Sexual assault & harassment

Victoria University has zero tolerance for sexual assault and harassment. We believe that a single case of sexual assault or harassment is one too many. We are committed to supporting staff and students affected by sexual assault or harassment, regardless of where and when it takes place.

A sexual offence is any unwanted sexual behaviour or activity, which can make you feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened.

What is a sexual offence

Sexual offences can happen to people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds, in any location, even online.

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that causes a person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Examples of behaviours that are considered to be sexual offences are:

  • persistent unwanted sexual advances and offensive sexual comments or jokes
  • repeated unwanted requests to go out
  • sexually suggestive behaviour, such as leering or staring
  • touching, fondling, kissing, frottage (rubbing against somebody)
  • being made to look at, or pose for, pornographic photos or videos
  • voyeurism (observing unsuspecting people who are partly undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts)
  • exhibitionism (sexual gratification through public nudity or indecency)
  • rape
  • incest and interfamilial child sexual assault.

What to do

Download:

Immediate assistance

If you, or someone you know, is unsafe or needs immediate assistance, call for help as soon as you can.

  • On campus – Security 9919 6666 (24/7).
  • Off campus – Police & Ambulance 000 (triple zero).

Physical evidence - You may have physical evidence on you (such as hair, saliva, or semen), it is important to maintain evidence where possible.

Medical attention - You should see a medical professional to treat any injuries, and screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy.

Reporting

Report your concerns or an incident of sexual assault or harassment. You will receive confidential advice and assistance about your options, as well as referrals to support services.

If you feel uncomfortable reporting, talk to a trusted friend or family member. Ask them to help you make contact or to come with you to report.

Off campus

  • Victoria Police, Sexual Offence and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (SOCIT) find online at police.vic.gov.au.

On campus

Reporting to the University

Control over your report

When you report to the University you have control over the action we take. We will not take any action without your knowledge.

Anonymous reports to the University

When possible to contact you, we will provide advice about your options and referrals to support services. However, the University's ability to respond will be limited.

Seek advice and support

Seek free and confidential counselling support.

Sexual assault and harassment can traumatic, so your usual coping mechanisms may be affected. Normal and common reactions may feel strange or uncomfortable. Counselling support can assist you to manage these impacts.

If you feel uncomfortable seeking professional support, talk to a trusted friend or family member and ask them to help you contact a support service.

On campus

  • Student Counselling 9919 5400
  • Staff EAP 1300 327 288 (24/7)

Off campus

  • Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) 9635 3610 (business hours) or 1800 806 292 (after hours).
  • National University Support Line (Universities Australia) 1800 572 224 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until 30 November 2017).

Responding to a disclosure of sexual assault

It can be distressing and confronting when someone chooses to disclose a sexual offence to you.

It is common for victims to experience feelings of shame, guilt and fear, and delay reporting for days, weeks, months and even years.

There are several things you can do to support the person:

  • Maintain a calm appearance.
  • Listen and give them your full attention.
  • Try not to interrupt, and let them speak at their own pace.
  • Believe what they tell you, don’t blame them for the abuse.
  • Validate their feelings, for example "It's OK to feel upset".
  • Reassure them it was right for them to disclose.
  • Ask them what you can do to support them.
  • Empower them to seek help.

Tips on responding to a disclosure from Safe Place Services.

If you or someone you know experiences a sexual offence you should seek professional support.

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. VU is committed to eliminating sexual assault and harassment through education.

Do you know the difference between consensual sex and rape or sexual assault? How can you tell if your partner is consenting? And what if you’re not sure?

Watch the video to find out more about consent.

Campaigns we support

We are proud to support a number of campaigns aimed at improving awareness, prevention and response to threatening or inappropriate behaviour.

Act against sexual assault campaign

VU is committed to improving the awareness, prevention and response to sexual assault and harassment. We are proud to support the Act Against Sexual Assault campaign by Crime Stoppers and City of Melbourne.

The Act Against Sexual Assault campaign aims to:

  • educate students about identifying and reporting sexual assault
  • empower bystanders to report what they know or witness
  • empower victims to report and seek support for sexual assault
  • reduce incidents of sexual assault amongst students
  • increase perceptions of safety amongst students.

Watch Act Against Sexual Assault on YouTube.

Respect. Now. Always.

Respect. Now. Always.

Respect. Now. Always. improves awareness, prevention, and response to sexual assault and harassment in universities.

We have zero tolerance to sexual assault and harassment. One incident of sexual violence is one too many.

Statistics about sexual assault

Who is sexually assaulted?
 Infographic text on page

  • 1 in 3 women over 15
  • 1 in 20 men over 15

Who perpetrates sexual assault?

  • 9 out of 10 are men
  • 75% are known to the victim, e.g. family, friends or colleagues

Where do sexual assaults occur?

  • 63% at the home of the victim, perpetrator or a known person
  • 18% in a public area

What is the impact of sexual assault?

More likely to suffer

  • 26 times drug abuse
  • 13 times alcohol abuse
  • 6 times post-traumatic stress
  • 4 times contemplate suicide
  • 3 times depression
  • 1 in 10 victims are injured in a sexual assault.

What are the outcomes of sexual assault?

  • 15% of victims report to police
  • 1 in 10 perpetrators in convicted

Large infographic: sexual assault statistics

Developed by Safer Community, Victoria University.

Sources: AIC, 2003; CASA, 2016; WHO, 2002.