Preventing sexual assault and sexual harassment

Swinburne commits to providing a safe, respectful and inclusive environment to all students, staff and visitors.

We take a zero-tolerance stance against sexual assault and sexual harassment, and treat reports or concerns seriously and sensitively. Swinburne offers a range of support services to people who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment so they get the help that they need. 

  • Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent. The term can refer to a broad range of sexual behaviours that make a victim/survivor feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened. Sexual assault is a crime and includes rape, sexual touching and child sexual abuse.
  • Sexual harassment is when a person makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours to another person, and/or engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to another person, including through digital or online means, that is offensive, humiliating or intimidating.

Sexual assault and sexual harassment are crimes and are not the victim/ survivor's fault.

Access help and support

No matter where it happened, support is always available if you, or someone you know, has been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed. There is a range of options and resources available to you.

Our commitment

Australian data indicates that sexual assault and sexual harassment are underreported. Swinburne's commitment to gather accurate information which will help us make informed changes to keep our people safe. The following tables include data on the number of formal reports made to the university.

Reports of sexual assault

Year Off-campus On-campus Total













Reports of sexual harassment

Year Off-campus On-campus Total














Definitions: The above aligns with the Australian Human Rights Commission's classification for incidences that occur within university settings.

  • On-campus: On the university campus grounds, public transport while travelling to or from university, Swinburne managed residences, at an off-campus event organised by or endorsed by the university, at university related employment, technology-based harassment where some or all of the perpetrators were students, teachers or other people associated with the university.
  • Off-campus: Within the broader community including a student's private residence.

Respect. Now. Always. initiative

Swinburne is part of a national initiative, Respect. Now. Always, together with other Australian universities, to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment. It also aims to empower victims of assault or harassment to seek help and support.

This is an opportunity for universities to review policies, reporting procedures and support services. We will be able to keep learning from best practice and make improvements.

Swinburne participated in Australia's first national university student survey on sexual assault and sexual harassment run by the Australian Human Rights Commission. The results, released on Tuesday 1 August 2017, helped to understand the prevalence of these incidents in Australian universities. The findings are outlined in the commission’s report, ‘Change the course: National report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities’. Swinburne has committed to adopt all of the report's recommendations and continues to strengthen student safety and support initiatives.

Independent review

In addressing recommendations four and nine of the AHRC report, Swinburne commissioned an independent, expert-led review of existing university policies and response pathways in relation to sexual assault and sexual harassment. The review noted many instances of good practice and also highlights areas for improvement.

The full independent report was release in September 2018, and an update on our progress to 1 August 2019 is available to download.

More information