SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT (SASH)

Sexual assault, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct are NOT tolerated at Murdoch Institute of Technology.

As a student of MIT you have the right to feel safe and secure at all times and to be able to fully participate in all aspects of life on campus. We believe that unwanted sexual attention including harassment, stalking and assault can prevent a student from taking part in activities and involvement in the life of the School.

It does not matter if the incident was recent, or in the past, on campus or off campus, we are here to support our students when they report incidents of sexual assault or sexual harassment. There are internal (i.e. within MIT) and external options available. On this page, you will find some suggestions and resources to assist, as well as emergency contacts if you find yourself in difficult situations.

What is Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment?

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, threatened or scared. It covers:

  • Rape: forced, unwanted sex or sexual acts.
  • Child sexual abuse: using power over a child or young person to involve them in sexual activity.
  • Indecent assault: indecent behaviour before, during or after an assault.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment is not consensual sexual interaction, flirtation or friendship and is not behaviour that is mutually agreed upon. Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal or written and it can include:

  • comments about a person’s private life or the way they look;
  • sexually suggestive behaviour, such as leering or staring;
  • physical contact of a sexual nature such as brushing up against someone, touching, fondling or hugging;
  • sexually suggestive comments or jokes;
  • displaying sexually offensive material;
  • accessing pornographic websites on campus, at work or the Murdoch Institute network;
  • continued requests for dates that have been previously denied requests for sex;
  • sexually explicit emails, text messages or posts on social networking sites,
  • making or distributing sexually explicit photos or videos;
  • unwelcome sexual advances;
  • making or distributing sexually explicit photos or videos;
  • acts of indecency; and
  • sexual assault.

There is more guidance about what may amount to sexual harassment and sexual assault available on the Australian Human Rights Commission website at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/sex-discrimination.

Consent

Consent is 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 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:

  • The person submits to the act because of force or fear of force, whether to that person or someone else;
  • 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;
  • The person submits to the act because the person is unlawfully detained;
  • The person is asleep or unconscious;
  • The person is so affected by alcohol or another drug as to be incapable of consenting to the act;
  • The person is incapable of understanding the sexual nature of the act;
  • 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;
  • The person does not say or do anything to indicate consent to the act;
  • Having initially given consent to the act, the person later withdraws consent to the act taking place or continuing.

A person cannot consent if they lack the capacity to understand what is taking place because of a cognitive disability, or because they are under the age of 16 for all Australian states, except South Australia and Tasmania where the age limit for consent is 17 years of age. The age limit for giving consent in New Zealand is 16 years of age.

It is important to understand that a person might not consent to behaviour even though they were, or are, in a relationship with you.

You can watch a short explainer video created by “Blue Seat Studios”, here.

There is more information about “consent” on the Australian Law Reform Commission” website at: https://www.alrc.gov.au/publications/25.%20Sexual%20Offences/consent.

Report and Support

Report

Whether the incident is recent or it happened in the past, on-campus or off-campus, we are here to support our students when they report incidents of sexual assault or sexual harassment. You can either contact us in person or via email to report the incident.

You can also report an incident which has happened to someone else (e.g. where you witnessed the incident or you are reporting on behalf of a colleague or friend). If you report 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 persons involved so you can’t seek their consent, you may report the incident.

MIT’s aim is to offer information and support and to let you know what options are available, as well as reducing sexual misconduct incidents by learning from reports about areas and/or activities of high risk.

If the incident involves an MIT student or staff member and occurs on one of MIT’s campuses or student accommodation, online or during an activity organised by MIT (such as an excursion), MIT will consider an investigation under MIT relevant Codes of Conduct, policies and procedures. In serious cases, MIT has a duty to inform the Police about the incident.

If you wish to make a formal report of the incident to the College, email Support MIT supportmit@murdochinstitute.wa.edu.au Remember – the sexual harassment or assault you have experienced was not your fault and MIT staff will never judge you, as you are a victim of someone else’s actions.

Support

On your first day at MIT, during Orientation sessions, students will be provided with information on the prevention of sexual assaults and sexual harassment and what to do if such incidents happen. For this purpose, MIT developed the “How to report a sexual assault or harassment incident” to guide you through the process, should you experience any form of harassment or bullying at MIT.

Within the MIT community, you will find a diverse network of specially trained “First Responders” who are staff members who have been trained to assist students who have been the victim of sexual misconduct. The First Responders are not qualified to provide medical or counselling advice, but they can provide guidance about support services and appropriate contacts within MIT.

Student Counsellors are also available at our campus. They are here to listen to you, provide you with support and further references if required. Appointments with Student Counsellors can be organised with our Student Services Team, who can also provide more information if required.

Health and Safety Champion Group (HSCG) leads efforts to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct connected to MIT, including strategy development and implementation, review of policies, systems and processes. The HSCG meets regularly and is responsible for reporting on sexual misconduct incidents.

If you are interested to contribute to this group or to become a participating member, please send your expression of interest to mit.info@murdochinstitute.wa.edu.au.

You can also find out more information here on the following topics:

How is Privacy maintained when reporting an incident?

The personal information about you and any other person mentioned in your report will be held, stored, used and disclosed by MIT solely for the following purposes and in the following ways:

  • to keep a record of your report;
  • to enable us to contact you to acknowledge your report and to provide information and possible referrals to support services;
  • where appropriate, to enable us to commence a misconduct assessment and investigation under an MIT procedure in relation to a current MIT staff member or student;
  • where appropriate and necessary, to report to the Police or to a State or Federal agency such as the Department of Family & Community Services;
  • to enable us to understand and respond to the risk of sexual misconduct at  MIT.

By “personal information” we mean information that names a person, or from which the identity of a person can be worked out.

Information collected from reports will also be used in internal reports to assist MIT to identify areas or activities of risk and take measures to reduce the incidence of sexual misconduct at MIT. This information does not identify individuals and does not include personal information.

Resources

In the development of MIT’s SASH documentation, a number of resources have been used. These can be found below for those who require more information.

Australian Human Rights Commission, “Change the Course” – National Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at Australian Universities 2017  

Universities Australia“Respect.Now.Always.”

Universities AustraliaGuidelines for University responses to SASH

Universities AustraliaPrinciples for Respectful Supervisory Relationships  

Australian Law Reform Commission

Sexual OffencesConsent

Emergency Contacts

If you need to talk to someone urgently you can call the following numbers:

MIT
Your Campus
SASH Contact
Leonard Hughes: (08) 9360 1707
Jill Kadota: (08) 9360 1711
Paul Aucoin: (08) 9360 1704
Local Contact
Numbers
Murdoch Campus Security: 9360 7333
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
Crisis 24 hour 6458 1828
Emergency Services 000
National Contact
number
National Sexual Assault,
Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service
1 800 737 732
  • SARC – 1800 199 888 / 08 6458 1828
  • National Sexual Assault and Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service – 1800 737 732
  • Lifeline – 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636 7

If you feel able to report the incident to the WA Police they can be contacted on 131 444 or visit https://www.police.wa.gov.au/Your-Safety/Sexual-assault

You can also contact a member of the MIT staff by calling: (+618) 9360 1700 or emailing: supportmit@murdochinstitute.wa.edu.au