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Support for students impacted by sexual assault and/or sexual harassment

At UniSQ we understand that experiencing sexual violence can be traumatic and an isolating experience, which is why we want you to know that you are not alone.  Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment are never the fault of the person experiencing it and support is available.

UniSQ is here to help

UniSQ has specially trained and experienced staff in the Safer Communities and Student Wellbeing team to support you.

Any member of the University community who has experienced Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment is encouraged to share a concern to seek support for and report your concerns.

You don’t need to know if your experience fits a definition to seek support from UniSQ, but it can be helpful for some people to know what kinds of behaviours make up sexual assault and sexual harassment what consent looks like.

Sexual harassment is any unsolicited, unwelcome and unreciprocated behaviour, act or conduct of a sexual nature that embarrasses, humiliates or offends another person. It can be a single incident or repeated incidents.

This may include:

  • unwelcome touch, staring or leering
  • making suggestive comments or jokes
  • displaying sexually explicit pictures, posters or videos
  • making sexual gestures or suggestive body movements
  • an unwanted invitation to go on a date or to have sex
  • asking intrusive questions about a person's private life or body
  • requests for sexual favours
  • unwelcome physical contact, such as brushing against or touching a person
  • unwelcome comments regarding a person's gender or sexual preference
  • sending sexually explicit emails or messages.

Sexual harassment is unlawful no matter where it happens, including in educational settings.

Support is available for anyone impacted by sexual harassment.

Sexual assault is forcing, pressuring or tricking someone into sexual activity that you did not want or without your consent.

Sexual assault includes:

  • inappropriate touching without consent
  • forcing someone to perform a sexual act
  • forcing someone to view a sexual act
  • any sexual behaviour to which a person has not given consent or who does not have the capacity to consent.

Sexual assault is a crime and support is available for anyone impacted by sexual assault.

Consent is an ongoing conversation of checking what kind of conversation and sexual activity others are comfortable with, only proceeding with enthusiastic and affirmative YES.

Consent must be agreed each and every time.

For consent to freely and voluntarily agreed, it must be agreed:

  • enthusiastically
  • affirmatively, a clear YES! (if someone stays silent or still, doesn't respond, tries to stop you or says 'maybe', they aren't saying yes)
  • fully awake and in control (not drunk or high)
  • with the capacity to understand what they are consenting to
  • without pressure, fear, manipulation or threats
  • by someone of the legal age to consent (16 or 17 depending on the Australian state or territory you live in)

People often think that agreeing on consent ruins the mood. In fact checking consent leads to better sex and more flirty conversations for everyone. Try saying:

  • Are you okay with this?
  • Does this feel good to you?
  • How far can I go?
  • Want me to keep going?
  • We can change it up anytime, just let me know.

And waiting for an enthusiastic YES!

If you happen to hear a no for sex or flirty conversations, it can be disappointing. It’s up to you to respectfully accept someone's no. Nobody owes you an explanation for their no and it is not about your worth as a person. It is about the other person's wants and needs.

There are many ways you can accept a no and then moving on, try saying:

  • No worries
  • I respect that
  • thanks for telling me
  • I get it
  • Okay.

You can seek support for yourself and report your experience to UniSQ via Share a Concern.

Specially trained and experienced staff from the Safer Communities and Student Wellbeing Teams respond to all reports of sexual violence reported to UniSQ. Your information will remain confidential to these teams.

Safer Communities and Student Wellbeing use a trauma-informed approach and will help you to understand your experience, plan for your safety, seek ongoing specialist support and discuss formal reporting options. Safer Communities will be there to support you, every step of the way.

You can ask UniSQ to investigate your experience and take action. To do this you will need to make a formal complaint to UniSQ. Safer Communities can escalate a report to a formal complaint with your consent on your behalf. You will not need to do anything more than talk to Safer Communities.

You can also choose to make formal complaint directly to the Grievance Resolution Unit. If you do this, the Grievance Resolution Unit will refer you to Safer Communities for support.

You can seek support, information and advice from specialist sexual violence support services. There are lots of different services across Australia, contact 1800Respect for information about specialist services close to you in your state or territory. Safer Communities can also connect you with a local specialist support service via Share a Concern.

For culturally safe support contact 13 YARN.

Our students embrace university life and culture – not only because of the experiences they’re given access to everyday, but because of the opportunities they have to make an impact.

For people who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment, the right support can make all the difference for their recovery and their seeking support from specialist services.

How you respond and support someone who has experienced sexual violence matters.

Start By Believing

It's not your job to determine if something did or did not happen.

When someone tells you they have experienced sexual violence you should start by believing them.

  • Say things like "I believe you" or "it took a lot of courage to tell me about this, thank you" or "I'm sorry this happened, I am here to listen or help any way I can”.
  • If you're not physically with them, ask if the person is safe right now. If they are not safe, help them to call 000.
  • Ask if they want another trusted person with them right now.
  • Check if they are comfortable with you (consider your gender, age and cultural safety)
  • Ask before you touch. Even if you are trying to offer comfort.
  • Avoid 'why' questions, which can leave people feeling blamed or judged.

Encourage Connection to Support

Supporting someone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment can be complex.

It's important to encourage a victim-survivor to connect with support and to seek support for yourself also.

  • Encourage the person to connect with specialist services or specially trained UniSQ staff. Offer to call or visit these services with them.
  • Don't assume that the person wishes to make a formal report to UniSQ or Police, but offer to share the information above if they want to hear it.
  • If the person experienced an assault very recently, encourage them to see their GP or contact Safer Communities for further advice on medical care or forensic examination.

Plan for Safety

Encouraging the person to plan for their ongoing safety will aid their recovery and them feeling supported.

  • Visit and work through 1800RESPECT safety planning resources together
  • Encourage the person to connect with UniSQ Safer Communities around making a safety plan.
  • If the person is an employee, they can contact People Portfolio for support around making a safety plan.
  • Connect with UniSQ Security Team.
  • Install the SafeZone app and login using your UniSQ email and password.

Being accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment can be tough. People often feel isolated, alienated, and unable to speak to trusted family or friends. Support is available for anyone impacted by accusations of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

UniSQ Student Wellbeing Counsellors are available to provide free and confidential counselling for any student impacted by sexual assault or harassment, including those who have been accused.

Support is available through UniSQ Student Guild for advocacy and information. Particularly where there have been formal complaints made to UniSQ.

There are also external support services available for those who have been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment:

Share a concern

We all have a role to play in building a respectful community.


Anyone can notify the University about student behaviours or experiences that they are concerned about, including sexual assault or harassment.