FAQ

Sexual Assault is any type of unwanted sexual act inflicted upon a person without their free and voluntary consent and may involve a broad range of behaviours from unwanted sexualised touching through to penetration.  Sexual assault is characterised by behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, coercion or control towards a person, and makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened or threatened, and/or is carried out in circumstances under which the person has not freely agreed or consented to, or is incapable of giving consent.

Sexual harassment is an unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favours or conduct of a sexual nature which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated.  In the context of the University's policy and procedures, sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Intentional and unwelcome acts of physical intimacy including touching or kissing
  • Requests or demands (directly or by implication) for sexual favours
  • Repeated sexual requests or requests for dates after the person has said no
  • Persistent comments on how a person looks or is dressed
  • Persistent comments on a person’s sex life or sexuality
  • Sexually explicit emails, text messages, social media posts or messages
  • Degrading sexual jokes and comments
  • Sexually explicit banter or conversation
  • Sex-based insults, taunts or name-calling
  • Staring or leering

Click here for a more detailed explanation of sexual harassment, as as defined under the University's Sexual Harassment Policy.

Consent is the free and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity of any kind.  In the context of the University's policy and procedures, consent is defined as the act of willingly agreeing to engage in sexual activity and requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes, and no.  This means that there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words which indicates a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.  The age of consent to sexual activity in South Australia is 17 but this increases to the age of 18 if a person is in a position of authority over another person.  The age of consent to sexual activity and the definition of consent may vary across Australian state and territory jurisdictions as well as internationally.

Consent will not be considered to have been given where a person:

  • is incapable of consenting to the activity because they are
    • asleep;
    • unconscious; or
    • intoxicated by alcohol or any other substance to the point of being incapable of giving free and voluntary consent to sexual activity

Consent cannot be assumed where a person:

  • is silent
  • is not fighting back (an absence of physical resistance does not equal consent)
  • says ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ (an absence of verbal protest does not equal consent)
  • is forced or coerced
  • is threatened
  • is manipulated by authority

If you're still struggling with consent, we strongly encourage you to complete the 'Consent Matters' online training module

The following short video may also help increase your understanding of consent:

Copyright ©2015 Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios

There is a range of support options available to you if you have experienced sexual assault or harassment.  It doesn’t matter if the incident occurred recently or a long time ago, if it happened on-campus or off-campus, or whether you are a student or a staff member.  Support is always available and we encourage you to make use of the free and confidential services both at UniSA or, if you prefer, outside of the University.

Click here for more information.

Whyalla 

Free and confidential counselling is available for all students and staff, from Centacare, located at 28 Head Street, Whyalla. To phone for an appointment, please call (08) 8645 8233.

Please be ready to provide your staff or student identification number to the counselling service.

Mount Gambier

Free and confidential counselling is available for all students and staff, from Liz Moriarty and Associates, located at 10 Eleanor Street, Mount Gambier. To phone for an appointment, please call (08) 8723 1999. Please be ready to provide your staff or student identification number to the counselling service.

People who have been subjected to sexual assault or sexual harassment can experience a range of effects which can have an impact on their studies. The university may be able to help you by getting extensions on assignments, extra time in exams or deferred exams. You should contact UniSA Counselling Service to make an appointment as soon as possible to discuss your options and to seek emotional support. 

Support is always available and we encourage you to make use of the free and confidential services both at UniSA or, if you prefer, outside of the University:

You can anonymously seek confidential support from Lifeline Australia 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 13 11 14 or by accessing the crisis support chat between 6.30pm and 11.30pm 7 days a week.

You can also contact the UniSA Out-of-Hours Crisis Line on 1300 107 441 or text 0488 884 163 from 5.00 PM to 9.00 AM on weekdays, 24 hours on the weekends and public holidays.

Alternatively you can also call the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.  This is a free, 24 hour a day/7 day a week service which also offers an online chat service.

Disclosure is telling someone about an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment and/or seeking advice or support without necessarily initiating a formal report with the university or externally to the police or Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) for sexual harassment.  This does not preclude you from making a formal report to the university or the police at a later stage – you can do so at any time. 

