What is a sexual offence?
A sexual offence occurs when a sexual act is committed against a person without their consent. Sexual offences are against the law and are a crime under the NSW Crimes Act, 1900. Sexual offences include acts of indecency, indecent assault, sexual assault, sexual intercourse without consent and forced self-manipulation.
Sexual offences are serious matters and are not tolerated. The University has steps in place to assist victims and to investigate reports of sexual offences involving students or staff.Sexual offences are different to sexual harassment. Information about how the University deals with sexual harassment is contained in the Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.
Reporting sexual offences
Access Western's Sexual Offences Reporting Portal here (opens in a new window)
If you are the victim of a sexual offence?
You can notify any staff of the University, College or Residences that you feel comfortable talking to, but the key services you can contact are:
- Campus Safety & Security - 1300 737 003 (24 hours)
- University Counselling Service - 1300 668 370
- (business hours)
- Emergency Services - 000 (24 hours)
You are also able to lodge a complaint with the Complaints Resolution Unit.
Students who need immediate support are encouraged to call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). This line is available 24/7 and is staffed by qualified counsellors.
If you have knowledge of a sexual offence, you must report it
Any sexual offence that occurs on University premises or involving students or staff (on or off-campus) must be reported. You should contact Campus Safety & Security on 1300 737 003 (24 hours) or in an emergency call 000.
If you have direct knowledge of a sexual offence occurring, or have been a 'first responder' to an incident, there is a chance that you may be required to give evidence in a court of law, should an investigation result in legal proceedings.
Staff are able to seek advice and support from the Office of General Counsel by phoning (02) 9685 9895.
What supports are available?
The University's Respect.Now.Always webpage offers information about a range of personal and academic supports available to students or staff who may have been subject to a sexual offence.
What will happen to the alleged offender?
When a sexual offence is reported to the University there are a number of actions that will be taken. These include seeking advice from NSW Police, launching an internal investigation and ensuring that the alleged offender is given opportunity to respond to the allegations. The University is obliged to ensure that any person accused of an offence is given a fair hearing, is not subjected to bias and that determinations are made based on evidence. This is known as procedural fairness.
The University will decide if the alleged offender will remain at University while the investigation takes place. In such cases, steps can be taken to ensure that there is separation between the victim and the alleged offender and that all parties are supported throughout the process.
Further information about procedural fairness is available on the NSW Ombudsman's website. (opens in a new window)
What will happen to your personal information?
The University has obligations under the Privacy and Personal Information Act, 1998 (NSW) (PPIP Act) to ensure that private and personal information is kept safe and is only disclosed where authorised. Staff who are aware of another person's personal information must comply with the PPIP Act by only collecting relevant information and limiting access to authorised persons.
However, under certain circumstances, NSW privacy laws do allow that personal information may need to be disclosed where there is a serious and imminent threat to the health or life of a person, or for law enforcement purposes.