamed for their assault, and due to the belief that their student visa may be affected. The threat of visa cancellation is often used by abusers.
Al Jazeera also highlighted the results of a Freedom of Information investigation that found 575 sexual misconduct complaints to universities had resulted in only six expulsions. Many perpetrators were given apology letters and even a $40 fine as punishment. It is heartbreaking that cases of plagarism have been treated much more seriously than sexual assault.
The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 requires universities to give overseas students information about living and studying in Australia, including information about safety on campus and while living in Australia. Education providers must comply with the National Code to maintain their registration to provide education services to overseas students.
It is a atrocious that universities are not giving this vital information to international students and are failing to meet basic legal requirements. It is time for the government to step in and take actions against universities who are failing to act on student safety. If you wish to be involved in the campaign against sexual assault, please get in contact with the SRC Women’s Officers and join the Women’s Collective.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.