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Sexual Assault Response procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

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

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure guides and informs the University’s response to disclosures (formal, informal, reports, or complaints) of sexual assault perpetrated by or against students and staff.

(3) This Procedure may be used in conjunction with the Domestic and Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) policy.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to all students over the age of 18 and all staff and associates of the University. The Child Safety and Child Abuse Response and Reporting procedure addresses sexual assault against a student, staff member or associate under 18 years of age.

(5) The Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Victimisation and Vilification (Staff) Complaints procedure addresses sexual harassment.

(6) This Procedure does not supersede, and is intended to be complementary to:

  1. professional standards regarding confidentiality between clients and medical practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers; or
  2. mandatory reporting requirements prescribed by child safety legislation;
  3. mandatory reporting requirements prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
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Section 4 - Policy

(7) This Procedure is pursuant to the Sexual Harm Prevention and Response policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(8) Deakin Security and/or Police should be called in an emergency or in circumstances of immediate danger on-campus.

  1. Police and Emergency Services (24 hours): 000
  2. Deakin Security: 1800 062 579

(9) Students and staff who have experienced sexual assault are encouraged to seek information and support from, and to report the matter to Deakin’s Safer Community Services.

  1. Safer Community: 03 9244 3734 or

(10) Support and advice can also be sought from external agencies including:

  1. Sexual Assault Crisis Line(SACL)(24 hours): 1800 806 292
  2. National Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault(24 hours): 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)

(11) Any student or staff member who is aware of an incident of sexual assault that: 

  1. involved another member of the University community, and
  2. the incident occurred while the parties were engaged in University related activity (including off-campus incidents) 
must refer the matter to Safer Community Services as soon as practicable.  The referring student or staff member may withhold the identity of the victim/survivor if the victim survivor does not wish their identity to be shared.

(12) Students and staff can report any incident of sexual assault to Safer Community Services including:

  1. recent or past incidents
  2. on-campus incidents including within residential facilities owned, operated or managed by the University
  3. off-campus incidents at a place or event connected with the University.  Examples include, but are not limited to, placements, study tours, camps and social events
  4. off-campus, in the victim survivor’s personal life and with no other relationship with the University other than being a Deakin student, staff member or associate
  5. an incident where the alleged perpetrator is a student, staff member, associate or a member of the public.

(13) Students and staff who disclose sexual assault to the University may do so to: 

  1. seek personal or other support from the University or external agencies
  2. be protected from further threats to their safety or wellbeing
  3. report the behaviour and actions of another student, staff member or associate.

(14) Students or staff who have experienced sexual assault will not be required, forced or obligated to be involved or participate in any formal processes such as investigations or disciplinary hearings. 

(15) Students or staff who have experienced a sexual assault may choose not to identify the alleged perpetrator when making a report.

(16) Students and staff can make anonymous reports to Safer Community Services; however, the University’s ability to respond to anonymous reports is limited. 

(17) Safer Community Services will:

  1. guide and coordinate the University’s response
  2. provide, facilitate or coordinate timely support, referrals and advice
  3. be the ongoing contact point for victim survivors (subject to their wishes) 
  4. facilitate processes and actions to protect the wellbeing and safety of the victim survivor and other members of the University community (see clauses 28-33)
  5. if requested, assist the student or staff member to make a formal report to Police
  6. subject to the wishes of the victim survivor and an assessment of risk to the University community, refer the matter to student misconduct and staff discipline processes
  7. maintain confidentiality, within legislative requirements
  8. record the report and subsequent action on a Safer Community managed database.

(18) Students and staff are not prevented from seeking information and relevant support from other sources including those listed below. Students and staff may also choose to liaise only with these other service provider of their choosing rather than being referred to Safer Community Services. 

  1. University Counselling and Psychological Services
  2. University Medical Service
  3. Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers
  4. Deakin University Students Association
  5. Student Complaints Officer
  6. Deakin Residential Services staff or Residential Leaders
  7. any member of staff they feel comfortable disclosing too
  8. external agencies including the Police, Centres Against Sexual Assault, Hospitals.

Reporting to Police

(19) A victim survivor may not wish to report the assault to the Police. This is their right.

(20) The University may assist a student or staff member to make a formal report/complaint to Police. The University cannot make a report on behalf of the student or staff member.

(21) When a student or staff member does not want to make a formal report to the Police and the alleged perpetrator is a student, the Chief Operating Officer or nominee must, in accordance with the Student General Misconduct procedure, consider reporting the circumstances to the Police. In considering whether to make an information report to Police, the Chief Operating Officer will consider: 

  1. the wishes of the victim
  2. advice of the University Solicitor 
  3. advice of the Safer Community Service including relevant information about the known/observed behaviour of the alleged perpetrator related or unrelated to the matter at hand.
  4. evidence of a clear and unacceptable risk to the University or general community and
  5. the course of action that is in the best interest of protecting the wellbeing and safety of the University or general community.

(22) A University information report to the Police does not oblige the victim survivor to pursue Police/legal processes. 

