Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can be defined as:
- unwanted sexual advances, or unwelcome requests for sexual favours; or
- other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature; and
- in the circumstances, a reasonable person would have expected you to be offended, humiliated or intimidated by this behaviour.
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual behaviour which is likely to offend, humiliate or intimidate. It has nothing to do with mutual attraction or friendship. Examples include:
- unwelcome physical touching including deliberately brushing up against a person;
- uninvited kisses or embraces;
- requests for sex;
- staring or leering;
- sexually explicit conversation;
- suggestive comments or jokes;
- unwanted requests to go out on dates, especially after the prior refusal;
- emailing pornography or rude jokes;
- sending sexually explicit texts;
- intrusive questions about your private life or body;
- displaying posters, magazines or screen savers of a sexual nature;
- making promises or threats in return for sexual favours;
- "flashing" (exposing private parts of the body) or sexual gestures;
- sex based insults, taunts, teasing or name-calling;
- touching or fiddling with a person's clothing e.g. lifting up skirts, flicking bra straps;
- offensive phone calls or letters;
- stalking, sexual insults or taunting;
- offensive messages through new technologies such as mobile phone cameras, social networking websites, emails or SMS/MMS communications.
Sexual assault is a legal term used to describe a range of sexual offenses, from showing indecent mages to another person, to kissing or touching them, as well as penetration of the person’s body with a body part or object.
If someone does something sexual that makes you feel uncomfortable or touches your body when you do not want them to, it may be a sexual assault.
“Sexual assault’ is often called other names like: Sexual abuse, rape, indecent behaviour, indecent assault, sexual molestation, incest, child sexual abuse, child sexual assault, touching, ‘feeling up’, sexual harassment.
If someone does something to make you feel that you have been assaulted, you can seek help from health and counseling services, including sexual assault services (see contact details below). This applies even when you don’t want to report to the police, or if you have reported to the police, but they do not believe that a crime has been committed. If you are not sure whether you have been sexually assaulted or not, you can contact a sexual assault service or legal service. There are specially trained people who can help you understand what has happened to you and what your options are. Some people blame victims or make victims feel that they somehow asked to be raped because of how they looked or dressed, or where they were at the time. This is not right. It is never a victim’s fault. Sexual assault is always a crime. For more definitions and examples of sexual assault1
Consent or Not
Giving your consent2 means you knowingly and freely agree to take part in sex or sexual activity. Consent must be voluntary, and informed and you can change your mind at any time. Informed consent means you understand what you are giving consent to and there is nothing preventing you from indicating if you agree, decline, or change your mind to take part in sex or sexual activity.
Consent can be withdrawn by any party at any point and must be voluntarily given and is not valid if a person is being subjected to actions or behaviours that elicit emotional, psychological, physical, reputational, financial pressure, threat, intimidation, or fear (coercion or force). Consent to engage in one sexual activity, or past agreement to engage in a particular sexual activity, cannot be presumed to constitute consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to repeat a sexual activity. Consent cannot be given by a person who does not have the capacity to give consent, including those who are intoxicated, unwell, distressed or otherwise disadvantaged.
In the context of sexual relations and this policy ‘consent’ and ‘consensual’ mean that:
- No one is pressuring the person;
- No one is forcing the person;
- No one is threatening the person or threatening someone or something the person feels deeply about;
- The person wants to have sex and has not changed their mind;
- The person has the ability to stop when the person wants;
- The person is awake and conscious;
- The person is not overly affected by alcohol or drugs;
- The person does not have a cognitive impairment that affects the ability to consent.
In the context of sexual relations and this policy, factors not involving consent:
- lack of capacity to consent, e.g., a person is unconscious, affected by alcohol or drugs;
- threat to or use of force, against another person, which need not involve physical violence or physical harm;
- unlawful detention;
- mistaken identity and mistakes as to the nature of the act;
- position of authority or power, intimidation, or forceful conduct.
“A state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.”
