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Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Response Procedure

In life threatening situations you can contact the Police by calling 000. 

NOTE ON LANGUAGE 

This procedure contains language and references to sexual assault and sexual harassment. If anything in this procedure has affected or distressed you, you may wish to seek support

Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This procedure details the prevention, reporting and support mechanisms related to sexual assault and sexual harassment. 

(2) For students, this procedure should be read in conjunction with the Student Code of Conduct, Student Conduct Rule and the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response Policy. 

(3) For staff members, this procedure should be read in conjunction with the Staff Code of Conduct, the Workplace Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Procedure and the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response Policy. 

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Section 2 - Scope

(4) This procedure applies to all members of the University community and persons who are not members of the University community who want to make a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment by a current or former member of the University community. 

(5) Reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault will be assessed and responded to as set out in this procedure. However, the actions available to the University may be limited in some circumstances, for example, where the conduct was engaged in by a former member of the University community.    

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Section 3 - Responding to disclosures and reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment 

(6) A person who has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment may wish to make a disclosure or a report about their experience: 

  1. A disclosure: refers to the sharing of information about an experience of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Disclosures can be made to anyone and are usually made to a person who is known and trusted. A person who discloses may not want to make a report to the University or to police and may instead be looking for information about resources and support. 
  2. A report: refers to a report about sexual assault or sexual harassment made in accordance with the process set out in this procedure. 
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Section 4 - How to report sexual assault and sexual harassment within the University 

(7) A report of sexual assault or sexual harassment can be made by an individual(s) who has experienced, witnessed, or is aware of a sexual assault or sexual harassment, including by: 

  1. the complainant;  
  2. a witness; 
  3. a support person;  
  4. a bystander; or  
  5. any other member of the University community who has received a disclosure or is concerned for a student or staff member. 

Students 

(8) A student can make a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment in the following ways: 

  1. Email campuscare@newcastle.edu.au  
  2. Phone Campus care on (02) 4921 8600 (Monday to Friday during business hours) 
  3. Complete an online report
  4. Identified Report of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment – this form is used to report sexual assault or sexual harassment and seek support; 
  5. Anonymous Report of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment – this form is used to report sexual assault or sexual harassment anonymously.  

(9)  If a report is made anonymously the University will not be able to provide direct support to the complainant as the report will not identify the individual completing the form. 

(10) More information about Anonymous Reporting is set out below. 

Staff

(11) A member of staff can make an initial report of sexual assault or sexual harassment in the following ways: 

  1. Email respectatwork@newcastle.edu.au;
  2. Phone Campus care on (02) 4921 8600 (Monday to Friday during business hours). NB: Campus care will triage an initial report from a staff member and generally direct it to Human Resource Services for further assessment and management. 
  3. Complete an online report 
  4. Identified Report of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment – this form is used to report sexual assault or sexual harassment and seek support; 
  5. Anonymous Report of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment – this form is used to report sexual assault or sexual harassment anonymously.  

(12)  If a report is made anonymously the University will not be able to provide direct support to the complainant as the report will not identify the individual completing the form.  

(13) More information about Anonymous Reporting is set out below. 

Other members of the University community

(14) Other members of the University community can make a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment in the following ways: 

  1. Email campuscare@newcastle.edu.au;
  2. Phone Campus care on (02) 4921 8600 (Monday to Friday during business hours); 
  3. NB: Campus care will triage a report from a member of the University community and generally direct it to Human Resource Services for further assessment and management. 
  4. Complete an online report 
  5. Identified Report of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment – this form is used to report sexual assault or sexual harassment and seek support; 
  6. Anonymous Report of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment – this form is used to report sexual assault or sexual harassment anonymously.  

(15)  If a report is made anonymously the University will not be able to provide direct support to the complainant as the report will not identify the individual completing the form.  

(16) More information about Anonymous Reporting is set out below. 

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Section 5 - Reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment to external agencies

Anonymous Reporting 

(17) A complainant may choose to report sexual assault or sexual harassment anonymously 

(18) Where possible, the University will act on anonymous reports. This may include undertaking an investigation into allegations in the report or taking appropriate preventative measures. The action the University may take and who is involved in taking this action will vary depending on a range of factors, including, for example, the identity of the respondent. If the respondent is a staff member, Human Resource Services will generally manage any investigation of the report.  

(19) However, the University may be limited in its ability to respond to a report if the report does not include the identity of the respondent and detailed information about the alleged sexual assault or sexual harassment. 

(20) If a complainant initially makes an anonymous report regarding sexual assault or sexual harassment, they can later choose to provide their identity. 

(21) Anonymous complainants will be provided with a reference number after making a report and are encouraged to record this reference number once provided as it can be used to change the report to an identified report at a later stage.  

