Your rights & support

What is sexual assault and harassment?

Sexual assault and Sexual Harassment are crimes in all jurisdictions in Australia.

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour that you have not agreed to. It can take many forms, ranging from unwanted touching, exposure to sexual acts, sexual images taken without consent and any form of sexual penetration.

Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

You have a right to:

  • Be treated with respect, dignity and understanding
  • Be safe at ANU
  • Information, responses, and services that empower you to make your own decisions and choices
  • Make your own decisions about medical, legal and counselling support
  • Decide who to tell
  • Have support people with you
  • Be supported by ANU

Consent

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
  • Are pressured or coerced to have sex because of threats, force, fear, or harm to yourself or someone else
  • Under the age of consent

International students

If you are sexually assaulted and report that assault to the University or to the police, it will not affect your enrolment at the University or your visa. You are entitled to the same free and confidential support, advice and counselling services as domestic students. 

Family & friends

Many survivors find help and support through family and friends. This support can be practical and immediate eg. asking someone to support you to access immediate help. Or it might be about ongoing support such as helping re-establish a sense of emotional and physical safety.

It can be hard to decide who and when you want to tell. The following questions might help when thinking about whom to tell.

Ask yourself would this person:

  • Respect my privacy?
  • Listen and not blame?
  • Let me decide what to do?

Usually, people who care about you want to be supportive but sometimes they can respond in unhelpful ways. If this happens to you, or if it is hard to work out who to talk with and what to say, you could talk it over with one of the support services listed on this page.

Where can I go if I need help & support?

If you need immediate assistance or seeking support, there are a number of services and people who can support you along the path to recovery from sexual assault.

How to support someone who has been accused of sexual assault

Here are a few ways you might help someone in this situation:

  • Listen to them, and as above, refrain from judgement, commentary or choosing sides.
  • Provide information about their options for seeking additional support. In particular you should mention Mensline (24 hours on 1300 789 978), Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (7am-11pm, 7 days on 6247 2525), Canberra Men's Centre (6230 6999) the ANUSA/PARSA Legal Officer, the ANU Counselling Service (9am-5pm Monday to Friday, 6125 2442), the ANU Health Service (6125 3598) and the Dean of Students (6125 4184).

The most helpful thing you can do is to keep the conversation firmly focussed on support options and avoid discussing the details of the alleged assault.