National Student Safety Survey results

Content warning: The following post contains reference to sexual assault and sexual harassment that may be distressing to some students. A list of support services is available at

A statement from ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis.

Today, the Social Research Centre, funded by Universities Australia, released the results of the 2021 National Student Safety Survey (NSSS).

The survey, which was conducted in September and October 2021, set out to collect data on the scale and nature of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment. At each university, including ACU, 10,000 students were selected at random to participate in the survey. Responses were voluntary and anonymous.

Across the country, 43,819 students responded to the survey. Almost 2,000 respondents bravely shared their personal stories.

I would like to personally thank the 1,621 ACU students who took part in the survey, and to acknowledge their courage and honesty. Their contribution helps us to understand the nature and prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment in our community so we can determine what changes need to be made to provide safer campuses. We understand that previous well-intentioned measures may have fallen short and we are reviewing these to ensure we can make inroads to improving the safety of our community.

The results of the national survey and an overview of ACU’s results are available on our website. Please be aware that some of the content contained within these reports can be confronting, especially for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The page includes a number of ACU and external resources available for support, counselling and further information.

The survey results indicate that sexual harassment and sexual assault remain relatively common experiences for Australian university students.

Of the ACU students who completed the survey, 11.9% reported an experience of sexual harassment since starting university, and 2.5% of students reported an experience of sexual assault since starting at university. While these figures are below the national average, they are still startling statistics which highlight that ACU has more work to do to better protect and support our students.

Any incidence of sexual assault and sexual harassment is unacceptable. Every person who attends university has the right to be safe and feel safe, and the right to be treated with respect, dignity and fairness.

At ACU, we have been working hard for many years to improve and we are continuing to make practical changes. This year, we introduced a centralised online reporting form for students to disclose incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment to the university. The confidential online reporting form allows students to express their wishes about whether they are seeking support or making a formal report so the university can investigate. 

Finding the right person to speak to in times of need can often be difficult, so this year we will introduce a Safety Support Network to make it easier to identify staff who can help. Specially trained ACU staff will be available to assist students through a disclosure or to give them support and assistance in dealing with a sexual assault or sexual harassment. We will communicate further details about this soon.

  • We know we need to do more, and we are constantly engaging our community to find the best way do it. These findings from the 2021 National Student Safety Survey will guide our ongoing work.

As Chair of the Respect.Now.Always. Advisory Committee, which was established in 2016 to promote and ensure the safety and inclusion of students at ACU, I am personally committed to ensuring that students who report sexual assault or sexual harassment are believed and supported.

Safety and wellbeing of both students and staff is of great importance to ACU and we value your voice.

For more information on the survey results, ACU’s support services or how to make a report please visit or email


Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs