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Sexual harassment

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome or unwanted sexual advance, request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated. Sexual harassment can be obvious or indirect, physical or verbal, repeated or one-off, and perpetrated by males and females against people of the same or opposite sex.

Sexual harassment may occur:

  • as a single incident or series of incidents
  • between Students, between Employees, Employees and Students, Employees and community members, community members and Students or community members and Employees
  • either as an individual harassing another individual or group, or as a group harassing an individual or group.

Forms of sexual harassment

Sexual harassment may include:

  • staring or leering
  • unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person, or unwelcome touching
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • intrusive questions or statements about a person’s private life
  • displaying posters, magazines or screen-savers of a sexual nature
  • sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
  • inappropriate advances on social networking sites
  • accessing sexually explicit internet sites
  • requests for sex or repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates
  • behaviour that may also be considered to be an offence under criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications
  • cyber harassment.

Sexual harassment is not behaviour which is based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect. If the interaction is consensual, welcome and reciprocated it is not sexual harassment.

If you have, or someone you know has, been sexually harassed

For students, if sexual harassment has occurred within the university community, you can report a concern or incident. Further support resources are available for you or someone you know who has experienced sexual harassment. 

Information and resources are available on how to make a complaint and where to get help including what you can do to support someone who has been sexually harassed.