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Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

 

What is sexual harassment?

Under NSW law, sexual harassment is:

  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Unwelcome requests for sexual favours
  • Other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.

These can take the form of:

  • Staring in a sexual manner
  • ‘Wolf-whistling’
  • Repeated sexual invitations when the person has previously refused similar invitations
  • Initiation ceremonies involving unwelcome sexual behaviour
  • Comments about a person’s physical appearance or sexual characteristics
  • Intrusive questions about sexual activity
  • Image-based sexual abuse, which includes non-consensual taking or creation of nude or sexual images, non-consensual distribution of nude or sexual images and threats to create and/or distribute nude or sexual images.

 

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any sexual behaviour by one or more people, against another person without that person’s consent. Consent, in this instance, means explicitly agreeing to engage in any sexual activity.

By NSW law, consent must be given freely and voluntarily by a person who has the capacity to give that consent. This means the person must not have consumed drugs or alcohol to the extent that they are intoxicated and incapable of consenting.

Silence does not equate to consent.

Sexual assault includes unwanted sexual or physical contact, such as slapping, kissing, touching, hugging or massaging.

Sexual assault is also: sexual abuse, rape, indecent behaviour, indecent assault, sexual molestation, incest, child sexual abuse, child sexual assault, touching, ‘feeling up’.

It is most commonly committed against women and children by men they know, such as boyfriends, fathers, neighbours, step-fathers, bosses, uncles, husbands or partners.

If you are not sure whether you have been sexually assaulted or not, you can contact a sexual assault service or legal service for advice.

 

How to report an incident or file a complaint

If you have experienced sexual harassment or assault while at Uni, or witnessed someone else being the victim of an assault, you can make a complaint or report the incident, also known as a disclosure, to the University either by contacting the Student Affairs Unit (SAU) or using the online Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Portal.

A disclosure is letting the Uni know about the incident, while a complaint means you want the incident investigated and seek some form of action against the person who harassed or assaulted you. A complaint will usually require a more detailed report. You can call a student liaison officer and report over the phone, by email or arrange a face-to-face meeting. Alternatively you may find it easier to report by using the online portal. Whichever way you report, the SAU can help by assisting you with applications for Special Consideration for assessments, changing classes or timetables, housing arrangements, financial assistance, counselling, and other support services.

If you are feeling too overwhelmed or distressed to make either a disclosure or a complaint, SUPRA caseworkers can support you through the process.

For further guidance and support you can also refer to the University’s policy and procedures on sexual assault and sexual harassment:

Student Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy 2018
Student Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Response Procedures 2018

 

If you have been sexually assaulted

  1. It wasn’t your fault.
  2. Make sure you are safe or contact someone you trust. If you are in immediate danger contact Campus Security or the police on 000.
  3. Seek professional help: visit a medical centre or hospital, and counselling support.
  4. Consider reporting the assault to the police.

RPA Sexual Assault Service (24 hours)
RPA is the closest hospital emergency department to main campus. Contact them for immediate assistance.
(02) 9515 9040
After hours: 9515 6111

NSW Rape Crisis Centre
Contact for advice and support at any stage.
1800 424 017 (24 hours)

University contacts and resources
1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457)
http://safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au
https://sydney.edu.au/students/sexual-assault.html

Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
(02) 8627 8433
caps.admin@sydney.edu.au

SUPRA
(02) 9351 3715
help@supra.usyd.edu.au

1800 Respect
24 hour sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service
1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
http://1800respect.org.au/

Muslim Women Association
(02) 9750 6916
https://mwa.org.au/

Shakti NSW (migrant and refugee women)
1800 SHAKTI (0404 174 285) or 0432 611 688 (after hours)
sydney@shaktiaustralia.org.au

 

Bystander intervention

SUPRA encourages you to be an active bystander. If you notice an interaction or see someone who seems distressed, intervene if it is safe to do so. If it seems unsafe to intervene and you feel concerned for someone else’s safety, call Campus Security (02 9351 3333) or the police (000).

 

Family and domestic violence

Family and domestic violence (often referred to as DV) is abusive, intimidating behaviour carried out by a partner, family member or carer, to control, dominate or instill fear. DV may be physical, psychological, emotional, financial, sexual, cultural or spiritual. It can also include cyber abuse, stalking and separation violence. Women and children make up the majority of victims of domestic and family violence.  

DV affects all communities and demographics, including same-sex relationships, transgender people and people with intersex traits, people with disabilities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. While each person’s experience may be different, DV tends to follow a cycle of abuse.

 

The Cycle of Domestic Violence

(Graphic adapted from www.whiteribbon.org)

 

Taking steps to seek support and break the cycle

If you are in an abusive relationship, leaving may be difficult. There are many specialist services that can offer support, guidance and resources to help you. They are there if you just want to talk, or if you are thinking of leaving. These services can help you put a safety plan in place.

SUPRA can assist you with all University and academic matters, such as assistance with Special Consideration in an assessment task affected by your experience of DV, and provide referrals to services that can help you secure safe accommodation, legal protections, counselling and ongoing support.

 

Emergency

In an emergency call 000. Police will attend and take immediate action to protect you and anyone else in danger, such as children and pets. The police may file an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) on your behalf, which ensures the perpetrator or person hurting you will be prohibited from coming near you.

The police have specialist Domestic Violence Liaison Officers known as DVLOs. For people from the LGBTQI+ community, there are special officers known as Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLOs). For people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, these special officers are known as Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers (ACLOs).

 

Resources and support services

DV 24 Hour Hotline
1800 656 463 (toll free)
https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/domestic-violence

LGBTQI Safe Relationships Project/Inner City Legal Centre
1800 244 481
http://www.iclc.org.au/srp/

QLife (Telephone Counselling)
1800 184 527 (3pm–12pm midnight, 7 days)

ACON – LGBTI and HIV/AIDS Organisation
1800 063 060
https://www.acon.org.au/what-we-are-here-for/domestic-family-violence/

The Gender Centre and the Transgender Anti Violence Project (TAVP)
(02) 9569 2366

Wirringa Baiya – Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre
1800 686 587
http://www.wirringabaiya.org.au

Mudgin-Gal – Aboriginal Women’s Place
(02) 9698 1173

Indigenous Women’s Legal Contact Line
(02) 8745 6977 or 1800 639 784

NSW Government domestic violence info
https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/domestic-violence

Link2home (homelessness information and referral)
1800 152 152

University Accommodation Service
9351 3322

National Relay Service (NRS)
Phone service for people who are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Voice: 1800 555 660
TTY: 1800 555 630
SMS relay: 0416 001 350

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