Don’t suffer in silence: reporting sexual misconduct

10 Jul 2018
UNSW at night

A portal to report sexual misconduct is open to all staff and students. Incidents can be reported regardless of when they occurred, or whether they happened at UNSW. 

Last year, UNSW President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Jacobs, with the student leaders, launched the UNSW Sexual Assault, Harassment and Misconduct webpage and the Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment reporting portal to make it easier for students and staff to report sexual misconduct and easily find information on the support services available.  

In its first year of operation, the portal has received 88 reports (as of 9 July) of sexual misconduct affecting UNSW staff and students. In 35 cases a report was made by the person directly affected, and 53 were on behalf of someone else. Anonymous reports accounted for 38% of responses.  

“The portal has been shown to be a useful tool for anyone needing to submit a report or access the range of available resources,” says Deputy Vice-Chancellor Inclusion and Diversity, Professor Eileen Baldry. “It’s a pathway to resources and recovery, as well as to investigative actions. Anyone can report any incident that affects them, at any time, even if it’s in the past and didn’t happen at UNSW.”  

Many of the reports relate to incidents that have occurred on campus at UNSW, in the surrounding streets and on public transport. Outcomes of the reports have ranged from the university taking steps to remove outdated and sexist course materials, to action being taken against staff and students, through to the arrest of a man not connected to the university who was harassing students on an 898 Express Bus from Central to UNSW. 

“Incidents of sexual violence and harassment distressingly occur across our society including at UNSW, but many go unreported. Previously at UNSW incidents, if reported, may have gone to different areas, with no central collection of information taking place,” says Professor Baldry. “Our aim through the portal has been twofold. First and foremost we want to provide a single safe, secure and confidential place for those who need it to report and quickly and easily access resources that can help. Secondly, it is through people reporting such incidents that we are able to get a clearer understanding of any sexual misconduct at UNSW and take the crucial steps to address it.”   

The issues identified in portal reports played a large role in shaping UNSW’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy, which came into effect on 21 June, 2018. 

“The policy has been almost a year in the making,” says Deborah Samuels, General Manager, Division of Inclusion and Diversity. “It was a huge collaborative effort between staff and students, and had an extensive multi-staged consultation period.”   

The sexual misconduct reporting portal was one of eight clear recommendations identified in February 2017 following an internal audit into the prevention of, and response to, sexual misconduct.  

Concurrently, the Australian Human Rights Centre at the Law School released its On Safe Ground report into preventing and responding to sexual misconduct.  

Don’t suffer in silence – the following resources and numbers are available: 

If you or someone you know needs to report an incident, go to: 

If you require immediate emergency assistance, contact: 

UNSW Security – 9385 6666 
Police/Ambulance/Fire – 000 

If you feel you need to talk to someone right now: 

Call 1800 Respect (1800 737 732), a 24 hour phone line or visit 

If you prefer to talk to a someone about the incident contact a UNSW First Responder. CAPS staff and doctors at the University Health Service can also help you to make a report.