Sexual harassment and sexual assault response and support
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The University's holistic response to sexual assault and sexual harassment is divided into three areas.
- Education and prevention
- Reporting, disclosures and case management
- Institutional response and reporting
This website houses reports and strategies relevant to the University's institutional response to sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus (institutional response and reporting)
Information on education and prevention is available on the Respectful Relationships Unit website
For help and support with disclosures or reporting, please visit the Student Wellbeing website.
This page contains information on how to disclose or report an incident of sexual misconduct (which includes sexual harassment and/or sexual assault) and how to access the support available both at ANU and through community services. For information on the prevention and education initiatives visit Respectful relationships - ANU. If at any point you need time-critical or emergency support, please call 000.
Support to those that have experienced sexual assault and / or sexual harassment is provided through the ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing team.
The ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing team offers free and confidential* support for students who have been impacted by sexual assault or sexual harassment (directly or indirectly) as well as a range of other concerns that may impact on a student's engagement and experience while at ANU.
The service's Case Managers have backgrounds in health, social work, counselling and human services. Case Managers work from a person-centred and trauma informed clinical framework and aim to provide coordinated support, information and referrals for students.
* Please note there are legal limits to confidentiality. These limits will be outlined to you by a Case Manager
To contact the Student Safety and Wellbeing team email email@example.com, phone 6125 2211 or visit the Health and Wellbeing Centre Level 3 Building 156 Joplin Lane, Kambri Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and ask to speak to a Case Manager in the Student Safety and Wellbeing team.
If you need assistance completing a disclosure or would like further information you can organise a confidential conversation with a Case Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning (02) 6125 2211.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or any other unwelcome sexual conduct in circumstances in which the person who is exposed to the conduct reasonably feels offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment can include:
- Displays of sexually graphic materials including posters, cartoons or messages left on noticeboards, desks or common areas
- Repeated invitations to develop a closer or intimate relationship after prior refusal
- Unwelcome and uncalled for remarks or insinuations about a person's sex or private life
- Comments of a sexually suggestive nature about a person's appearance or body
- Sexually offensive phone calls
- Offensive emails and text messages of a sexual nature
- Unwanted sexual attention using internet, social networking sites and mobile phones
- Revenge porn
- Sexual propositions
- Indecent exposure
- Pressuring a student or staff member to engage in sexual behaviour for some educational or employment benefit, or
Making a real or perceived threat that rejecting sexual behaviour will carry a negative consequence for the student in education, accommodation, or University programme or activity.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour you have not consented to. Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim and can take many forms ranging from:
- unwanted touching
- exposure to sexual acts
- sexual images taken without consent
- any form of sexual penetration.
Sexual assault is a crime in all Australian jurisdictions.
What is consent?
Consent is when two or more people explicitly agree to participate in a sexual act including intercourse, kissing and touching. Consent to sexual acts is freely given.
You are unable to consent if you are:
- asleep, unconscious or significantly affected by drugs or alcohol
- unable to understand what you are consenting to
- pressured or coerced to have sex because of threats, force, fear, or harm to yourself or someone else
- under the age of consent which is 16 years in the ACT.
Consent can be withdrawn at any point, including after a sexual activity has begun.
What is a disclosure and who can lodge one?
ANU puts the wellbeing and needs of the person who has been impacted by sexual harassment or sexual assault first, and will act in line with their wishes.
We acknowledge that disclosing sexual harassment or sexual assault can be a difficult decision, and that a person must feel safe and confident that any disclosure will be treated respectfully and appropriately.
A disclosure using the ANU Sexual Misconduct Form allows you to let the ANU know - either directly or supported by someone - that you have experienced or witness sexual harassment and/or sexual assault. The disclosure can be about an incident:
- that happened on-campus or off-campus
- that occurred recently or historically
- that involved someone related to the ANU, or where the alleged perpetrator has no relationship with the ANU.
You are in control of how much information you provide in the disclosure form about your experience.
ANU Service providers and Residential Halls and Colleges can also lodge Disclosures, these would normally be de-identified providing minimal information to assist the University with broader education, prevention and safety interventions.
Why should I make a disclosure?
Completing a disclosure form, allows one of the ANU Case Managers to reach out to you to provide with information and coordinated personalised support around your safety, wellbeing and academic progression and with your consent link you to appropriate and specialist ANU and community services.
What information do I have to provide as part of completing an online disclosure to the ANU?
You are in control of how much information you provide in the disclosure form about your experience, your identity and the identity of the alleged perpetrator (if known).
You will be asked to provide some information i.e. the location of the incident and the type of behaviour you have experienced or witness. You can still do this without identifying yourself or others involved. This information assists us to identify areas that may require broader education, prevention and safety interventions.
De-identified and aggregated general data is used for reporting purposes. If you don't want to be identified, you can create a disposable email address exclusively for the disclosure by following the instructions offered by Google or another email provider.
You can exit the disclosure form at any time prior to submission.
What is the difference between lodging a disclosure and lodging a report to ANU/ police?
A disclosure is a mechanism for the ANU to provide you with information and support. Lodging a disclosure does not prevent you from also looking at your reporting options both within the ANU and directly to the Police.
Reporting means making an official complaint in a documented process. Reporting to ANU means that ANU will review the allegation and decide whether to proceed with an enquiry under a particular Policy or the Discipline Rule. A report under the Discipline Rule is lodged with the University Registrar's Office.
Reporting to Police means giving as much information as possible to begin a police investigation. You can meet with the police to talk about the reporting process before you decide whether you want to make an official report. There is no time limit on reporting: you can make a report no matter how long ago the incident took place.
What happens with my disclosure?
ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Managers monitor the disclosures daily. Case Managers are professional staff with expertise in trauma informed and person-centred processes and the provision of care and support to people that have experienced sexual misconduct. Interaction with a Case Manager are confidential.*
Within 72 hours of the ANU receiving an online disclosure, a Case Manager will be in contact through the email provided in the disclosure to provide general information on the support available at the University and through community services.
The Case Manager will offer to meet with the person that lodged the disclosure in person (COVID-19 restrictions permitting), by phone or Zoom/Teams to discuss safety plans and personalised support that can be provided through the ANU and in community. The Case Manager can also discuss options for reporting to the ANU or external bodies such as the Police.
For time-critical or emergency situations, please call 000 or present to your nearest emergency ward. For afterhours support, you can contact one of the following services:
- 1800 Respect 1800 737 732 (24/7);
- Canberra Rape Crisis (02) 6247 2525 (7am - 11pm)
- Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7);
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 476 (24/7)
- ANU Crisis Support Line 1300 050 327 or text 0488 884 170 (5pm - 9am Mon - Fri and 24/7 weekends and public holidays)
Is my disclosure confidential?
The information you provide during the disclosure will be kept confidential and any identifying information will not be shared with anyone without your consent*. Other than the Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Managers, the Practice Lead Sexual Misconduct Team also has access for the purposes of providing information, support and de-identified reporting.
A Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Manager can explain how your information is managed and discuss consent to release relevant information for the purpose of safe making (a variety of measures to assist minimise potential harm to any person and to address safety concerns), referral to support services and/or facilitating academic accommodations.
De-identified and aggregated data is used for reporting purposes. The reports are prepared by the Practice Lead Sexual Misconduct to ensure your privacy and confidentiality is maintained.
* Disclosures are kept strictly confidential except in exceptional and limited circumstances, for example, where there is an immediate and serious risk to yourself or others or if the person impacted by sexual misconduct is under 18 years old. In such circumstances, ANU will be required to notify third parties, such as the Police or child protection authorities as the circumstances require.
How can a Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Manager assist me?
Case Managers provide a single point of contact for ANU students and staff who have experienced sexual misconduct or who are supporting someone who is not yet ready to lodge a disclosure or Report to the ANU through the Discipline Rule.
Case Managers put the safety and wellbeing of the person who has been subjected to sexual harassment or sexual assault are at the centre of all responses and can assist with a coordinated approach to:
- Safe making on-campus or Residential Hall or College
- Safety information and links to community services for students in off-campus accommodation
- Information and referrals to specialist support services at ANU and community services
- Information on Reporting processes within ANU and Police
- Developing support plans to work through what support a person needs to continue with studying or working
- Coordinating support required at the ANU - including negotiating academic accommodations and administrative processes, referrals and liaison with community services, and for students living on-campus - liaising with Residential Halls/Colleges.
How do I make a report to the ANU?
The ANU Discipline Rule ('the Rule') is a legislative instrument that governs the University's formal process for inquiring into reports of student misconduct, including sexual misconduct. The Rule affords due process and allows actions to be taken when findings of misconduct have been made.
The Rule relies on an impacted person to submit a formal report to the University - a separate process to that of a disclosure. The reporting process outlined in the Rule is based on the principles of procedural fairness, meaning that the respondent, against whom the report is made, is afforded a fair opportunity to view and respond to the report. The Rule allows for penalties to be applied where a finding of misconduct has been made, ranging from a reprimand to exclusion from the University.
The health, safety and wellbeing of the University community is a primary consideration in the application of the Rule.
It's up to you to decide whether to lodge a formal report under the Rule. There is no time limit on making a report.
For further information about reporting to ANU and/or to submit a report to the Registrar, Division Student Administration and Academic Support (DSAAS) please visit Office of the Registrar, Student Misconduct - Staff Services - ANU or email email@example.com.
Whatever you decide to do, ANU will help you with safe making options, pastoral and academic support through the ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing team.
What can I do if I have been accused of sexual misconduct?
Being accused of perpetuating sexual misconduct is a serious matter and can be a traumatic experience. ANU's duty of care applies to all parties named in a disclosure or Report with the University committed to following due process and natural justice in the interests of all parties.
If you have been accused of sexual misconduct you can be supported by an ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Manger by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (02) 6125 2211
You also have access to the following services to support you during this time and provide you with information to assist with your decision making:
- ANU Counselling to help deal with feelings related to being accused, decision-making, and concerns about relationships
- ANU Dean of Students provide confidential, impartial advice including information on University policies
- ANUSA can provide free independent advice and support navigating University policies and procedures
- ANUSA can provide you with information in gaining independent legal advice
Please be aware that as part of safe-making processes, the ANU and/or Residential Hall or College may put in place precautionary measures. These measures are intended to use reasonable attempts to ensure the wellbeing of all those involved and the wider community.
