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Sexual misconduct

Sexual health and consent

We have a diverse student community with people coming from a range of backgrounds and cultures. Everyone may have had very different experiences thinking and talking about sexuality. Although sexual health might not be something you’re familiar with discussing, it’s important to know how to stay on top of your sexual health regardless of your relationship status.

Sexual health involves being informed about sexually transmitted infections (STIs), your options around contraception and STI protection, prioritising pleasure and enjoyment in sex, feeling respected by partners, and knowing your own boundaries in regards to sexual activity. The University's Safer Communities Office also delivers sexual health education programs and we encourage you to make contact if you wish to learn more.

You can find more information and resources about healthy relationships on our health and wellbeing page.

What is consent?

Consent means freely agreeing to do something, or providing permission for something to happen. It has to be by choice, where someone has the freedom and ability to do so.

Whenever you participate in any sexual activity, everyone involved needs to give their full consent.

Consent needs to be able to be communicated openly and clearly, every step of the way and should never be assumed. It needs to be given for each and every sexual activity, every time, with every person. It should never be assumed based on past sexual activity and can be taken away at any time. Everyone has the right to change their mind, and if this happens, you no longer have consent and should stop.

Consent is never ambiguous. If someone is not able to offer an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to questions about sexual activity, then you have not obtained consent. A combination of verbal and non-verbal cues, including body language, is needed to obtain consent. Find out more about consent on 1800RESPECT.

Sexual consent cannot be given by someone who is under the age of 16, forced or coerced, intoxicated, affected by drugs, asleep, unconscious, incapable of saying no or unable to understand what they are consenting to. Engaging in sexual activity with a person in any of these situations is sexual assault. To speak to someone about consent, we encourage you to contact the Safer Communities Office.

Consent matters: online consent education module

The University provides Epigeum’s Consent Matters online education module for all students starting at the University to complete. Developed by a collaboration of academics based in the UK and Australia, the online consent module is designed to help you understand sexual consent. Since 2018, this module is required to be completed by all newly enrolled students and you will be automatically enrolled in this module within Canvas. This module covers the following:

  • what consent is, how to identify when it has been given, and situations where it can’t be given
  • the importance of good communication, identifying boundaries and talking about them
  • how to identify situations where someone may need help and how you can intervene.

The module takes about an hour to complete, but you don’t have to complete it in one sitting. You can log in at any time and pick up where you left off.

If you are affected by any of the topics discussed in the module or experience any distress as a result, you do not need to continue completing it. You can contact the Safer Communities Office for support.

Sexuality

Sexuality is about the feeling and attractions we have towards others and understanding it can play an important role in caring for our sexual health. Sexuality is diverse and can be different for everyone. It might also be confusing and something that can take a while to fully understand.

If you are questioning or experiencing difficulty with your sexuality there are services both on campus and in the community that provide non-judgmental and confidential support. This includes LGBTIQ support and counselling.

Sexual health services

If you’re having sex it’s important to know the facts about sexually transmissible infections (STIs), contraception and how to stay safe.

You can visit your general practitioner (GP) or find your closest sexual health service on the NSW Government’s Health website.

The University Health Service on the Darlington campus is available to provide confidential and non-judgemental advice and sexual health information.

Services include:

  • contraception information and advice
  • sexual health checks and treatment
  • women’s health including gynaecological & breast examinations, pap smears, pregnancy, ante-natal care, advice on terminations.

Additional resources

  • Reachout – practical support and advice around sexual assault and harassment, relationships and consent.
  • Play Safe - a one-stop shop for young people wanting to know about safe sex, getting tested and sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs).
  • ACON – an LGBTI health promotion organisation focusing on LGBTI sexual health, HIV prevention and HIV support.
  • International Student Health Hub - developed to improve access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for international students.
  • Understanding HPV - information to help you understand Human Papillomavirus (HPV), its effects and how it can be prevented via cervical screening.
  • National Cervical Screening Program - information on the cervical screening test, HPV and cervical cancer.
Last updated: 03 November 2022

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