The University of Tasmania is committed to supporting community members who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct is prohibited in our University community. We take this behaviour very seriously and have a zero tolerance for it.
If You Are Experiencing an Emergency and Require Immediate Support
For all Emergencies call 000 to request Police, Fire or Ambulance services. If you call 000, please contact University Security as soon as possible so that they can arrange to meet and direct emergency services to the location. If you are on campus, you can contact your local campus Safety and Security team on +61 6226 7600 or extension 7600 from an internal phone.
For immediate and confidential specialised support services in response to sexual assault or sexual harassment, contact:
- Hobart - Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS) 1800 697 877 (24/7). SASS provides a 24 hour a day support and information service in Southern Tasmania. For more information view the SASS What Are My Options? (PDF) booklet.
- Launceston and Burnie - Laurel House 1800 697 877 (24/7)
- Sydney - NSW Rape Crisis Service on 1800 424 017 (24/7)
If you reside in the North or North West of Tasmania, or any other state in Australia, click here: Sexual Assault Support Services Throughout Australia
Alternatively, contact the community wide National Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault on 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)
Your safety and wellbeing is important to us.
The University of Tasmania welcomed the Universities Australia 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) survey and resulting recommendations which now guide our continuing efforts to create a safe environment for students and staff. Since 2016 the University has initiated a number of projects to create a safe environment for our community.
Following the AHRC report, the University commissioned former Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks and human rights and gender consultant Indira Rosenthal to undertake an independent review of current policies and procedures and accepted the resulting 45 recommendations. More information on the AHRC survey and independent review can be found at UTAS #NeverOK
The term "sexual misconduct" is used to describe both sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour or conduct, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated, insulted, ridiculed or intimidated - in circumstances in which a reasonable person would have anticipated that the person would be offended, humiliated, insulted, ridiculed or intimidated.
Sexual harassment can take many forms. It can be obvious or indirect, physical or verbal, via online and be a one-off occurrence or ongoing. Intent or motive is irrelevant.
Sexual harassment is unlawful under State and Federal legislation.
The term sexual assault covers a range of sexual acts (or attempted acts) directed towards or committed upon another person, without their consent.
It includes both penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts performed with any part of the body or with an object. It includes rape and unwanted sexual behaviour such as kissing or touching.
Sexual assault is a criminal offence.
Consent has a specific legal meaning but in general terms, it means to agree freely.
A person cannot give free agreement where they are:
- bullied, threatened, manipulated or tricked;
- asleep, unconscious or so affected by drugs or alcohol as to be unable to form a rational opinion;
- overborne by the nature or position of another; or
- if they are silent (i.e. do not say or do anything to communicate consent).
Consent can be revoked at any time. This means that even though a person may have initially consented to sex, they can change their mind during sex.
The University provides free online training to all students to understand Consent – find out more about Consent Matters: Boundaries, Respect and Positive Intervention.
For more information regarding sexual misconduct and other behavioural expectations of the University, you can view the:
If you have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment, or have observed concerning or inappropriate behaviour, we encourage you to contact the Safe and Fair Community Unit:
Our Safe and Fair Community Officers are available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday
We are here to listen, provide information and advice regarding options and support, and where appropriate will facilitate actions to assist you with your situation.
You have a choice whether to make a disclosure, complaint and/or other reporting options such as to the Police.
You can report anonymously, however this will limit the University’s capacity to effectively support you or to respond to the incident.
Disclosures will be treated confidentially wherever possible. However, sometimes the University:
- may need to take appropriate action if there appears to be an imminent risk to the health and safety of the person making the disclosure, or other community members (particularly if there are other disclosures naming the same alleged perpetrator);
- may also need to inform key personnel within the University (only on an as required basis), who will treat the information with privacy and sensitivity; and
- in some cases, mandatory reporting obligations for sexual assault will mean the University is legally obligated to report a matter to external authorities, such as police. The University will advise if this is required and includes incidents that occur in NSW and those that involve a child.
