How to report sexual misconduct

Know your options

Before making a report about sexual misconduct, it's important to understand the options available to you.

You can contact any of these on-campus services to help you understand your reporting options:

Your reporting options may include:

Once you have the information you need to make a decision about what you want to do, ANU will act in accordance with your wishes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances could include where the University deems a report to the police is necessary to protect you (or others) from harm, or to stop a further crime taking place.

It's up to you to decide whether to lodge a formal complaint. There is no time limit on making a complaint.

Whatever you decide to do, ANU will help you access relevant counselling, medical or legal services, including referral to the Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC). The CRCC is the specialist service in Canberra for victims of sexual assault. The CRCC provides crisis and ongoing counselling support, information about medical options and legal options.

Reporting to the police

To report to general duties police or to discuss the reporting process before deciding to make a formal report, call the ACT police on 131 444. They can then refer you to the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Team (SACAT), a trained police team, if you choose. You can bring another person to meetings with the police to support you.

The police have substantially more resources and powers than ANU to investigate sexual misconduct, particularly serious cases. The police can investigate historical allegations and, if asked, the University will cooperate with the police by providing any records and other information to support a police investigation.

Reporting to ANU

When you make a complaint to ANU, the University will firstly consider whether any precautionary action needs to be taken. Precautionary action could include separating you from the accused person. ANU will ensure that support and assistance is provided to you and the accused person. The support measures for each student will be provided separately, meaning the students should not be provided with the same counsellor.

There is no time limit on making a complaint to ANU, but it's important to know that if you make a formal complaint to ANU, there may be limitations on the action the University can take if evidence has been lost or destroyed with the passage of time, or if one or both parties have left the University.

Reporting a student

If you are reporting an allegation of sexual misconduct against a student, you can report to the Registrar (Student Administration). The Registrar will consider acting under the ANU Discipline Rule.

Reporting a staff member

If making an allegation of sexual misconduct against a staff member, you should contact the Director, Human Resources.

ANU may review your complaint under the misconduct provisions of the Enterprise Agreement.

Once you've lodged your complaint with ANU, the formal inquiry process will begin. 

Anonymous complaints

Sexual harassment or sexual assault generally involves two or more people. It is not possible for the accused person to respond to an allegation that they have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual assault unless a report has been made.

Where ANU receives a number of reports about the actions of a particular student or staff member and where the students making the allegations wish to remain anonymous, ANU may decide to act.

ANU will make inquiries into situations that are enabling a particular student or staff member to engage in inappropriate conduct, and take measures to reduce the likelihood of further incidents occurring.

Consequences for sexual misconduct

If misconduct is found, penalties ranging from no further action to exclusion from ANU may be applied. Penalties generally fall into three bands, but may be applied in combination.

  • Restorative - examples include apology, mediation, separations, conditions on future enrolment
  • Educative - examples include undertaking a course, counselling or support services
  • Punitive - examples include monetary fine/compensation, suspension, exclusion

Feedback for the Respectful Relationships Unit

We welcome your feedback about your experience of engaging with the Respectful Relationships Unit. You can do this by emailing