(23) The University will advise the victim survivor of a decision to report the circumstances to the Police and will only disclose the identity of the victim survivor with their consent. 

(24) When the victim survivor does not wish to make a formal report or does not want the University to take any action, other than support the victim, the University may still have an obligation to act to protect the safety and wellbeing of the University community and prevent future incidents.

(25) The victim survivor will be advised that the University may need to consider: 

  1. making reasonable enquiries to determine whether there may be a current or future risk to the health and wellbeing of the University community
  2. taking action to protect the health and wellbeing of the University community including implementing protective measures
  3. reporting the matter to the external organisation (such as placement provider) where the student was on University business
  4. making an information report to the Police (refer to clause 21).    

(26) If the University intends to take any action, the victim survivor will be consulted and all reasonable steps will be taken to avoid further distress or trauma and to maintain their confidentiality.  

Protective measures

(27) Safer Community Services will assess the need for protective measures to protect the safety and wellbeing of the victim survivor, support the continuation of their study and protect the integrity of University investigations.

(28) Safer Community Services will also assess the need for protective measures to protect the safety and wellbeing of alleged perpetrators.

(29) Safer Community Services will minimise the potential for distress or additional trauma on staff or students who have experienced sexual assault by direct facilitation and liaison with relevant Faculties and Portfolios to coordinate the implementation of protective measures.

(30) When arranging and directing the implementation of protective measures Safer Community Services will keep the nature and details of the reported incident confidential, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide protective measures.

(31) Protective measures are available regardless of whether an individual chooses to report an incident to the Police, or make a formal report to the University. Safer Community Service or in the case of complex or contentious circumstances the Threat Assessment and Management Team will determine whether protective measures are reasonable and should be implemented.  

(32) Faculties and Portfolios will implement protective measures on the recommendation of Safer Community Services.

Investigations and disciplinary action

(33) The University cannot determine whether a criminal act has been committed. However, the University may seek to determine whether, on the balance or probabilities, there has been a breach of the University Codes of Conduct for students and staff.

(34) Investigations and disciplinary proceedings will be conducted in accordance with the Student General Misconduct procedure or Staff Discipline policy however:

  1. the extent to which the victim survivor wishes to be involved will be respected and
  2. all reasonable steps will be taken to minimise the potential for re-traumatisation of victim survivors when conducting investigations and implementing its disciplinary procedures.

Support and advice for alleged perpetrators

(35) Students, staff and associates who are alleged perpetrators will be afforded advice, support and information consistent with that which would be afforded to student or staff accused of other forms of serious misconduct.

Educational training, awareness and prevention programs

(36) The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for raising awareness and implementing preventative and educative strategies and programs to prevent sexual assault amongst members of the University.

Record keeping

(37) Safer Community Services will maintain a database of all reports of sexual assault.

(38) If a report is received by the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals, the Manager, Student Complaints and Appeals will record the receipt of the report, including the identity of the complainant, and then refer the matter to Safer Community Services. Receipt of the referral by Safer Community Services will also be recorded in the Safer Community database.

(39) University reporting on complaints or reports of sexual assault perpetrated against students and staff will be derived from the Safer Community database.

Dissatisfaction with University response to a report of sexual assault

(40) A student who is dissatisfied with the University response or handling of a report of sexual assault may lodge a formal complaint which will be handled in accordance with the Student Complaints Resolution policy and procedure.

(41) A staff member who is dissatisfied with the University response or handling of a report of sexual assault may lodge a formal complaint which will be handled in accordance with the clause 60 of the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2017.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(42) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. associates: Contractors, consultants, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.
  2. child: A person who is under the age of 18 years
  3. 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 be 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 the person is mistaken about the identity of any other person involved in the act
    8. the person mistakenly believes that the act is for medical or hygienic purposes
    9. the person does not say or do anything to indicate consent to the act
    10. having initially given consent to the act, the person later withdraws consent to the act taking place or continuing.
  4. information report: A report to the Police that contains fact based details of an incident that assists Police to understand the prevalence of harmful and problematic behaviour occurring within a community and to assess issues associated with community safety, the identification of trends, collection and analysis of information and intelligence and need for operational resourcing.
  5. 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 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 re-location
    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.
  6. Safer Community Services: An in-house University service that acts as the central point of enquiry for information, advice and support in managing problem behaviours affecting staff or students that have, or could, cause offence, fear or trauma (physical and or psychological).
  7. 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; voyeurism e.g. being watched doing intimate things without permission;
    4. pressuring for dates or demand for sex e.g. invitations that turn into threats or not taking 'no' for an answer;
    5. indecent exposure e.g. someone showing private parts of their body or 'flashing' their genitals;
    6. 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.
  8. sexual harassment: Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth), is when a person: makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to another person, or engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to another person in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated the possibility that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
  9. Threat Assessment and Management Team:  A University multi-disciplinary team that oversees, collaborates on and endorses threat assessments and management plans relating to individuals whose behaviour may represent a risk to the wellbeing of self or others.