National Student Safety Survey (NSSS)

Content warning: this post mentions sexual assault and harassment, with no explicit detail. Resources for support are available at the bottom of the page.

What is the National Student Safety Survey (NSSS)?

The NSSS is being conducted across all Australian universities to measure student perceptions and experiences of their safety at university, and to estimate the prevalence of incidences of sexual harassment and assault. The aim of the survey is to inform universities about when and where such incidents might be occurring, how students might be seeking help and information, and to improve university responses and preventative measures for student safety and wellbeing.

How can I participate?

Only 10,000 students at the University of Melbourne will be randomly selected and contacted to complete the survey between 6 September and 3 October. Participants are being randomly selected to generate a sample representative of the wider university population. Selected students will be contacted by email and/or SMS, and can then choose to complete the 10-minute survey. This means that it is likely the survey will get less than 10,000 responses from students at the University of Melbourne, representing the experiences of less than 20% of current students. 

How can I share my experiences?

If you’ve been chosen for the survey, we encourage you, within your capacity and wellbeing, to respond to the survey.  

The survey uses a random sampling of students, disproportionate to the total size of the student body. A majority of students will not be chosen for the survey. However, we at UMSU and GSA want all students to feel empowered to contribute to this research, to ensure that the views and experiences of students who have experienced sexual harassment or assault during their studies are not underrepresented or erased. An anonymous online form will be made available at nsss.edu.au for the same duration as the survey, through which any person who is currently enrolled or has been enrolled at an Australian university within the past 5 years can share their experience. 

Where can I go for support?

We understand that the subject of sexual assault and harassment can be extremely distressing. We want you to know that the Women’s Office Bearers of UMSU and GSA are wholeheartedly committed to supporting students and survivors because we care. Two of the Guiding Principles that inform how we respond to sexual harassment and assault on campus are ensuring that all policies and support services are victim-centred and trauma-informed. This means that we will always put student needs and autonomy first, and do our utmost to ensure that we minimise re-traumatising survivors wherever possible.

If you would like to make a report or disclosure, or simply learn more to make an informed decision, you can contact us at womens@union.unimelb.edu.au and women@gsa.unimelb.edu.au. All interactions with the Women’s Officers are private and confidential.

You can also make use of the following support services:

External support services

1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732, www.1800respect.org.au
Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 1800 806 292, www.sacl.com.au
Lifeline: 13 11 44, www.lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636, www.beyondblue.org.au
MensLine: 1300 78 99 78, www.mensline.org.au
QLife (referral service for LGBTQ people): 1800 184 527, www.qlife.org.au
Djirra (family violence support for Aboriginal people): 1800 105 303, www.djirra.org.au
CASA House – Centre Against Sexual Assault: (03) 9635 3610, casa@thewomens.org.au
Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic (for STI testing and walk-in medical advice): (03) 9341 6200, https://www.mshc.org.au
Victoria Legal Aid: 1300 792 387, https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

University of Melbourne services

Safer Community Program: (03) 9035 8675 safercommunity.unimelb.edu.au
Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS): (03) 8344 6927 services.unimelb.edu.au/counsel/home
Campus Security: (03) 8344 6666
Chaplaincy (faith and spiritual care): students.unimelb.edu.au/student-support/health-and-wellbeing/faith-and-spirituality<
University Health Service: services.unimelb.edu.au/health

UMSU & GSA

UMSU Sexual Harm and Response Coordinator: patrick.tidmarsh@union.unimelb.edu.au
UMSU Legal Service: https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/support/legal/
UMSU Advocacy: https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/support/advocacy/
UMSU Women’s Officers: womens@union.unimelb.edu.au
GSA Women’s Officer: women@gsa.unimelb.edu.au

For more information about resources for students and survivors:
https://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/support/survivors/