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Sexual Assault Prevention and Response policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 27 May 2019.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy outlines the University’s commitment to preventing sexual assault, and provides a framework to effectively respond to reports of sexual assault.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to students, staff and associates of the University.

(4) This Policy applies to recent and historical on and off-campus sexual assaults.

(5) This Policy does not apply to sexual harassment. Reports of sexual harassment are managed through the Student Complaints Resolution procedure and the Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Victimisation and Vilification (Staff) Complaints procedure.

(6) This Policy does not apply to sexual assault relating to children. Reports of sexual assault relating to children are managed through the Child Safety policy.

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Section 4 - Policy


(7) The University aims to prevent sexual assault through:

  1. strengthening our culture and environment based on safety and respectful interactions
  2. educating, informing and empowering our community to:
    1. address underlying disrespectful attitudes and behaviours and
    2. respond to incidents of sexual assault
  3. confirming clear and uncompromising standards of respectful behaviour
  4. assessing risk of harm and implementing protective measures
  5. collaboration and partnerships with external agencies.

Responding to sexual assaults

(8) The University will provide support and respond consistently with a victim/survivors-centred approach that:

  1. focuses on the needs of the victim survivor
  2. avoids wherever possible causing further distress or trauma
  3. facilitates informed decision making by the victim survivor
  4. supports the victim survivor to be in control of decision making
  5. coordinates all relevant University support
  6. assists engagement with external specialist support and response services
  7. respects privacy.

(9) The University will support students and staff who have been sexually assaulted on or off-campus.

(10) Sexual assaults that occur in the context of family violence will be responded to in accordance with the University Domestic and Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) policy.

(11) Allegations of sexual assault against students and staff will be investigated and action taken in accordance with the Student General Misconduct Regulation and procedure or the Staff Discipline policy as relevant.  

(12) Sexual assault as defined by this Policy is serious misconduct for the purposes of the Student General Misconduct Regulation and procedure and the Staff Discipline policy.  

(13) The University will take all reasonable measures to minimise the potential for further distress or re-traumatisation of victim survivors when conducting investigations and implementing disciplinary procedures.

(14) Following a report of sexual assault the University will assess whether there is a risk of further harm to any member of the University community and implement reasonable protective measures. This assessment will be undertaken by a member of staff trained in such risk assessments or referred to an external expert where advisable.

(15) Protective measures are not a penalty or sanction and do not indicate that the University has concluded that a breach of University Code of Conduct has occurred.


(16) All University Senior Managers, including the Chief Executive Officer of Deakin Residential Services, are responsible for:

  1. promulgating and reinforcing the University’s values of respectful and ethical behaviour
  2. ensuring their staff are aware of and have access to training in relevant Codes of Conduct and reporting procedures
  3. ensuring their staff know what to do if a sexual assault is disclosed to them including applying a victim/survivor centred approach and following required procedures in a timely manner.

(17) The Executive Director, Student Life is responsible for the receipt and management of sexual assault disclosures and the implementation of education, training and awareness programs.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(18) Refer to the Sexual Assault Response procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(19) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. associates: Contractors, consultants, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.
  2. consent: Having the capacity to give free agreement and giving clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions, to engage in a particular 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. Circumstances in which a person does not consent to an act include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. the person submits to the act because of force or the fear of force, whether to that person or someone else
    2. the person submits to the act because of the fear of harm of any type, whether to that person or someone else or an animal
    3. the person submits to the act because the person is unlawfully detained
    4. the person is asleep or unconscious
    5. the person is so affected by alcohol or another drug as to be incapable of consenting to the act
    6. the person is incapable of understanding the sexual nature of the act
    7. the person is mistaken about the sexual nature of the act
    8. the person is mistaken about the identity of any other person involved in the act
    9. the person mistakenly believes that the act is for medical or hygienic purposes
    10. the person does not say or do anything to indicate consent to the act
    11. having initially given consent to the act, the person later withdraws consent to the act taking place or continuing.
  3. protective measures: Precautionary measures imposed on an alleged perpetrator considered necessary to protect the wellbeing and safety of the victim/survivor and/or the alleged perpetrator or any other member of the University community; and protect the integrity of University investigations. Protective measures are not a penalty or sanction and do not indicate that the University has concluded that a breach of a University Code of Conduct has occurred. Protective measures may be temporary but can become permanent and may include:
    1. the provision of support services such as counselling
    2. residential housing or work-space relocation
    3. adjustments to course schedules, classes, tutorials or other changes to the individuals academic timetable or situation
    4. changes to work schedules or other changes to an individual’s working pattern, location or other arrangements
    5. special consideration – as defined in the Assessment (Higher Education Courses) procedure
    6. security escorts
    7. safety planning
    8. aiding the implementation of court imposed intervention orders.
  4. sexual assault: Any behaviour of a sexual nature that: makes a person feel threatened, intimidated or scared or is non-consensual or applies emotional, psychological or physical force or coercion. Sexual assault can include but, is not limited to, the following:
    1. rape e.g. being forced to have vaginal, anal or oral sex including digital penetration
    2. unwanted touching e.g. pinching, patting, embracing, rubbing, groping, flicking, kissing, fondling, being touched on the breasts, bottom, legs etc.
    3. obscene gestures e.g. simulating masturbation in front of a person
    4. voyeurism e.g. being watched doing intimate things without permission
    5. pressuring for dates or demand for sex e.g. invitations that turn into threats or not taking 'no' for an answer
    6. indecent exposure e.g. someone showing private parts of their body or 'flashing' their genitals
    7. being forced to watch or participate in pornography e.g. taking a photo without permission, forcing someone to be on video, making someone watch a pornographic movie.