Gendered violence affects every segment of our society, and there is no place for it as this university.
While there is increased conversation about gendered violence many of us don’t know how it occurs, what to do if it does, and how we can prevent it. Here are answers to some common questions.
UNSW has established an online reporting portal to allow staff and students of UNSW to report an incident of gendered violence which has happened to them. The portal can also be used to report an incident which has happened to someone else (for example, where you have witnessed an incident, or you are reporting on behalf of a friend or colleague).
If you are reporting on behalf of another person, please do not provide any identifying information that can reveal who the person is (e.g., their name) unless you have their consent. If you have witnessed an incident and you don’t know the name of the person involved so you can’t seek their consent, you may report the incident.
YES. You control what information you provide to us. You can use the portal when you want to ensure that the University is aware that an incident happened, but you don’t want to share your name.
If you choose 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 don't have to be a UNSW student or staff member to make a report on the portal. A person making a report might be a victim of an incident, a witness to an incident or a support person, family member or friend of a victim or witness.
Where you are reporting something which happened to another person whom you identify in the report, please do not provide any identifying information that can reveal who the person is (e.g., their name) unless you have their consent.
The portal may be used to report incidents which are not recent. There is no uniformly accepted “normal” reaction to having experienced or witnessed gendered violence. Each person’s reaction is an individual one. Many people wait for years before they feel able to disclose an incident to someone.
UNSW cannot investigate incidents which are not connected to UNSW and there may be limits on our ability to investigate if the incident occurred in the past. However, even where UNSW cannot investigate, we will do our best to assist with referrals and information to help our students and staff.
Reports made to this portal will be stored securely as part of Complaint Management System for UNSW. All reports will be treated as confidential and will be managed as set out at below.
Once the submit button is pressed, every report, including those submitted anonymously, will receive an immediate automatic acknowledgement which includes a unique submission ID. This ID number should be used in any further follow up queries. This is the only response a person who submitted an anonymous report will receive; the system has no way of identifying you or contacting you through this submission ID number alone.
If you DO identify yourself in the report and supply contact details, you will receive follow up communication from the UNSW response team within 3 working days (72 hours) by the preferred method you have indicated on the report (e.g. email or phone call).
After consultation with the person making the report, the UNSW response team may provide you with referral details to other appropriate areas within UNSW e.g. Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Health Services, Education Support Service, HR, ARC legal services or a union such as the NTEU. We may also suggest contacting external specialist support services like sexual assault services, external medical services and counsellors.
In some circumstances, a legal duty to inform the Police about a report concerning a serious indictable offence (meaning a crime punishable by a prison term of at least 5 years) will arise. Under the Crimes Act (NSW) when a person knows or believes that the offence has been committed and has information which might be of material assistance in securing the apprehension of the offender or the prosecution or conviction of the offender they must not, without reasonable excuse, fail to bring it to the attention of the Police. You will be consulted wherever possible prior to any notification in relation to your report being made.
Complaints or allegations of gendered violence against students of UNSW will be addressed in accordance with the UNSW Student Misconduct Procedure. Complaints or allegations against UNSW staff will be addressed in accordance with the UNSW Staff Complaints Procedure and the UNSW Enterprise Agreements (there are two Agreements, one for academic staff, and one for professional staff).
YES. There are a number of services and people who can support you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or you are unwell, and need to speak with someone immediately, you can contact Psychology and Wellness or the Health Service (if you are able to attend the Kensington campus), and if you are a staff member, you can contact the Employee Assistance Program.
First Responders are staff and students of UNSW who have been trained in acting as first responders in cases of gendered violence. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org you can enquire as to who would be the most relevant first responder for your case and a response, with the contact details of the most appropriate first responder for you, will be provided. This email exchange can occur anonymously. Initial contact with a first responder can be by email, by phone or in person.
We will include a link to trained first responders who have: volunteered their services; received first responder training; and have provided their contact details and permission on the UNSW First Responders page as more staff and students receive this training.
Our aim is to provide a response by the preferred method you have indicated on the report (provided you have supplied your contact details) within 24 hours. Sometimes that will not be possible: for example, if a report is made on a Friday, or during the University shut down period in December.
If you have made a report but you have not received an email acknowledgement within 72 hours, please email: email@example.com
(Please quote the submission ID you received when making the report through the portal).
