LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is calling on Australian universities to prioritise the safety of LGBTIQ+ students after findings from the National Student Safety Survey showed LGBTQ+ students were more likely to experience sexual harassment and sexual assault in university contexts.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people and other sexuality and gender diverse (LGBTIQ+) people and communities.
The findings of the Survey showed a disproportionate number of LGBTQ+ students have faced harassment and sexual assault on campus, and in other contexts such as events and residences.
The survey found that in these university contexts, 39.7% of pansexual students, 33.1% bisexual students, 23.3% of students who were unsure or questioning their sexuality, and 22.9% gay or lesbian students had been sexually harassed, compared with 13.0% of heterosexual students. Trans and gender diverse students also reported high rates of sexual assault in a university context.
“The current systems are failing LGBTIQ+ students. Universities should be safe places for our communities and the research continues to tell us this isn’t this case,” said Nicky Bath (she/her), Chief Executive Officer of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia
“Although these numbers are shocking, they are not surprising given what we know about the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people and communities. Data from the Set the Standard Report into Commonwealth Parliamentary Workplaces, released late last year, as well as data from Private Lives 3 all tell similar stories, and that’s that our experiences and our needs must be prioritised in prevention and response,” Ms Bath said.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is calling on candidates for the federal election to commit to policies that support the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people, including a plan to prevent all forms of family, domestic and sexual violence.
“That requires the next National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children to include LGBTIQ+ people, and funded, targeted actions that specifically address violence against our communities. The next parliament needs to ensure that community-controlled organisations are properly engaged to deliver the recommendations of the Set The Standard report.”
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia stands with all victims and survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Nicky Bath, Chief Executive Officer