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Report sexual misconduct

How to make a complaint or disclosure to the University
When you report sexual misconduct to the University, specialist staff in the Safer Communities Office will provide support and work with you to assess your needs and take appropriate actions.

The University is committed to handling reports of sexual misconduct in a compassionate and fair manner, in an environment that acknowledges the vulnerable position of survivors and treats them with respect and dignity.

Sexual misconduct is prohibited at the University of Sydney. Behaviour that is intimidating, abusive, disrespectful or threatening, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

If you have experienced sexual misconduct, including sexual assault or sexual harassment, it is your choice whether to report the incident. You have the option to report it to the University and you also have the option of reporting to the police. Whatever you decide, we can help connect you with appropriate support, provide information on reporting options, and assist you with the reporting process.

How we will support you

Your personal safety and recovery from the trauma of sexual misconduct is our first priority. The Safer Communities Office has specialist staff members  who provide support to people that have experienced sexual misconduct.

They can work with you to develop a safety plan to ensure your safety on and off campus, and assist you to navigate appropriate support services such as security, emergency accomodation and health services. The Safer Communities Office also has a partnership with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Sexual Assault Counselling Service which ensures that students can access priority counselling. You can organise an appointment with the Safer Communities Office to discuss the support options you may need.

Make a report

Which form to use

Use Form 1 if:

  • you are a student and:
  • you want to make a disclosure or complaint of sexual misconduct that you have experienced; or
  • you want to make a report of sexual misconduct that you have witnessed involving another student; or
  • you are a staff member and you want to make a report of sexual misconduct that you have witnessed involving a student.

(Note: Unless you are a specialist member of staff, the form will not allow you to make a complaint on someone else’s behalf.)

Use Form 2 if:

  • you are a staff member or affiliate and you want to make a disclosure or complaint of sexual misconduct:
    • that you have experienced; or
    • that you have witnessed involving another staff member or affiliate.

(Note: The form will not allow you to make a complaint on someone else’s behalf.  If you want to make a report of sexual misconduct that you have witnessed involving a student, use Form 1.)

Use Form 3 if:

  • you are a member of the public and you want to make a report of sexual misconduct (including historical sexual misconduct); or
  • you are a student, staff member or affiliate and you want to make an anonymous report of sexual misconduct.

No Unikey is required.

Making a complaint or disclosure through the online form

 The aim of the online form is to:

  • Provide information about the options and support services that are available to students, staff, affiliates, and members of the public, including survivors of historical sexual misconduct
  • Collect accurate information about sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, connected to the University. 
  • Reduce incidents of sexual misconduct by identifying trends from reports. 

Complaints and disclosures

If you choose to report an incident to the University, you have the option to either make a disclosure or a complaint. The primary way to do this is through the online form, or by contacting the Safer Communities Office directly. The Safer Communities Office can provide you with information about making a report if you are unsure what to do. If you report an incident, it will not affect your academic record in any way. If you are an international student, your visa will not be affected.
 

You can make a complaint of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault or sexual harassment, if you would like the University to investigate or to take specific action and the complaint is about University related conduct, including conduct by students, staff members or affiliates. University related conduct means any conduct that is connected to the University, including conduct that occurs on University lands, at or in connection with a Residential College or University owned or affiliated student accommodation, when performing duties for or representing the University, or during a University related function or event (whether sanctioned or organised by the University or not).

We can only take steps to respond to your complaint (such as taking disciplinary action against a student, staff member or affiliate) when you make a complaint (rather than a disclosure). We may also take interim measures to ensure your safety or the safety of others.

When you make a complaint to the University, we will ask you for information including details of the person involved in the incident. If you have difficulty disclosing this information, you can call us to discuss your options and support services available. If a complaint results in an investigation, the University is required to apply the principles of procedural fairness to everyone involved.

You may wish to make a disclosure (rather than a complaint) if you wish to be anonymous and wish to make the University aware of an incident but do not wish the University to investigate or take any specific action in response to the incident. We understand that this can be a difficult time, so this is a way to report something that’s happened and find out your options for support without needing to provide your personal details.

