ANU inquiry process

ANU makes inquiries into reports of sexual misconduct made against its staff and students on campus.

ANU has rules in place which govern unacceptable behaviours for staff and students. ANU will make an inquiry and then make a decision about an allegation according to the rules of procedural fairness.

It is important to note that criminal law also applies to conduct on campus, the same as it applies to all other places. Some forms of sexual assault, including rape, are criminal offences that are tried and punished in the court system. ANU does not have the same investigative resources or powers as the police. The Canberra Rape Crisis Centre can provide information and support to you if you are considering reporting sexual assault to police.

Inquiry timelines

All reports that involve the safety of students are actioned as soon as possible. Once allegations are reported to ANU the accused person is advised and given the option to respond.

Inquiry timelines are approximate. Gathering information can depend on a variety of factors including the willingness of people to be involved as witnesses or the time taken to obtain and analyse electronic material - for example organisations like Facebook have their own rules about whether they will provide ANU with material data.

ANU aims to complete inquiries into alleged sexual misconduct as soon as reasonably possible, allowing for procedural fairness.


The most serious allegations will be heard by the Vice-Chancellor or someone appointed by the Vice-Chancellor.

For ANU to be satisfied that certain misconduct has occurred, the University will make a finding under the civil standard of proof also known as the balance of probabilities (which means that it was more likely than not that something occurred in a certain way).

The criminal standard of proof, 'beyond reasonable doubt', requires a higher standard of proof - essentially that there is no alternative explanation for the conduct that is alleged to have occurred and is considered by courts that apply strict standards of evidence.

Penalties for students

The Discipline Rule allows for a range of different outcomes and penalties depending upon the seriousness of the allegations.

ANU can impose serious penalties in relation to a student's access to the University, including exclusion. ANU cannot impose criminal punishments.

Penalties for staff

The misconduct provisions with the ANU Enterprise Agreement allows for a range of different outcomes and penalties depending on the seriousness of the allegations.

Penalties for staff can range from formal counselling to termination of employment.

Dissatisfaction with the outcome

If either party disagrees with the University's decision, the Discipline Rule gives the option for a student to appeal a decision. Similarly, the Enterprise Agreement gives a staff member the option to appeal.

If you made the complaint and are dissatisfied with the outcome, you can ask the Commonwealth Ombudsman to consider whether ANU has followed appropriate processes.