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Charter on Sexual Harm to support university communities

Published: 20th November 2023

On Friday 17 November, Universities Australia announced the release of their Charter on Sexual Harm that all 39 member universities – including Murdoch University – are a signatory of.

sexual harm student

Universities Australia Chair Professor David Lloyd said signatories of the Charter are committed to combatting this major societal problem.

“Sexual harm is abhorrent and has no place in our society, which is why we’re committed to taking stronger action,” Professor Lloyd said.

“This Charter will drive new and improved measures to build on the many initiatives already in place at organisations across the nation.”

Signatories of the Charter have committed to:

  • Strengthening, developing, and implementing policies that make it clear sexual harm is unacceptable, acting against any violations of those policies, and taking allegations seriously.
  • Educating and informing university communities how to report incidents and access support.
  • Providing support to all people who report sexual harm and victims of sexual harm, including access to trauma-informed and culturally appropriate support services, enabling confidential disclosure mechanisms, and supporting those who choose to report to the police.
  • Providing clear and easily accessible processes for anyone who chooses to make a report.
  • Ensuring processes follow procedural fairness and are timely, fair to all parties, and, to the greatest extent possible, don’t re-traumatise people.
  • Providing information on how to access an independent review of our process and work in good faith with such independent reviews.
  • Publicly reporting annually on the number of reported instances of sexual harm.
  • Proactively collecting robust data about occurrences of sexual harm and the effectiveness of our reporting and support systems.
  • Working collectively in a research-informed manner to better understand and assist in addressing the prevalence of sexual harm in our wider society and to develop evidence-based approaches for its elimination.

“Murdoch University welcomes this Charter and is committed to this course of action to build on the many initiatives already in place,” Simon Walters, Director Access, Wellbeing and Equity said.

“We have a strong focus on our campuses being a safe and inclusive space for all. While our policies and procedures are a strong indicator of our values and how we ensure they are upheld, respect starts off paper with every interaction you have.

“The wellbeing, safety and respect of others is everyone's responsibility. Everyone has a right to feel respected and safe at all times, and everyone at Murdoch University has a responsibility to uphold this for all of the other members of our vibrant and diverse community.”

You can read more about the Charter on the Universities Australia website.

Preventing sexual harm at Murdoch University

Murdoch University is committed to ensuring our community is free from sexual harm and take our role in making sure our university spaces are safe, respectful places to study and work seriously. We take a trauma-informed approach, which is reflected in our Sexual Harm Policy.

If you have experienced, witnessed, or been informed of sexual harm, view our available resources, including guidance on disclosing sexual harm to Murdoch University.

Making a disclosure is not the same as making a formal report and can be done anonymously. When you fill out a disclosure form, the incident will go through to a qualified Sexual Harm Support Officer (SHSO) to review and consider actions to make Murdoch a safer space. Where contact details are provided, the SHSO can also provide information and advice around getting support and next steps for formal reporting.

Any member of the Murdoch community can make a disclosure. Our SHSOs can then help provide access to specialist services, assist with making a report, and explain University processes. You can email them to request a phone call or face-to-face appointment.

All disclosures are confidential and taken seriously.