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 sexual assault and sexual harassment.
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. Information about how the University deals with sexual harassment is contained in the Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy. Information about how the University deals with sexual misconduct is contained in the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy.
Reporting sexual offences
If you wish to report a sexual offence, you can access Western's Sexual Offences Reporting Portal
The information you provide in the portal will only be viewed by limited authorised staff of the University and it will be used to provide a response to you (or the affected person if a report is made by someone else). NOTE: The portal is not an emergency service. In any emergency, please call 000.
You are also able to lodge a report directly with the Complaints Resolution Unit by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 02 9678 7900. Again, this information will only be available to authorised staff who will then contact you, or the affected person if someone else reports, to check on your wellbeing, discuss the support you need, and any further action you wish to take.
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)
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 are a student or staff member with 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 not an emergency, you can lodge a report via Western's Sexual Offences Reporting Portal
Important information about how staff should respond to a report of a sexual offence is available in the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy. If staff are concerned about what action to take, please reach out to the Complaints Resolution Unit or your supervisor for guidance.
A flow chart for a response to staff who have experienced sexual misconduct is here.
A flow chart for a response to students who have experienced sexual misconduct is here.
What supports are available?
The University's Respect 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 an 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 for personal information to be disclosed where there is a serious and imminent threat to the health or life of a person, or for law enforcement purposes.