If you decide to report and you provide your contact details, a Safe and Fair Community Officer will generally contact you within 24-48 hours. Sometimes this may not be possible, such as during peak University periods or across the shut-down period late December/early January. If you have not received an acknowledgement email within 72 hours, please email us at SaFCU@utas.edu.au so we can assist.
If you choose to report an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment, this will not affect your academic record. For international students, reporting incidents does not affect your visa. De-identified disclosure information will be maintained by the University for identifying trends and monitoring the prevention and response to sexual misconduct in our community.
If you require urgent medical attention, please do not wait for the University’s response to your report before accessing critical supports. It is important to contact appropriate support services such as the Sexual Assault Support Service (SASS), police or ambulance immediately after a serious incident has occurred.
Step 1 – Record and Contact
Your report will be recorded in the University's reporting system which only members of the Safe and Fair Community Unit and select management / executive staff within Student Experience can access. If you provide your contact information, a Safe and Fair Community Officer will then contact you after receiving notification of your report. Your report is not linked with other University systems and does not impact on your academic standing or immigration status (for international students).
Step 2 – Discuss Options
The Safe and Fair Community Unit will discuss further support and reporting options available to you, including ongoing support or making a report to the Police. You decide on what course of action you would like to take regarding your report – whether or not you wish to progress a formal complaint with the University, and/or report to the Police. In some particular or serious circumstances, the University may be required to progress its own actions and/or report to the Police in order to meet legislative requirements or to protect the safety of the University community.
Step 3 – Action Plan
A Safe and Fair Community Officer will work with you to develop an action plan to ensure your safety and reduce any potential ongoing risks where possible. This might include referral to support services, making safety arrangements for you on campus or in residence, liaising with other University departments to make reasonable adjustments for your study, or progressing formal complaints with the University or Police.
If you decide to report to police or an external agency and a criminal investigation or similar process is commenced, the University will exercise its discretion as to whether to not to proceed with their own investigation or may suspend investigation, seeking advice from police or the external agency as appropriate. Where an investigation is suspended, appropriate support and guidance will continue to be provided.
Following the conclusion of a police or other investigation and/or a criminal justice process, the University may choose to conduct an investigation in accordance with the University Behaviour Policy (Governance and Accountability 6.4).
Step 4 – Review and Close
We will review your report and any agreed courses of action with you before the matter is closed. You can contact the Safe and Fair Community Unit regarding your report at any time if you have any questions.
The University has a range of support options available to assist you.
Seek support from our free University Counselling Service for help to manage current problems impacting on your capacity to cope, including gaining a better understanding of your problem, strengthening your resources and finding effective solutions.
If you need to speak with a counsellor outside of office hours, you can call the University Crisis Line on 1300 511 709 or text on +61 488 884 168. This service is available between 5pm and 9am weekdays (24hrs, weekends and public holidays).
Seek support for your personal safety and security by contacting Security to report an immediate problem or to request a Security escort. If you are on campus you can contact your local campus Safety and Security team on +61 6226 7600 or extension 7600 from an internal phone.
Our Student Advisers can assist you with time management, academic adjustment, study issues, navigating systems or processes, stress, financial problems, housing problems, and relocation issues.
All University students are automatically entitled to access the services of the Tasmanian University Student Association (TUSA) and the Union’s Student Representative Council (SRC). The TUSA provides you with a wide range of support and assistance including independent advocacy, study issues, as well as financial counselling and assistance.
Behaviour Contact Officers (BCOs) are also available to assist university community members as a first point of contact for anyone experiencing perceived adverse behaviour by others, while at work or study. BCOs are trained by the Equal Opportunity Commission and have an understanding of different types of inappropriate behaviour, such as discrimination, harassment, unwanted sexual behaviour and bullying.
For staff counselling support, a 24 hour service is available to all University employees and their immediate family free of charge under the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Anyone may be a ‘first responder’ to a disclosure or report of sexual assault or sexual harassment. ‘First responder’ means the first person with whom someone chooses to share their experience of sexual assault or sexual harassment. As a potential first responder you need to be aware of the steps outlined in:
Notify the University of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment
The University encourages all of our community members to notify us of incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault. To report online follow this link: