Reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment

What to expect when you contact UniSC

When you first contact UniSC to report sexual assault or harassment we will arrange for you to speak with a qualified and specialist sexual assault worker.

This person will: 

  1. Talk to you about what your experience has been. You do not have to provide any information or details that you do not feel comfortable discussing.
  2. Ensure that you are safe.
  3. Discuss the immediate supports you require, including campus safety planning and academic adjustments.
  4. Let you know the supports available to you at UniSC and in the community.
  5. Talk to you about what you would like to happen next.
  6. Explain your options for resolution, including informal steps or making a formal complaint.
  7. Support you to report the matter to police if you would like to.

When you let us know about an on-campus incident, we must:

  • Provide the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students) with a confidential report about the incident and the supports that have been arranged. We do not need to provide your personal details.
  • Report any staff misconduct you disclose to the Director of People and Culture. We do not need to provide your personal details.

All attempts will be made to ensure you do not need to repeat your story to multiple staff members to ensure the least traumatic experience when speaking about it.

When is the University required to speak to the police or undertake an action?

Only in exceptional circumstances does the University speak to an external agency about an alleged crime without your prior consent (eg. when a disclosure is against a staff member, or if the information is necessary to protect you or others from harm, or to prevent a further crime taking place).

All information associated with investigations and outcomes associated with allegations of sexual harassment/misconduct are treated as confidential and not released to any third party or external agency unless required by law or you expressly consent to its release in writing.

What happens if I make a formal complaint to UniSC?

Sexual assault or harassment is never acceptable, and we are here to support you if this occurs. The above section outlines what happens and how we will support you when you make a disclosure to UniSC. A disclosure is different to a formal complaint and the complaint process is detailed below.

If you choose to make a complaint, Safer Communities will support you with this process. We understand making a complaint can be difficult or overwhelming. We will work with you throughout the process to ensure you feel safe and supported.

If you would like an investigation to occur, or for there to be formal action taken against the accused, a formal complaint process is required. (Please note: you do not need to make a formal complaint to be provided with reasonable adjustments, confidential support and counselling, or safety planning).

When you make a formal complaint, you will be asked to complete a statement about your experience. We can provide some support to help complete the statement. We understand talking or writing about your experience can be difficult. We will do everything we can to ensure you don’t have to repeat your story.

​Your complaint will be provided to the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students), where a decision will be made about the best way to manage your complaint. If the complaint is about a staff member, the UniSC People and Culture team is required to manage those matters, and the information about your matter will be provided to a senior member of the People and Culture team.​

Once the complaint has been received:

  • You will be provided with support and updated throughout the process.
  • An initial review of the matter will take place within 10 business days of receiving the complaint.
  • The Pro-Vice Chancellor (Students) will determine if an investigation should take place under the Student Misconduct Procedures.
  • If the matter relates to a staff member it will be managed as per the UniSC Staff Code of Conduct and Enterprise Agreement.
  • The accused may be provided a copy of your statement or provided with details to respond to. We will make sure you are advised prior to this occurring.
  • The student who has been accused of misconduct will be invited to attend an interview, they are not obligated to attend.
  • You may be asked to participate in an interview if further information is required. You can be accompanied at the interview by a support person.
  • If the matter is heard at a General Misconduct Panel hearing. The accused person will have the opportunity to ask questions (through the Chairperson)*, these might be directed towards you. You have the option to attend in person. If you do not attend in person, you will be required to respond to any questions.
  • Once the necessary information has been gathered and considered, you will be provided with the outcome.

If the accused is a student and they are found to have engaged in misconduct, the University can apply educational or remedial actions or impose penalties as per Section 6 of the Student Misconduct Procedures.

If the accused is a staff member and they are found to have engaged in misconduct, the University can undertake disciplinary action as per Section 5.7 of the Enterprise Agreement.

If you would like more information or support to understand this process, you can contact Safer Communities to have a confidential conversation.

*Questions asked "through the Chairperson" means that the question being asked will be considered, and if the question is inappropriate or does not relate to the matters being discussed, the Chairperson will not ask that question. This process is in place to protect the complainant and to ensure the tone and intent of questions asked are in the spirit of the purpose of the hearing.