Shocking statistics released by the Human Rights Commission on sexual assault at university campuses yesterday show 55 per cent of students at The University of Newcastle (UON) had been sexually harassed on campus.

The statistics have been compiled from data gathered in 2016 which found within the 55 per cent of students who had been assaulted, over half had little to no knowledge of where to get support.

Additionally, 92 per cent of the respondent from UON didn’t seek support for sexual harassment, with the most common reason being ‘ I did not think it was serious enough’.

Maitland MP and Shadow Minister for The Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jenny Aitchison is calling on the State Government to do more in a bid to stop the prevalence of harassment and assault on campus.

Shadow Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Jenny Aitchison


The MP says the key to stopping sexual assaults on university campuses is early education.

“Because these kinds of crimes don’t start just in university, the attitudes and believes that underpin that terrible crime are actually present at a much younger age so we think it’s important to address some and the education system needs to start engaging with students,” said Jenny Aitchison.

NSW Labor has pledged to join “Our Watch”, a joint initiative established to drive nation-wide change in the cultures underpinning violence against women.

“NSW is the only state that has so far not joined up to “Our Watch” and what that does is it provides the support for innovative programs for example “Respect for Relationships’ from K-12 have been rolled out in Victoria which was based on a pilot developed through “Our Watch” so its about having the best evidence based programs out there,” said Jenny Aitchison.

The statistics released yesterday also stated 78 per cent of perpetrators were fellow UON students, and that public transport was a particularly concerning area where assaults had taken place.
“It accrues right across the spectrum, the report has identified that public transport has been an area of concern for students and risks for students and where assaults and harassment have occurred. The government has a responsibility to ensure that everyone who uses our public transport system is safe from harassment or assault,” said Jenny Aitchison.