You can access a range of sexual health services by making an appointment with your GP who can support you with any sexual health concerns. Services can include and are not limited to STI testing, PrEP and PEP assessments and prescribed medication, Contraception options and Cervical screening.
Further information on Sexual Health can also be found for each state via the below links:
Victoria: Sexual Health Victoria - https://shvic.org.au/
New South Wales: New South Wales Health - https://www.sshc.org.au/
Queensland: Queensland Health - https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/sex-health/services
Access to support services and other external support
APIC has zero tolerance for sexual assault and harassment. We maintain the right of every student and staff member to feel safe and respected at all times on APIC campuses. APIC is committed to supporting students and staff affected by sexual assault or harassment, regardless of where and when it takes place.
Internal support services
You may want to speak to someone for support and more information or to help you decide whether and how to report: In person or via a telephone call, you can contact the Student Services Co-ordinator as below for a confidential and private discussion:
External support services
If you would like to speak to someone outside of APIC you can access the College’s external counseling service, Converge International, who have counselors and psychologists trained to support victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment call 1300 687 399. Calling or contacting the service does not mean you are reporting the incident. These services offer support and help and will be able to provide you with the information you may require if you decide you do want to report the incident.
Report an incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault
All reports of sexual harassment and or sexual assault are treated in the strictest confidence and privacy.
Informal reporting to the College: please speak to the Student Services Coordinators above who will help you.
Anonymous reporting: If you would like to report an incident anonymously please complete this form (link to be provided) and a member of the SASH Taskforce will be in contact with you within 24 hours. Please note; submissions for this form are monitored only Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (AEST), excluding public holidays. If it an emergency please contact 000.
For information on formal reporting to the police please click the link relevant to the state you currently reside in:
For further information on reporting and disclosing the incident please refer to Section 8 of the Student Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures.
What happens after you report APIC recognises that reporting incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault is extremely confronting. Our team will do our best to ensure you feel safe and supported throughout the process.
Our Student Services Co-ordinator managing your case will check-in with you to discuss what ongoing welfare and academic support you want to receive, and we’ll try our best to provide it or help to facilitate it. You’re welcome to have a support person with you or ask us for any additional support you may need.
Our commitment to students
The College is committed to ensuring a safe learning and working environment that is free from sexual harassment and sexual assault and where all members of the College community are treated with dignity, courtesy, and respect.
The following principles form the foundation for our commitment:
Safety and Wellbeing
The safety and well-being of students, staff, contractors, and visitors are of paramount importance to the College. The priority of the College will be the safety and well-being of the person disclosing or formally reporting sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Compassion and Support
The College’s response to a person who has experienced sexual harassment and or sexual assault is one of compassion, empathy, and support.
Confidentiality and Privacy
The College will treat any disclosure or formal reporting of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault with the utmost confidentiality and with respect to the privacy of the student or staff member and the alleged perpetrator.
The Policy and Procedures related to SASH applies to all students, staff, contractors, and visitors, including those who identify as intergender, transgender and gender diverse, LGBTIQ, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, with a disability, culturally and linguistically diverse, and international. APIC recognises that students from other countries may have cultural and language proficiency impediments to disclosing or reporting sexual harassment and sexual assault. This matter is addressed at all international student orientation sessions, information sessions, and contact staff training.
APIC is committed to ensuring the equitable and open implementation of this Policy in accordance with APIC’s Equity and Diversity Policy & Procedures.
SASH Related Policies, Procedures and Statutory Acts
Student SASH Related Policies and Procedures
- Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Prevention Policy and Procedure
- Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Information Page
- Critical Incident Policy and Procedure
- Student Code of Conduct
- Student Non-Academic Grievance and Appeals Policy & Procedures
- Equity and Diversity Policy & Procedures
- Student Welfare and Safety Policy & Procedure
- Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Incident Report Form (to be provided)
SASH Related Statutory Acts
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984
- Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986
- Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000, National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018
- Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011, Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015
Open training program
Further details can be found on the APIC Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Information page.