Change the Course report which was released by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) in 2017 identified the prevention of, and response to sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) as an area of national focus across Australian universities.
Key findings of the Change the Course report included:
Following the release of the report, Ozford Institute of Higher Education (Ozford) has undertaken significant work in improving the processes for the prevention of and response to sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus.
Ozford has a zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, sexual assault and any violence and treats all reports or concerns seriously and sensitively. If you are experiencing or have experienced any form of sexual harassment or sexual assault, support is also available.
In Australia, any sexual activities imposed on another person without consent are serious offences! The offenders have committed a criminal offence regardless of whether the victim is drunk, drug affected, asleep or unconscious or submits because of force or fear, or if the person is under the legal age of consent. Consent is explained in full at the following websites:
Sexual harassment makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behavior, which is not mutually agreed upon or consensual. Sexual harassment can be written, verbal or physical, and can happen in person or online. Both men and women can experience sexual harassment. It is important to know that sexual harassment does not need to be repetitive – one incident is enough to constitute sexual harassment and should be reported.
Information adapted from:
Sexual assault is commonly described as being forced, pressured or tricked into doing sexual things when you don’t want to. It is any unwanted sexual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, threatened or scared.
It covers a wide range of unwanted sexual behaviours that are often used by offenders as a way to assert power and control over their victims. There are many myths around what constitutes sexual assault, for e.g.:
Information adapted from: https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-sexual-assault
Click here to find out more about sexual assault and examples.
(Information adapted from: www.1800respect.org.au/violence-and-abuse/sexual-assault-and-violence//)
The Victoria Police website (https://www.police.vic.gov.au/sexual-offences) provides more information on what constitutes as sexual offences.
If you don’t feel right about something that has happened to you, it is OK to ask for help.
Ozford is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy learning and teaching environment for its staff and students. Ozford will take all reasonable and practicable steps available to ensure the safety of all its staff and students on campus with an emphasis on the prevention of accidents, injury and unacceptable conduct. Ozford is a drug and alcohol free place.
All staff are required to wear the Institute’s identification badges or staff ID, which displays the names of the staff members. Students are required to carry their student ID cards with them at all times on campus. The student ID cards must be presented for identity verification upon request by the Institute’s staff members. For safety and security reasons, building occupants may be asked to leave the building if their identity cannot be verified.
The Staff and student Code of Conduct expect staff and students to conduct themselves in a safe manner and promptly report any potential or actual incidents of injuries, harassment behaviour or unsafe working conditions or equipment to the reception as soon as practicable. Staff and students may be subject to disciplinary measures if any allegation of misconduct is verified and upheld. In some cases where the student’s misconduct is severe, the Institute’s Executive Management Team has the right to cancel the student’s enrolment
For the safety of the Campus community and the protection of assets and property, some areas of the campus are under constant camera surveillance. All cameras are monitored and supported by recordings that are kept for incident investigations, in recognition of the Workplace Video Surveillance Act.
Students are encouraged to speak to a staff member immediately or approach the reception desk on Level 10 or Ground Floor if they feel unsafe or threatened on campus.
The findings from the Change of Course report indicates that SASH incidents on campus are underreported. To assist OIHE in making informed changes, we need your help in providing us with information which will help keep the campus safe for all.
Ozford has a zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, sexual assault and any violence and treats all reports or concerns seriously and sensitively.
If you or someone you know have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, assault, threatening or other sexual misconduct (sexual assault or sexual harassment – SASH) incident on campus of any form, nature or scale, even if you might think it is a minor incident, you are advised to report the incident to the HOSSA or Student Welfare Officer (Student Services Unit) by email, phone or in person. If you did not report the incident previously, you are still encouraged to report the incident.
OIHE has not received any reported incident in the past 12 months. If there was an incident and you did not report the incident previously, you are still encouraged to report the incident.
We value your input and we will listen to you and discuss appropriate support options and take further actions to further enhance the safety of the campus. With your permission, cases of sexual misconduct will be investigated. You will be required to engage with the complaints process, and to provide sufficient details of their complaint to permit Ozford to conduct an assessment and investigation of the case.
The outcome of the case will be determined by the findings of any investigation and the seriousness of the case. Where appropriate and with your consent, the matter will be referred to Victoria Police. In your dealings with both internal and external parties during the process, you will be supported by the HOSSA, Student Welfare Officer or any nominated OIHE staff.
If the incident did not happen on campus, you are still encouraged to report and seek support from Ozford.
If you have been sexually harassed or assaulted, you might experience a range of emotions and it’s important to know there are support services available at Ozford and outside that can help you. It is not something you have to live with on your own. Below are some things you can do straight away. Remember – the sexual harassment or assault you have experienced was not your fault and the no one can judge you as you are a victim of someone else’s actions.
At any time, if you need to talk to someone urgently you can call the following numbers:
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of sexual misconduct or violence, or you’re worried about your safety, contact the police on 000 immediately and try to get to somewhere safe.
Police in Australia are safe and can be trusted. 000 is the national Emergency number for life threatening or time critical emergencies.
Remember no matter where you are from, where you work or study, who you are, your religion or your beliefs, you never have to put up with uncomfortable sexual-based behaviour. If you feel like you are on the receiving end of sexual harassment, it is important that you speak up as soon as possible and demand the appropriate person to stop the unwelcome conduct. Explain that it makes you feel uncomfortable and that his or her advances are unwelcome.
If you are unable to stop the behaviour and someone harassed or assaulted you, you may not feel confident about what to do next. Trust your instincts. Remember that it’s never okay for someone to harass or assault you for any reason.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted physically, medical support is essential. If you can, try to get to a hospital or health centre where they can give you appropriate medical care.
