Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has developed information and resources to support the higher education sector in preventing sexual harassment and assault which can be useful for RTOs in safeguarding staff and student wellbeing.

Higher education institutions, including VET organisations, can be a big part of addressing gender inequality and changing social norms, with direct influence on people’s attitudes during the critical transition from school to work or career change. Training providers can also play a role in building awareness amongst students about their rights at work more broadly, including in relation to sexual harassment.

To support the prevention of sexual harassment in a training organisation, RTOs can deliver training for staff and students which addresses the drivers of gender-based violence and includes content on workplace rights.

While complaints about sexual harassment are not explicitly addressed in the Standards for RTOs, Standard 6 requires that an RTO’s complaints policy and practices can manage and respond to any allegations involving the conduct of:

  • the RTO, its trainers, assessors or other staff;
  • a third party providing services on the RTO’s behalf, its trainers, assessors or other staff; or
  • a learner of the RTO.

Where ASQA receives a complaint from a student alleging sexual harassment or assault, we recommend the student raise their allegation either with the police in their jurisdiction or the Australian Human Rights Commission. We may also take regulatory action to ensure any complaint has been dealt with fairly, efficiently and effectively.

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Keywords
TEQSA, Sexual harassment