(22) An anonymous report can be changed to an identified report by contacting Campus care at campuscare@newcastle.edu.au  

How will the University respond to a report? 

Students 

(23) Reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment made to the University by a student, staff member or other member of the University Community concerning a student will be managed by Campus Care. Where such reports are made by a staff member or other member of the University Community, Campus Care’s response will be supported by Human Resource Services. 

(24) Each report of sexual assault or sexual harassment will undergo an initial risk assessment. This assessment is to determine if: 

  1. any support mechanisms or adjustments required in view of the report;  
  2. there is any immediate or serious threat to any person; or 
  3. if the University may be required to provide information to a law enforcement agency or regulatory authority. 

(25) Campus Care and/or Human Resource Services will continue to assess the risk in consultation with the complainant while it is managing the report. 

(26) Following the initial risk assessment, Campus Care and/or Human Resource Services may take one or more of the following actions in consultation with the complainant: 

  1. provide support to and consult with the complainant; 
  2. provide information to a law enforcement agency or regulatory authority; 
  3. refer the matter to be considered under an alternate process as noted in clause (26);  
  4. take appropriate action to minimise any immediate risk to health and safety; or 
  5. any other step the University considers appropriate to respond to the report. 

(27) Where the complainant makes an identified report, Campus Care and/or Human Resource Services will generally:  

  1. explain to the complainant how to access support services;  
  2. allow the complainant to provide additional information;  
  3. discuss with the complainant next steps in responding to their report, including but not limited to whether they want to: 
    1. proceed with referring the matter to a misconduct process; or 
    2. report to a relevant law enforcement agency; and 
    3. discuss with the complainant an outline of the report management and investigation process. 

(28) If a complainant initially declines to proceed with a misconduct process, a complainant can, at a future time, request the University refer the matter for assessment of misconduct or serious misconduct.  

(29) To do so the complainant should contact Campus Care at campuscare@newcastle.edu.au. While a complainant may request that a report is referred to a disciplinary process at any time, complainants should note that records are retained for particular periods in accordance with the University Records Governance Policy

(30) The process above will vary if the report is made anonymously. While the University will generally follow the process set out above for anonymous reports, the University will not be able to consult with the complainant. Where a complaint is initially made anonymously and the complainant later identifies themselves, the University will consult with the complainant about any steps remaining in this process and consider whether any step in the process should be revisited with the complainant's input.     

(31) Throughout the process, including any investigation, Campus Care and/or Human Resource Services, will aim to keep the complainant informed about key steps in the process, and where appropriate what these steps involve, including any decision to refer the matter to a misconduct process, the outcome of any misconduct process or if the University determines not to take further action. Although, in some circumstances there may be limits on the information that can be shared with the complainant, for example, to protect the confidentiality of other persons involved.  

Staff and other members of the University community

(32) Reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment made to the University by a staff member, student or other member of the University Community involving concerning another staff member or member of the University Community will initially be triaged by Campus Care and will generally be directed to Human Resource Services for further assessment and management, as set out below.   

(33) Each report of sexual assault or sexual harassment will undergo an initial risk assessment. This assessment is to determine if: 

  1. any support mechanisms or adjustments required in view of the report;  
  2. there is any immediate or serious threat to any person; or 
  3. if the University may be required to provide information to a law enforcement agency or regulatory authority. 

(34) Human Resource Services and/or Campus Care will continue to assess the risk in consultation with the complainant while it is managing the report. 

(35) Following the initial risk assessment, Human Resource Services and/or Campus Care may take one or more of the following actions in consultation with the complainant: 

  1. provide support to and consult with the complainant;
  2. provide information to a law enforcement agency or regulatory authority; 
  3. refer the matter to be considered under an alternate process;  
  4. take appropriate action to minimise any immediate risk to health and safety; or 
  5. any other step the University considers appropriate to respond to the report. 

(36) Where the complainant makes an identified report, Human Resource Services and/or Campus Care will generally:  

  1. explain to the complainant how to access support services;  
  2. allow the complainant to provide additional information;  
  3. discuss with the complainant next steps in responding to their report, including but not limited to whether they want to: 
    1. proceed with referring the matter to a misconduct process; or 
    2. report to a relevant law enforcement agency; and 
    3. discuss with the complainant an outline of the report management and investigation process. 

(37) If a complainant initially declines to proceed with a misconduct process, a complainant can, at a future time, request the University refer the matter for assessment of misconduct or serious misconduct.  