In the case of a recent sexual assault, a forensic medical examination is also possible to assist with evidence collection if you wish to report to police to press criminal charges now or in the future against the offender.
Sexual assault may or may not begin with sexual harassment. Sexual assault is a serious crime and police intervention is necessary.
Ozford has a zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, sexual assault and any violence and treats all reports or concerns seriously and sensitively.
If you or someone you know have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, assault, threatening or other sexual misconduct (sexual assault or sexual harassment – SASH) incident on campus of any form or nature, even if it is a minor incident, you are advised to report the incident immediately to the HOSSA or Student Welfare Officer (Student Services Unit) by email, phone or in person. If you did not report the incident previously, you are still encouraged to report the incident.
If the incident did not happen on campus, you are still strongly encouraged to report the incident to Ozford.
Ozford provides a range of support to students affected by SASH. We value your input and we will listen to you and discuss appropriate support options, suggestion on strategies with coping with the incident and steps to further enhance your safety. Private and confidential personal counselling service to get help and support will be offered to affected students. Ozford will also support student to make contact and liaise with any internal unit or external agencies if necessary.
If the incident happened on campus, Ozford will take further actions to further enhance safety of the campus. With your permission, cases of sexual misconduct on campus will be investigated. You will be required to engage with the complaints process, and to provide sufficient details of their complaint to permit Ozford to conduct an assessment and investigation of the case. The outcome of the case will be determined by the findings of any investigation, the seriousness of the case and your wishes and decision. Where appropriate and with your consent, the matter will be referred to Victoria Police. You will be supported by the Student Services Unit in your dealings with both internal and external parties during the process.
You can also find someone you can talk to, such as a friend, family member, counsellor or youth worker. Contact an organisation in your state or territory that can give you relevant information on seeking help.
If you feel you would like to speak to someone external for specialised support or information, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. They provide free and confidential counselling 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. If you need a free interpreter call 131 450.
If you have experienced sexual harassment, you can also make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission by calling our Infoline on 1300 656 419 (local call).
For more information about a service in your state or local area download the DAISY App in the App Store or Google Play.”
Other Support services available for victims of assault including Sexual Assault Crisis Line – 1800 806 292 and National Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Counselling Service – 1800 737 732.
The laws relating to sexual assault vary from state to state. To find out about your rights, check out the Lawstuff website.
For information about reporting sexual offences to Victoria Police, please refer to:
Ozford will support students to make a report to the police for any criminal matter. When required, Ozford and the Police can work together to enable us to support you more effectively and respond to any processes (such as use of restraining orders) that the Police may assist you in putting in place.
For other emergency, health, support and legal services contact, please refer to Part 10: OZSOS of this Student Handbook.
Spending time with someone you like should be fun, enjoyable and something that makes you feel good. However it is important to know that not all relationships you experience will necessarily be healthy ones.
A respectful relationship is one of mutual respect, trust, good communication, understanding and honesty. Being in a relationship should be a positive experience for both people. We each have the right to feel safe, valued and cared about in our relationships, and this is particularly important when starting a closer, intimate relationship.
A respectful relationship includes:
Visit the link for more information about Respectful Relationships: https://bodytalk.org.au/relationships/respectful-relationships/
Sexual consent means that both people actively and verbally agree to sexual activity. Sexual activity means many things to different people and is generally a lot more than just oral, anal or vaginal sex. It can include kissing, hugging, touching, rubbing and many other behaviours that people might find pleasurable. If both people do not say “yes,” then consent has not been given.
If you have partner, it is important for you and you partner to understand that you have the right to change your mind about what you do or do not want to do at any time. This means that even if you are engaging in sexual acts with a person and you or the other person changes mind, you must stop whatever you are doing and respect the other party’s wishes. Not respecting those wishes could be crossing the line into illegal behaviour (sexual misconduct).
Trying to persuade someone into saying “yes” when they are not sure or do not want to have sex is not consent. It is called sexual coercion.
If a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they cannot legally give consent. Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is considered rape.
A person must be a certain age in order to be able to legally give consent. This age is called the “age of consent,” and age of consent laws vary from state to state. In Victoria, the age of consent is 16. A person can be charged with a sexual offence if they perform a sexual act that breaks these age limits, even if the younger person agrees to it.
Australia has well defined laws concerning domestic and family violence. Domestic and family violence can occur at home between partners, housemates or family members. It includes behaviours that cause fear or threaten safety, such as hitting, choking, denying essential money and insulting or constantly criticising the partner.
Domestic violence – refers to acts of violence that occur in domestic settings between two people who are, or were, in an intimate relationship. It includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse
Emotional/psychological violence – can include a range of controlling behaviours such as control of finances, isolation from family and friends, continual humiliation, threats against children or being threatened with injury or death.
Family violence – is a broader term than domestic violence, as it refers not only to violence between intimate partners but also to violence between family members. This includes, for example, elder abuse and adolescent violence against parents. Family violence includes violent or threatening behaviour, or any other form of behaviour that coerces or controls a family member or causes that family member to be fearful. In Indigenous communities, family violence is often the preferred term as it encapsulates the broader issue of violence within extended families, kinship networks and community relationships, as well as intergenerational issues.
The Australian Government has developed a Family Safety Pack for men and women coming to Australia. It includes information on Australia’s laws regarding domestic and family violence, sexual assault and forced marriage, and a woman’s right to be safe.
The pack includes eight factsheets on the following topics:
No one should have to endure an abusive relationship. Whether it’s physical violence, emotional abuse, neglect, or something else, there is help available. Read about the types of abuse, how to spot an abusive relationship, and where you can get help. https://au.reachout.com/tough-times/abuse-and-violence