The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a report on sexual assault and harassment of university students. The report details disturbing instances of sexual assault and harassment. The impact on survivors has at times been catastrophic.
The Commission’s report raises questions about the duty of care that universities owe to their students and what recourse victims of on campus sexual assaults may have against the institutions.
If a College or University is aware or ought to have been aware of a students propensity to commit indecent acts (such as sexual assaults, sexual harassment or bullying) and failed to stop it, they may be held liable for failing to protect other students from this risk. In one case, a college was known among the students as a college that harbours a very misogynistic culture and one in which sexual assaults are allegedly commonplace. If this statement was found to be true it could be argued the College endorsed a culture where this type of behaviour (sexual harassment, sexual degradation of women students and sexual assaults) was acceptable. If it could further be argued that as the College created the culture and the danger, or at least allowed the culture to exist, a component of the duty of care they owe to students could be to protect them from this type of harm.
Also of relevance is how the university or college responds specifically to a person who has been sexually assaulted.
If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault or bullying and you want to know where you stand please call Peter Moore, Compensation Lawyer of Brazel Moore Lawyers on (02) 4324 7699. It is important to remember that time limitations do apply and legal advice should be sought at the earliest possible time.