(38) To do so the complainant should contact Human Resource Services at respectatwork@newcastle.edu.au. While a complainant may request that a report is referred to a disciplinary process at any time, complainants should note that records are retained for particular periods in accordance with the University Records and Information Management Policy

(39) The process above will vary if the report is made anonymously. While the University will generally follow the process set out above for anonymous complaints, the University will not be able to consult with the complainant. Where a complaint is initially made anonymously and the complainant later identifies themselves, the University will consult with the complainant about any steps remaining in this process and consider whether any step in the process should be revisited with the complainant's input.     

(40) Throughout the process, including any investigation, Human Resource Services and/or Campus Care, will aim to keep the complainant informed about key steps in the process and, where appropriate what these steps will likely involve, including any decision to investigate the report, refer the report to a misconduct process, the outcome of any misconduct process or if the University determines not to take further action. Although, in some circumstances there may be limits on the information that can be shared with the complainant, for example, to protect the confidentiality of other persons involved.  

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Section 6 - Misconduct Process

(41) Where a decision is made by the University to proceed with a misconduct process against a respondent the report will be referred to (unless otherwise provided for in the Student Conduct Rule or the Enterprise Agreement):  

  1. the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Vice President for assessment against the provisions of the Student Conduct Rule, where the alleged respondent is a University student; or 
  2. the Chief People and Culture Officer or nominee for assessment in accordance with the applicable staff Enterprise Agreement and /or the relevant contract of employment, where the alleged respondent is a University staff member. 

(42) The University has obligations, including under work, health and safety legislation to take reasonable steps to protect the safety of staff, students and other members of the University community. Due to these obligations, there may be circumstances where the University determines it needs to take action to respond to a report that is different to the action the complainant may want or has requested. This may include, for example, referring a report for consideration under a misconduct process or taking preventative steps to minimise the risk of harm to staff or students.   

(43) If this occurs, the University will aim to discuss this with the complainant prior to taking this step and will ensure that the complainant continues to have access to the available supports and information about the process.  

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Section 7 - Bystander Intervention

(44) The University values and encourages reasonable and safe actions by those who witness or are told about sexual assault or sexual harassment after it occurs (bystanders) to prevent or stop sexual assault or sexual harassment from occurring or continuing, and to support those impacted by sexual assault or sexual harassment. 

(45) The University seeks to equip its students and staff to be active bystanders through education, training, information and support, recognising that some are personally affected by witnessing sexual assault and sexual harassment. 

(46) The University encourages those who witness sexual assault and sexual harassment to report them to the University in accordance with clauses 6 (for students) and clause 7 (for staff members) and to make use of the support services listed in clauses 33 - 37 if they require assistance and support. 

(47) The University will generally respond to reports from a bystander by following the processes set out in clauses 14 to 19 or 20 to 25, depending on the identity of the respondent. Generally, the University will contact the person who is reported to have experienced the sexual assault or sexual harassment at an early stage in this process to provide them with support and to consult with them about the process.  

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Section 8 - No victimisation 

(48) Members of the University community must not treat someone unfairly or harshly or otherwise subject another person to reprisal or detrimental action because of that person: 

  1. making a disclosure or a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment; 
  2. providing information about a disclosure or a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment; 
  3. supporting a person who has made a disclosure or report of sexual assault or sexual harassment; 
  4. being the subject of a report or disclosure of alleged sexual assault or sexual harassment; or 
  5. engaging in reasonable, safe bystander intervention. 

(49) If a student or staff member believes they have been victimised, they can make a complaint via the mechanisms set out in clauses 6 and 7.  

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Section 9 - Support 

(50) Support is available to all members of the University community who are affected by sexual assault or sexual harassment. 

Students 

(51) For students, this support includes:  

  1. face-to-face, phone, and online counselling sessions; health services; after hours crisis support line; and campus security.  Further information, including translation services is available on the University website
  2. advice in relation to academic processes, if their studies are impacted. 

(52) To access support: 

  1. students may contact Campus Care;  
  2. Visit this website

Staff 

(53) For staff, this support includes:  

  1. face-to-face, phone, and online counselling sessions; health services; after hours crisis support line; and campus security.  Further information, including translation services is available on the University website; 
  2. an Employee Assistance Program that provides free and confidential support to staff. 

(54) To access support: 

  1. staff may contact Human Resource Services on respectatwork@newcastle.edu.au  
  2. Visit this website

General 

(55) Respondents will be offered support by the Universityindependent of the support provided to the complainant, witnesses or others who are aware of a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment. 

(56) Members of the University community can also seek advice, information and support from external agencies or raise concerns if they are not content with the University's response. These external agencies include:  

  1. Police; 
  2. Australian Human Rights Commission; 
  3. Anti-Discrimination NSW; 
  4. Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency; 
  5. SafeWork NSW  
  6. Fair Work Australia; 
  7. Fair Work Ombudsman; 
  8. NSW Ombudsman. 

(57) Information about external support services is available on the University website.