Australian Human Rights Commission National Survey Results

The University's results from the National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities, conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, are now available.

Available to view are:

Respect. Now. Always. is an initiative launched by Universities Australia to ensure that university campuses are places of safety and respect for all students and staff.  The Respect. Now. Always campaign (opens in a new window) is about raising awareness in the university community that sexual assault and sexual harassment are completely unacceptable.

Western Sydney University recognises the seriousness of sexual assault and sexual harassment, and the impact this crime has on individuals, families and communities.

Western Sydney University takes all reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment seriously. You can expect that Western Sydney University will communicate and support you in a way that is respectful, caring and non-judgmental.

Students who need support are encouraged to call 1800 572 224. This line is available 24/7 and is staffed by qualified counsellors. For further information on how to report a sexual assault and accessing support services, please see below. 

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is a crime that can happen to anyone, any age, any gender, any cultural background or sexual orientation.

Sexual assault refers to any sexual behaviours which lead to a person feeling threatened or uncomfortable, unsafe or fearful. Sexual assault is never the responsibility of the person who has been assaulted and is often perpetrated by someone known to the person.

People committing the crime of sexual assault often use tactics to make a person feel responsible for the sexual assault.  This can make it frightening for someone to have the courage to reach out for help.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment refers to any unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature that makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, and which a reasonable person, having regard to all circumstances, would have anticipated would cause the person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.

What is Informed Consent?

Informed consent means that you freely and voluntarily consent with a clear understanding of the facts, implications and consequences of an action.

In order to give consent you need to have an understanding of what is happening. A person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or who is asleep is unable to give informed consent. Consent needs to be free of any type of coercion, for example threats, intimidation or harassment. The Western Sydney University Counselling Service (opens in a new window),  NSW Health Sexual Assault Service (opens in a new window) and 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) (opens in a new window) can help you to confirm if you have provided informed consent.

If you have experienced an uncomfortable sexual experience, talking to someone can really help. It takes courage to reach out and we are here to support you.

What to do if you experience a Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment on campus or at a University event

Reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment can be made by contacting:

Campus Safety and Security can help you organise a support person and transportation to the nearest hospital if needed. They can assist you to access the Counselling Service (opens in a new window) if you wish to speak with a professional counsellor. In consultation with you, Campus Safety & Security can also contact the nearest NSW Health Sexual Assault Service (opens in a new window).

Support Services

Auslan Resources

Information on services provided by 1800 RESPECT in Auslan are available at:

LGBTIQA+ Resources

LGBTIQA+ Counselling Services are available at:

International students

In Australia you have a right to be safe and to have a life free of harassment, violence and harm. International students can make reports of sexual assault and sexual harassment to:

Sex offences refer to any sexual behaviour which leads to a person feeling threatened or uncomfortable, unsafe of fearful. Sexual offences are against the law in Australia. The Police will support you if you are a victim of a sexual offence.

Your student visa will not be affected if you are a victim of crime.

Campus Safety & Security can help you organise a support person and transportation to the nearest hospital if needed. They can also assist you to access the Counselling Service (opens in a new window) if you wish to speak with a professional counsellor. If assistance with communication and English is required, an interpreter can be organised.

Student Services at Western Sydney University

There are a range of Student Support Services at Western Sydney University to help you. You may wish to contact:

The Counselling Service (opens in a new window) can provide you with support and information regarding:

The Counselling Service (opens in a new window) can be contacted on 1300 668 370 (business hours) with options for face-to-face, telephone and Skype appointments.

Staff support

Staff may contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) on 1800 818 728. The EAP is a free, anonymous service for University staff and their families.  For more information visit the EAP webpage.

Staff can also contact Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (1800Respect) on 1800 1800 737 732 for debrief support after assisting someone who has experienced sexual assault.

Community Supports

If you would prefer to seek assistance outside the university, we suggest these options:

Helpful resources

Helping others

Responding to a recent event

The first response is critical to a person's recovery. Be supportive, non-blaming and compassionate.

If someone reports a recent sexual assault to you, this is the correct procedure at the University:

Find out more from the 'Responding with compassion" factsheet. [42Kb, PDF](opens in a new window)

What to say



I am sorry for what has happened

I believe you

What happened is a crime

This is not your fault

I will do what I can to help

You are not alone

What to do



Listen to the story

Tell them what to do or try to take over

Let them express how they feel

Ask them the "why" questions, why they were there, went there, why they trusted the person.  "Why" questions are blame questions

Let them cry and encourage them

Get angry on their behalf, they have enough to deal with without worrying about you

Not worry if parts of the story don't add up

Assume you know how they feel.  Everyone experiences sexual assault differently

Tell them you are sorry for what happened


Explain what you can do


Remain calm

It was something awful that happened to Tim and with courage he was able to tell someone

Tim was completing a Master of Teaching. He had developed many close friendships with other students in his course and they all hoped to graduate together in the near future. During his final educational placement Tim was indecently assaulted by a supervising teacher. Tim became uncomfortable and distressed during his placement. He was finding it increasingly difficult to prepare lesson plans and engage students. He was finding it difficult to sleep, sometimes waking from sleep up to 8 times per night, and as a result he was experiencing high levels of fatigue during the day and had missed 7 days of his placement.

Tim started to worry that he wouldn't get through his placement and graduate with his friends.

Tim spoke to another university student about what had happened during his placement and together they were able to seek support from a University Counsellor. Tim spoke with Police to assist him in determining what legal options were available to him.

The University Counselling Service provided Tim with a confidential space to heal and access to external support services.

Tim was able to speak to a Counsellor at 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) (available 24/7) (opens in a new window) and they really helped him develop strategies to assist him in his recovery. Over time Tim was able to regulate his sleep and heal.

With support from the University Counselling Service and the School of Education, Tim was able to complete his Master of Teaching and graduate with the other students in his class.

Too scared to tell someone?

Tan, an International Student did not tell anyone she was being sexually assaulted. She was scared as the person committing the offences said her visa would be cancelled if she told anyone. Tan also worried about bringing shame to her family. Offenders try to make victims feel responsible and can make them too scared to get help.

Tan showed her strength and courage in reaching out for help.

Tan contacted the Counselling Service (opens in a new window),on 1300 668 370, as her distress was making it difficult for her to study and she no longer felt safe.

The Counselling Service provided Tan with a confidential space to heal.

Tan recovered and again felt safe.

Online reporting options

NSW Police provide the options of having a sexual assault formally investigated or completing an online reporting questionnaire (SARO).

The sexual assault reporting option (SARO) questionnaire (opens in a new window) can be completed anonymously and provides important information to the police without the assault being formally investigated.

For more information on SARO or reporting, please go to NSW Police SARO and reporting (opens in a new window)

Do you have a complaint about how your report, concern or critical incident has been managed?

Sexual assault and sexual harassment are distressing and confronting. The University Welfare Service and the University Counselling Service will support you, in any way they can, throughout a complaints process. Alternatively the NSW Sexual Assault Service NSW Sexual Assault Service are able to provide counselling support and advocacy to clients that are receiving counselling support through their service.

If you have any complaints about how your Report, Concern or Critical Event has been managed please contact The Complaints Management and Resolution Unit.

You can contact the Complaints Resolution Unit by phone, letter or email, or download and submit a Complaint form (DOCX, 219.34 KB) (opens in a new window). If you believe that your matter is of a serious or urgent nature, please contact the Complaints Unit, directly by phone for guidance.