Your conduct in online environments

Report a concern

If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed any inappropriate or concerning behaviour you can report it – either anonymously or with contact details.

You have the right to feel safe and respected when studying onsite at a VU campus, as well as when studying and/or engaging in VU related activities online (whether through an online learning platform or social media).

In return, you are expected to behave courteously, respectfully and responsibly so our online learning environment remains inclusive and enjoyable for all.

We want all students to be able to fully participate in their education, whether online, in person, or a mixture of both. As part of our commitment to you, we will provide the right tools, resources and support to help you learn and engage.

Guidelines for online behaviour

Outcomes of poor conduct online

VU's Learning and Teaching Quality and Standards – Minimum Standards for Online Presence Procedure explicitly states that serious cases of inappropriate behaviour, such as online harassment and bullying, will attract formal action under VU’s:

Via these processes you may receive warnings, be excluded from particular classes or activities, or be asked to make an apology to people affected by your conduct. In serious or repeated cases of substantiated inappropriate online conduct, you may even be expelled from VU.

Aside from the consequences that VU can impose, you may suffer very serious professional, legal or even criminal consequences for what you do and say online.

If you are studying a professionally accredited course or hold professional accreditation, VU may need to report your conduct to a professional regulator. This can negatively impact your ability to seek admission into your chosen profession or continue working in your profession. 

Engaging in unacceptable behaviour online may also affect your ability to work with children and young people under the age of 18, especially if the conduct was sexual in nature. VU may be legally obliged to report your behaviours to various authorities

You may be sued for defamation or breach of copyright if you have posted material that gives rise to these actions.

If you have engaged in conduct that may result in a criminal offence, your conduct may be reported to Victoria Police.

Where to go for help

If you experience or witness inappropriate online conduct, help is available. You are always welcome and encouraged to contact VU’s Safer Community Unit for advice and assistance. Safer Community also help you if you decide you want to progress the matter to a formal complaint.

Don't ignore or minimise bad behaviour online because you're concerned about rocking the boat – your safety and wellbeing, and that of other people who may also be affected but are less able to speak up, is important to us and we will take action to help.

Resources are available outside of VU to help you also. You may find useful advice and assistance from the following services.