External group needed to combat sexual assault in New Zealand universities


Researchers have called for an external oversight body in response to the number of sexual assault cases at New Zealand universities.

Otago University PhD students Kayla Stewart and Lily Kay Ross spoke to TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning to discuss their research into the prevalence of sexual violence and how best to address it.

Their findings from a survey of New Zealand university students’ sexual experiences, revealed that one in three students surveyed experienced some form of sexual assault, including rape.

It comes after a TVNZ Sunday investigation into the handling of sexual violence allegations at Otago University, in which students reporting allegations of sexual harm felt they were not being taken seriously.

Ms Ross said New Zealand universities are “lagging behind what’s going on in the USA at the moment”.

She added that there are “a number of universities trying to figure out policies and procedures” about dealing with sexual assaults and that there “tends to be quite an emphasis on victim support, so putting staff in place at a range of universities to be able to support people after these sorts of events”.

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