Guidelines for university responses to reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment

Higher education Universities Sexual harassment Sexual assault Australia
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These guidelines may be used to guide university responses to disclosures and formal reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment where the person making a disclosure or report and/or the person about whom a report is made is a student.

Where a student discloses or formally reports that they have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed by a university staff member, the student should be informed of the need for any formal report to be handled under that university’s enterprise or collective agreement or through other appropriate mechanisms. They should also be advised that a formal report can be made to the police where there is an allegation of criminal conduct.

Universities recognise the complexities when a student who discloses or formally reports an incident is also a staff member of the university (for example, a postgraduate student working as a sessional academic). In these cases, we recommend that the staff member who receives the formal report notify their university’s Human Resources unit to identify the best path forward.

The guidelines are not intended for use in relation to staff-to-staff allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment, although many of the principles throughout the guidelines may be useful in such circumstances.

Universities, as autonomous organisations, will decide how they will use these guidelines. Each university is encouraged to adopt the guidelines outlined below in ways that best suit their own structure and practice. These guidelines are not intended to replace institutional approaches to dealing with these unacceptable behaviours, but rather provide advice.

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