Over 100 Staff & Students At USYD Reported Sexual Misconduct Last Year, According To Report

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses sexual assault.

More than 100 staff and students at the University of Sydney have reported sexual harassment or assaults in the last year. The alarming numbers have been revealed in a new annual report on sexual misconduct which was started in the hopes of improving transparency and accountability around sexual harm reporting within the institution.

The report, which was released on Monday, showed that the university received 121 reports of sexual misconduct: 74 were cases of sexual assault and 47 were sexual harassment cases.

55 of these reported incidents were categorised as “university-related conduct” which means that the incident either happened on campus or the perpetrator was a student or staff member at the institution. 66 of these reported incidents were defined as “non-university related conduct” which means that a student or staff member reported being the victim of sexual misconduct off campus, as per The Sydney Morning Herald.

It was also reported that 23 students made formal complaints, which resulted in an investigation, while 98 made a “disclosure”, meaning that they notified the university about the situation.

(Image Source: Instagram / @sydney_uni)

Professor Mark Scott, the University’s vice chancellor, has hypothesised that the high number of reports in 2022 could be related to the return of students in 2021.

“We pledged to be transparent and share the full story about sexual misconduct in our community. Today, we are upholding this promise,” he said, per The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Given the considerable doubt surrounding the university’s efforts in this area, this report is a significant opportunity to reaffirm our commitment.”

The new sexual misconduct report comes after Aussie universities were put under pressure to improve their handling of such cases since the Human Rights Commission’s Change The Course report in 2017, which revealed that 51 per cent of students were sexually harassed at least once in 2016. Off the back of this report, universities were recommended to be transparent about the sexual harm on campus, with all 39 Australian universities agreeing to do so.

But according to the National Student Safety Survey (NSSS) released in March, the high rates of sexual violence hadn’t really shifted.

Then in April, the Australian Human Rights Institute discovered that three-quarters of Aussie unis were “not perceptibly reporting sexual violence despite their promises to be transparent”.

In the University Of Sydney’s report on sexual misconduct, they claim to have already undertaken “significant work” to create a “safer and more supportive environment” for their students and staff. So far, they’ve initiated a Roadmap into the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct, which outlines a series of projects and initiatives undertaken by the Safer Communities Office.

As a result of these initiatives, the university claims to have had a 34 per cent increase in referrals relating to sexual assault, and 105 per cent increase in referrals relating to sexual harassment in 2022, compared to 2021.

Fingers crossed this inaugural annual report on the uni’s sexual misconduct is a further step in the right direction. No one deserves to feel unsafe and unsupported while they’re literally trying to learn and set up their future.

Help is available.

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about sexual violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.