Adelaide University issues apology to sexual assault victims, establishes integrity unit to deal with reports of sexual assault

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The University of Adelaide has issued a public apology to sexual assault victims while promising a raft of changes to improve the handling of reports of sexual assault and harassment, in response to an independent review, as hundreds of school students rallied in the city against sexual violence.

In August last year, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) Bruce Lander found disgraced former vice-chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen committed "serious misconduct" by sexually harassing two women.

Mr Lander recommended the university review its policies, procedures and guidelines in relation to sexual harassment and also recommended an education program for all university staff on sexual harassment.

In response to the ICAC's recommendations, the university commissioned an independent report by KPMG.

University of Adelaide vice-chancellor Peter Hoj said the report made 22 recommendations, all of which would be adopted.

He said five of the recommendations, including the establishment of an integrity unit to which students and staff can report sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour, had been prioritised for immediate action.

"As vice-chancellor, I want to take this opportunity to apologise to victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other inappropriate behaviour occurring at the University of Adelaide," he said.

"Sexual assault, sexual harassment and other inappropriate behaviour are found across our society – and Australia's higher education sector is no different.

"This behaviour is not acceptable in our society, and there is no place for it here at the University of Adelaide. The only acceptable number of cases is zero."