Sexual assault and sexual harassment

Swinburne commits to providing a safe, respectful and inclusive environment to all studentsWe take a zero-tolerance stance against sexual assault and sexual harassment, and treat reports or concerns seriously and sensitively.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment, there are a range of support services and resources available to you. 

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent, including when they have withdrawn their consent. Examples include: 

  • unwanted touching, hugging, fondling, or kissing
  • being made to look at, or pose for, pornographic photos
  • public exposure
  • voyeurism (e.g. being watched doing intimate things without permission)
  • incest
  • rape.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment is not interaction, flirtation or friendship which is mutual or consensual. Examples include:

  • intrusive questions or statements about a person’s private life
  • repeatedly asking a person for sex or dates
  • offensive sexual comments or jokes
  • sexually suggestive behaviour such as leering or staring.

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

What help can I get now?

No matter where, when or what happened, support is always available. 

Urgent help

  • Call emergency services 000 or Swinburne Security 03 9214 3333 for immediate help.
  • Call the Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 806 292.

Swinburne support services and resources

We offer a range of support services and resources that you can access. Our staff will provide safe, non-judgmental, caring and sensitive support, which focuses on your needs.

Other support services

Report a sexual assault or harrassment concern

You can report sexual assault or harrassment at any police station if you wish. If you make your initial report by phone, you will also need to meet with police at a time that's convenient for you. If you personally attend a police station to report sexual assault, you can discuss it in a private interview room. The police can refer you to crisis services and counselling.

We also encourage you to report a sexual assault concern to the Safer Community team so that we can offer help, support and advice. You can also discuss a concern with us before submitting a report. Email or complete our online form.

What happens if I report sexual assault or harassment to Swinburne?

We will work with you to identify the specific support you need. This may include counselling, health services and support with academic matters such as applying for special consideration. We can also connect you with additional services such as housing and legal assistance.

When you report sexual assault or harassment we will outline your rights and the options available to you, including reporting to the police. We will respect your privacy and how you want to deal with the matter. If we believe there is a risk to the broader community, we may need to use the specific information you provide to protect others. At all times, we will inform you how we use the information you provide.

Can I make a complaint?

Yes. You can make a complaint about sexual assault or harassment at any time via Swinburne's complaints management guidelines.

What will happen if I make a complaint?

We will investigate the matter. Swinburne can’t make decisions about whether a crime has occurred but we can investigate whether university rules have been breached. We must be mindful that the investigation does not jeopardise any criminal investigation.

The person investigating the matter will probably need to talk to you. You can have a support person with you.

Swinburne can impose penalties under the Student General Misconduct Regulations (for students) and staff disciplinary processes (for staff).

Do I have to make a complaint?

No. You are not required to make a formal complaint.

What can Swinburne do if I don’t make a complaint?

We can talk to you about your options and provide you with support, counselling, and referrals to services that can also help you.

Will Swinburne report a complaint to the police?

If you are 18 or over, the university cannot report the matter to police on your behalf. If you decide to report the incident to the police, we can support you. The police have specialist staff who are trained to deal with reported sexual offences.

If you are under 18 years of age, Swinburne must report sexual offences and misconduct to the police.

More information