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Media release: Go8 supports National Action Plan on student safety

February 23, 2024

The Group of Eight (Go8) comprising Australia’s leading research-intensive universities, are united in ensuring all students and staff feel safe, supported, and welcome.

Go8 Chief Executive, Vicki Thomson said the release of the Action Plan to Address Gender-Based Violence in Higher Education and the establishment of a National Student Ombudsman are critical initiatives in the ongoing shared commitment to safety of all staff and students on our university campuses.

“Go8 universities, and indeed all universities, have a responsibility for working with our communities in preventing and responding to sexual harm. Each of our universities have strong policies and procedures in place for preventing and responding to sexual harm however we recognise that there is more to do.

“We are committed in our work to continue to improve our approaches and impact.

“Providing a safe environment for our 450,000 students and 50,000 staff is paramount. We regard student safety as fundamental and non-negotiable to guarantee that every student receives the best possible experience at university.

“We recognise the implementation of the Action Plan and the introduction of a new National Higher Education Code to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence is an extremely complex task, particularly in terms of navigating jurisdictional, regulatory, and legal issues and we will work with the Government to ensure these new measures deliver on their intent.

“Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment is a major issue for the university sector as it is for society – we recognise that it is a sector issue, but the Go8 has always taken a proactive approach to putting evidence-based policies and procedures in place to prevent and respond to sexual harm.

“Our universities are home to world leading experts in the development of primary prevention initiatives. The Go8 SASH Working Group established in 2021 meets regularly to provide a forum for sharing best practice and developing solutions to address SASH challenges. The Go8 has also developed a set of principles that members have collectively committed to.

“Go8 universities, with our world leading researchers and practitioners will work collaboratively with Government to provide expertise to support and inform an evidence-based implementation of the Action Plan.

“We are 100 percent committed to building a thriving, inclusive and safe community for our staff and students, now and for the future,” Ms Thomson said.

Contact: Vicki Thomson, Group of Eight Chief Executive on +61 438 047 155