Please note:  If you are under the age of 18 and disclose a sexual assault, the University of South Australia is legally obliged to report the matter to the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL).

Reporting an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment is a formal process, requiring a response from the university, in line with relevant policies and procedures.  This can mean taking the appropriate action in conjunction with the police, professional bodies or other government agencies, such as the Equal Opportunity Commission, in order to investigate and resolve the matter. 

You can also choose to report the incident to the police or Equal Opportunity Commission. 

Click here for more information on your reporting options. 

The information you provide is treated confidentially and information shared only with those who need to know in order to investigate and resolve the matter.  However, there are exceptions, where the university may need to make further disclosures, including:

  • when we believe you or a member of the university community is in danger
  • when a person aged under 18 years of age is involved
  • to assist in making safety plans
  • to arrange support for you
  • when the state or federal law requires it

Yes. It is up to you what information you provide to us and you can use the online reporting system when you want to ensure that the university is aware that an incident happened, but you don’t want to reveal your identity. If you decide to make an anonymous report, we are limited in the follow-up action we can take. For example, the university is unlikely to commence a formal investigation based upon an anonymous report. However, if a number of anonymous reports highlight particular activities or areas of risk, the university may take steps to reduce the risk of further incidents occurring.

You may also make an external anonymous report through the 'Sexual Assault Report Anonymously' (SARA) website. 

If you are under the age of 18 and report a sexual assault, the University of South Australia is legally obliged to report the matter to the Child Abuse Report Line (CARL), which is part of the Department for Child Protection (DCP). Workers from DCP may get in touch with you, especially if your safety is at risk. DCP will also forward the information about the sexual assault to the police. The police may contact you to discuss what happened and if you would like to report it to the police for investigation.

UniSA has a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment and sexual assault. However, we will never take action without conducting a full investigation during which the respondent will be provided with the complaint details and given an opportunity to respond. Students or staff accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment can take the following steps:

  • Seek advice and support

Acting immediately when you may be upset, angry, confused or shocked is unlikely to help your case. It is always better to seek advice and support first so that you can take informed action.

  • Find out about the investigation process

You are entitled to understand your rights and the process of a university investigation. Asking questions about this will never be linked to an assumption of wrongdoing.

You can access information about UniSA policy and procedures here.

  • Access support

Students can access free and confidential emotional support from the UniSA Counselling Service.  

Staff can access free and confidential emotional support from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

  • Be prepared for possible scenarios
Interim Action

In some situations, UniSA may need to limit your contact with the university during an investigation. This is not a punishment. It may be necessary to protect yourself from further complaints. If UniSA decides that interim action is required, you will be notified in writing and have the option to appeal this decision.

Police Investigation

A report may be made to the police as well as the university. In this case, UniSA cannot perform its own investigation until the police investigation has concluded. UniSA can use information from, or the outcome of, a police investigation in its own internal investigation. UniSA may pass information to police when someone is at immediate or significant risk or when the police have asked us to.

UniSA has partnered with International SOS to offer our staff and students medical, safety and security advice, referrals, emotional support and routine & emergency assistance when travelling or living abroad. As a UniSA student or staff member, we strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the services available to you in preparation of your next trip and while overseas.

Disclosing an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment is a big step to take for the person disclosing, so it’s important to respond with empathy and to offer support. For detailed information on what you can say, do and how you can help, please see the providing support page.


Urgent Assistance

24/7 Phone Support

1800 737 732

UniSA Support

Student Counselling Service
Monday to Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm
Metropolitan campuses: 1300 301 703
Mt Gambier campus: (08) 8723 1999
Whyalla campus: (08) 8645 8233

UniSA Out-of-Hours Crisis Line
1300 107 441 or text 0488 884 163
5:00pm to 9:00am weekdays 
24hrs weekends and public holidays

Staff Counselling Service
1300 277 924

External Support

Yarrow Place
Rape & Sexual Assault Service
1800 817 421

SHine SA
Sexual Health Education Agency
1300 794 584