Australian universities are failing sexual assault survivors. It has to change

Imagine that you are a university student who has experienced sexual assault; now imagine being told that you’ll have to wait weeks to talk to a counsellor. This week, End Rape on Campus Australia was contacted by a young woman from UNSW, who was sexually assaulted by a fellow student around a month ago – she has still not been able to receive trauma counselling.

Long wait times for counselling are typical at universities around Australia. Counselling services are stretched so thin that there are simply not enough sessions to go around. Almost uniformly around the country, they are understaffed, underfunded, and not adequately promoted to students. And while the International Association of Counselling Services recommends one counsellor for every 1,000-1,500 students, Australian universities have, on average, only one counsellor to every 4,340 students.

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