Sexual Offences Reporting Portal Information

Reporting sexual offences at Western - some background 

Western’s Sexual offences reporting portal arose from discussions with national Universities and the Gendered Violence Research Network (opens in a new window) (UNSW) following the release and recommendations of Change the Course (opens in a new window), the Australian Human Rights Commission's 2017 survey and findings into sexual offences at Australian universities.

The portal is owned and managed by the University’s Complaints Resolution Unit (opens in a new window) and its development was overseen by a cross-Institutional working group within the Behaviour Risk and Review Group headed by the Office of Governance Services in consultation with Western’s Respect Now Always Task Force, which includes students and specialists in law, wellbeing and responding to sexual assault.

The portal has undergone user testing across the University community.

In preparing the portal, it was found that NSW survivors had limited online reporting option, so we built ours underpinned by two well-evidenced findings: 1, survivor's outcomes are better in a range of areas if the initial disclosure experience was supportive; and 2, a supportive disclosure experience is one where survivors

  1. feel their account was valued,
  2. feel worthy of being listened to,
  3. feel that their experience was worthy of investigation,
  4. feel allowed to tell their story at their own pace, and
  5. feel listened to without judgement. (For the majority of respondents, feeling listened to and taken seriously was more important to victim-survivors’ than whether their case ultimately proceeded to trial.)

Powell, M. and Cauchi, R., (2013). Victims’ perceptions of a new model of sexual assault investigation adopted by Victoria police. Police Practice and Research, 14 (3), 228–241.

The purpose of this portal is for survivors to tell their story in a way that is best for them, as well as to increase safety and minimise harm. The portal accepts anonymous and witness reports. In anonymous cases, users are reminded that lack of identifying detail may limit potential actions.

Where details are provided and if reporters are willing, the Complaints Resolution Unit has full capacity to investigate and act on its findings, according to according to relevant University policies and procedures. Complaints can and does frequently liaise with NSW Police and other organisations.

The portal is not intended to replace emergency services.

The portal adopts a plain English, survivor-centric approach while upholding privacy and procedural fairness. It features referrals to support services where appropriate. This approach is consistent across other universities in Australia and abroad who operate such portals, and recommendations by researchers such as Ahern (2016) and organisations including OurWatch (opens in a new window), GVRN  (opens in a new window) and USV React (opens in a new window).

The portal will be linked on various sites across the university’s websites including Respect Now Always' Report page (opens in a new window) alongside internal and external support links, plain English FAQs, a subtitled and AUSLAN-supported instructional video and information in key languages.

For more information, please contact

Click here for the reporting portal (opens in a new window)

Click here for portal FAQs (opens in a new window)