It is very important that, where urgent medical or other help is needed, you do not wait for a response to a report made to the portal. It may, for example, be important to contact the Police, or an ambulance, immediately after a serious incident occurs. See ‘where to get more support' on this webpage.
What happens after you report an incident of gendered violence to UNSW depends on a few things:
Some examples of potential outcomes that could occur (as long as we have your contact details) are listed below.
Outcomes: Provide support
Outcomes: Provide support
Outcomes: Dealing with alleged misconduct
See the following UNSW procedures for more information:
Yes. There are 2 ways to make a report of gendered violence to the police.
1. Contact your nearest police station and make a formal complaint
In an emergency dial 000.
The police can also be contacted on the Police Assistance Line:
Phone: 131 444 (NSW and ACT)
or enter postcode/suburb into http://www.police.nsw.gov.au
2. Complete a sexual assault reporting option questionnaire
The purpose of completing a questionnaire is not to enable a criminal investigation to take place but it can help police to take measures to protect the community and reduce repeat offending. Read information on the questionnaire here: Sexual Assault Reporting Options. It is important to note that the questionnaire does ask for detail about the incident. If you decide to complete the questionnaire, it is highly recommended that you have a friend with you to help you. Completing the questionnaire may be very distressing for you.
There may be occasional situations where UNSW has a duty to inform the Police about a serious incident reported to it (See item 6 above). Where the Police commence an investigation, the University may need to wait to carry out any investigation, pending the outcome of police inquiries. However, providing appropriate support, referrals and ensuring the safety of the person(s) affected will remain a priority for the University in all circumstances.
If the matter needs to be investigated under one of UNSW’s Procedures (e.g. the Student Complaint Procedure), all parties to the matter including the person alleged to be responsible for the gendered violence will be advised that the matter is being investigated.
While most of our students are over the age of 16, in exceptional cases there may be UNSW students who are under 16 years of age, and who are therefore considered to be children under the law. There may also be children on a UNSW campus who are not students – for example, children attending a UNSW Early Years Centre or the UNSW Health Service. Under the law, there are obligations imposed upon certain types of professionals (for example, doctors, counsellors and child care workers) to notify relevant Government Departments and/or the Police where there are concerns that a child is experiencing, or is at risk of, sexual abuse.
More information is available on this Fact Sheet from the Australian Government: Child Family Community Australia for further information.
Where a staff member is accused of an incident of a more serious and/or unlawful nature it would be likely that the process outlined in the Enterprise Agreement for dealing with allegations of misconduct/serious misconduct would be activated.
The University respects the right of individuals to decide for themselves whether to make a report to the police or not. In particular, UNSW acknowledges and supports the NSW Health Policy Directive: Sexual Assault Services Policy and Procedure Manual (Adult) and Rights of the Client 'to make choices about proceeding with legal action' (2005, Page 16)
However, it is important to point out that under New South Wales law, if you have useful information about a serious criminal offence and you, without a reasonable excuse, don’t tell the Police, you may be committing an offence. There may be a good reason why you do not want to make a report to the Police and where possible, this decision will be respected by UNSW.
If you find yourself in this dilemma, UNSW encourages you to seek legal advice - for example, UNSW students can have a confidential conversation with the legal officer at Arc. Students and staff can seek advice from Kingsford Legal Centre or any other community legal centre or private legal practice. (Please note that a private legal practice would ordinarily charge you fees for advice).
Yes. But instead of going through the portal again all you need to do is send an email with the updated information to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you include in the email the submission ID you received when you submitted your original report to the portal.
No. However if you are making a report on behalf of a student, privacy laws provide that you must have their consent to make the report.
Deliberately making a false report is a very serious matter. It is important to recognise the immense harm which a false report might cause, to the person wrongly accused of gendered violence, and to that person’s family, friends and community. Deliberately making a false report is also potentially damaging to those who have in fact experienced gendered violence, and who may fear that they will not be believed because of the occurrence of false reports.
If the person found to have deliberately made a false report is a UNSW staff member or student, this would amount to a breach of the Staff or Student Code of Conduct, and may result in a disciplinary outcome.
If you are not the person making a false report, but you are aware that someone has deliberately made a false report, you should email email@example.com as soon as possible. The UNSW response team will be able to contact the appropriate UNSW staff and take the matter further.
Find out more about the investigative process and support available to you.