In some circumstances, we may need to investigate a disclosure, to ensure your safety or the safety of other members of the University community, or to meet our legal obligations. If you provide your contact details, the University will inform you before commencing an investigation. It is up to you if you wish to participate at this point.

If you make a disclosure, you can still choose to make a complaint to the University about the same incident at a later time.

What happens next

After you submit your report, a unique reference number will be automatically generated. You should make a note of your reference number in case you would like to follow up on your report, or add any further details later on. You can do this by emailing safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au with your reference number in the subject line.

If you decide not to provide contact details in your report, the reference number is the only communication you will receive from the University.

If you provide your contact details in your report, the Safer Communities Office will contact you, usually within the next business day. This may not be possible in some situations, or during the University close-down period in December/January.

If you have not received an email acknowledgment within 72 hours of making your report, please email us at safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au and provide the reference number you received when you reported the incident.

If you need urgent medical assistance or other help, please contact emergency services on 000 or present to your local hospital emergency department. 

The University understands that you may not wish to provide specific information about what happened, or personal details about yourself.  You only need to provide as much information as you feel comfortable with. The form will ask you to answer a number of questions, some of which are required and some of which are optional.

Making a disclosure or a complaint online to the University is voluntary, however some fields in the form require a response in order for us to assist you. The information provided will enable specialist staff at the University to understand your needs and provide support, if you wish. If you do not provide the information requested, the University may not be able to provide this support or respond to your report.

You have the right to access and correct personal information about you held by the University.  If you have any questions or concerns about access or correction, or about using the forms, please contact the Safer Communities Office on 8627 6808 or at safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au.

We encourage you to read all the questions in the form before you start to fill it in. There is no time limit for you to complete the form once you have logged in, however some sections have word limits, so you might want to create a separate Word document and attach it to your form under the “Additional Information” section if you would like to provide more information.

If you are a current student or staff member of the University accessing the student and staff forms, you will need your UniKey to log in. If you are making a disclosure (meaning that you want to make a report, but you do not want the University to take further action) your UniKey will not be sent to the team of specialist staff who receive the disclosure report.  It is kept in a separate secure log. The University will not use your UniKey to identify or contact you, unless the information you provide gives the University reason to believe that you or another person are at immediate risk of harm.  You will need to provide your UniKey if you are making a complaint (rather than a disclosure).

If you do not have a UniKey or you wish to make an anonymous complaint, you can make disclosure using Form 3: Reports of sexual misconduct by members of the public.

A reference number will be provided to you after you have submitted your report. You should make a note of your reference number in case you would like to follow up on your report or add any further details later on. You can do this by emailing safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au. If you decide not to provide contact details in your report, the reference number is the only communication you will receive from the University. 

Your disclosure or complaint will be recorded in a confidential part of the University’s record keeping system. Only a few specialist staff have access to this confidential part of the system, and they will be notified once your report is received. These reports are not linked in any way to your academic record (if you are a student) or immigration status (if you are an international student) or your employee file (if you are a staff member).

If you provide your contact details in your disclosure or complaint, the Safer Communities Office will contact you, usually within the next business day. The Safer Communities Office has expertise in providing support to people that have experienced sexual misconduct. They can discuss support options with you and any questions or concerns you may have. They can also assist you to liaise with other departments within the University to make adjustments to your study or workplace that might assist you

If you are a student and you decide to proceed with a complaint, it will be forwarded to the Student Affairs Unit for preliminary assessment. If your complaint relates to the conduct of a staff member or affiliate, the Student Affairs Unit will refer it to Workplace Relations for a preliminary assessment. The purpose of a preliminary assessment is to assess how a complaint should be progressed. 

If you are a staff member or affiliate and you decide to proceed with a complaint, it will be forwarded to Workplace Relations for preliminary assessment. If your complaint relates to the conduct of a student, Workplace Relations will refer it to the Student Affairs Unit for a preliminary assessment.