How do I respond to someone who has made a disclosure to me?
Receiving a disclosure of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment can be a difficult thing. It is important to remember that you are not alone and you can contact an ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Manager if you need support, information or de-briefing.
The University also offers free and confidential counselling for students through the ANU Counselling) and staff (Employee Assistance Program).
The following provides you some steps on how to support someone through a disclosure.
- Attend to immediate safety needs
Determine if there are any immediate safety or wellbeing concerns for the person who is making the disclosure. For time critical support, call emergency services on 000. If you are on-campus, please also contact ANU Security on 6125 2249.
Continue to access the safety and wellbeing needs of the person making the disclosure throughout your conversation.
- Listen, believe, be supportive and explain your role
Listen and be supportive - It can be very hard for someone to disclose sexual assault and sexual harassment. Find a quiet space to talk and give the person your full attention. Let them tell you at their own pace, without interrupting or asking direct or probing questions about the experience. Silences are okay. Letting someone, take charge of what they disclose enables them to reclaim some control.
Believe the person - Do not ask 'why' questions. Validate their experience by acknowledging their distress. Saying 'I am sorry for what has happened' can be heard as 'I believe you'; saying 'What happened to you is never okay' can be heard as 'This is not your fault'. Let the person know they are not alone.
Explain your Role - Be upfront about your role and limits to your role. It is ok to say you need assistance from someone to ensure you can provide the best support and information. Do not make promises you can't keep or take responsibility to resolve the matter if it's outside the limits of your role.
Maintain confidentiality - Treat the disclosure respectfully and do not share details with others without permission unless the person who is making the disclosure is under 18 or you have concerns about their safety and wellbeing.
If you are in a residential hall or college, explain any requirements you have to communicate with your Head or Wellbeing Coordinator/ Residential Life Manager that you have received a disclosure. In most instances this communication can be de-identified.
- Refer to support
Part of your role as a first responder is to provide the person with information so they can make an informed choice about what to do next.
It is essential for the person making the disclosure to maintain control over their decisions. They may or may not want to talk to a support service. If they do, they need to find one with whom they feel safe to discuss their experience.
- ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Managers - provide confidential information and support and can assist the person work out what support they need. Support can include safety plans, short-term emergency housing, or changes to class scheduling, assessment extensions and referrals to specialist services within the ANU and in the community including Counselling, Police, etc. Case Managers can provide secondary consultation to staff who are supporting individuals involved in incidents of sexual misconduct.
- Canberra Rape Crisis Centre: 7am-11pm DAILY(02) 6247 2525 (voice calls) 0488 586 518 (text)
- Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA):- 7am-11pm DAILY(02) 6247 2525 (voice calls) 0488 586 518 (text)
- ANU Crisis Support Line 1300 050 327 or text 0488 884 170 (5pm - 9am Mon - Fri and 24/7 weekends and public holidays)
- Police - In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000) or for police assistance call 131 444
- Visit www.anu.edu.au/students/health-safety-wellbeing/getting-help-at-anu/urgent-support - ANU for a comprehensive list of ANU and community services.
- Explain disclosure / reporting options
Remind the person they have an option to lodge a disclosure form with the ANU, report to the ANU or report to the Police. If they are unsure, they can discuss the options with an ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Manager who can assist them clarify the options and provide information on each of the processes.
Some survivors will not want to pursue resolution pathways at the stage of the disclosure and you need to respect that decision.
- ANU Online Disclosure form - can be de-identified and allows a person to document an incident they have experienced or witness. They can provide as much or little information as they are comfortable. An ANU Case Manager will make contact within 72 hours to provide support if contact details are provided.
- ANU Report - a report can be lodged to the Registrar, Division Student Administration and Academic Support (DSAAS). The Registrar will consider and assess the complaint under the ANU Discipline Rule. For further information about reporting to ANU and/or to submit a report to the Registrar, please email email@example.com.
- Reporting to the Police - information on reporting to the police can be accessed at Sexual Assault | Australian Capital Territory Policing (act.gov.au)
- Self-care - contact a support service to debrief
It can be difficult hearing and supporting someone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment. It is important to look after yourself and have a confidential debrief if you need to.
You are encouraged to contact available support services including:
- Employee Assistance Program (staff):1800 808 374
- ANU counselling (students) - 02 6125 2211
- ANU advisor to staff - firstname.lastname@example.org
- ANU Student Safety and Wellbeing Case Manager - particular for information and support regarding the disclosure process: 02 6125 2211 email@example.com
- If you are in a residential hall or college - you can talk to your Head or Wellbeing Coordinator / Residential Life Manager for support.
If not already done, complete the ANU online Sexual Misconduct Disclosure Form to alert the institution of the incident - it is possible to maintain confidentiality of all by completing the de-identified disclosure form.