For both students and staff, the Safer Communities Office will provide support and work with you and Workplace Relations and/or the Student Affairs Unit to ensure you understand the complaint process.

If you are a member of the public and you decide to proceed with a complaint, it will be received by the Safer Communities Office and forwarded to the most appropriate work area for resolution. 

In some limited circumstances, the University may need to report an incident of sexual assault or sexual touching to the police, to ensure your safety, the safety of other members of the University community, or to meet its legal obligations. The University will inform you before it reports an incident of sexual assault to the Police. The form allows you to express your wishes regarding reporting to the police.

Other reporting options

In an emergency, contact emergency services by dialing triple zero (000).

Report to local police

Whether the sexual misconduct took place on or off-campus, you can make a report to your local police station. You can call in advance and ask to make a report to a detective. You can also ask to speak to a staff member who is specifically trained in responding to sexual assault or sexual touching.

If you want to provide information to the police but don’t want to proceed with a formal investigation, you can provide details of the incident by completing the sexual assault reporting option (SARO) questionnaire (pdf, 1316KB). This can be done anonymously if you choose, but there will be no response if you remain anonymous.

The questionnaire does ask for details about the incident. We recommend that you have a friend with you to help you, as providing this information may be distressing for you.

The questionnaire may be used to assist police to develop strategies that target offenders and protect the community.

You can find more information on the reporting options available and what to expect from the NSW Police website.

Contacts

  • In an emergency, you should contact emergency services by dialling triple zero (000). 
  • Staff, students and affiliates who feel unsafe on campus or are concerned for someone else’s safety can also contact Protective Services on 9351 3333, 24 hours a day.
  • Safer Communities Office tel +61 2 8627 6808 or by email safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm)
    The Safer Communities Office also has a partnership with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Sexual assault counselling service that allows for priority access to counselling for students. Please contact Safer Communities Office to organise.
  • Call 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457) (option 2, then option 1) from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday
  • Student Counselling Service phone +61 2 8627 8433 or email student.counselling@sydney.edu.au, 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.
  • After Hours Mental Wellbeing Support Line on 1300 474 065 (available 24/7), or text 0488 884 429 (for SMS chat option)
  • Student representative associations – undergraduate students: contact the Student Representative Council (SRC) on 9660 5222, 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday; postgraduate students: contact the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA) on 9351 3715, 9 am – 5 pm (closed 12 – 1 pm), Monday to Friday.
  • Safer Communities Office tel +61 2 8627 6808 or by email safer-communities.officer@sydney.edu.au (Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 5:30 pm)
  • Employee Assistance Program - Benestar on 1300 360 364
  • Staff health support on 9351 4052, 8:30 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday;
  • Security services - contact Protective Services on 9351 3333, 24 hours a day;
  • Health services (for current staff and affiliates only) - contact the University Health Service on 9351 3484, 8:30 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday;
  • Staff unions – NTEU Sydney Branch 9351 2827 or sydney@nteu.org.au (for NTEU members only); CPSU NSW 1800 772 679 or cpsu.nsw@psa.asn.au.
  • Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital Sexual Assault Service on 9515 9040 (Monday to Friday) or 9515 6111 (after hours).  Counselling and medical services are available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted.  
  • NSW Health Sexual Assault Services
  • 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or online at 1800respect.org.au (available 24/7)
  • NSW Sexual Violence Helpline on 1800 424 017 (available 24/7) or online at fullstop.org.au
  • Blueknot Helpline 1300 657 380 (Available Mon-Sun, 9 am – 5 pm) or email helpline@blueknot.org.au
  • NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (available 24/7)
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 or via www.lifeline.org.au (online chat or SMS chat also available 24/7)
  • NSW Sexual Violence Helpline on 1800 424 017 (available 24/7) or online at fullstop.org.au

Safer Communities Office

8:30 am to 5:30 pm (Monday to Friday)
Multilingual support
Mandarin speaking staff and interpreting services are available upon request.