Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Bullying

Everyone has the right to feel safe, and the University aims to provide staff and students with a physical and online environment that is free from unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying.

Seeking advice and support

The University takes all allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying very seriously and the Safer Community Program is here to help you. If you, or someone you know, have experienced discrimination, sexual harassment or bullying, we are here to provide support, referrals and information to assist you.

Contact us

Phone: +613 9035 8675
Email: safer-community@unimelb.edu.au
Student appointments: Book a Stop 1 adviser

If you are a staff member experiencing discrimination, sexual harassment or bullying, please contact a Human Resources representative for support and advice in the first instance. Or, if this is not an option, please contact the Inappropriate Workplace Behaviour Line.

The Safer Community Program is located in Stop 1 (Parkville), 757 Swanston Street.

If you are in immediate danger, or for after-hours support, contact University Security on +613 8344 6666 or the Police on 000.

What is discrimination?

Direct discrimination occurs when a person treats, or proposes to treat, someone with a protected personal characteristic unfavourably because of that personal characteristic. Indirect discrimination occurs a when an unreasonable requirement, condition or practice is imposed that disadvantages a person or group because of a personal characteristic. In Victoria it is unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of personal characteristics such as:

  • age
  • employment activity
  • family responsibilities
  • disability
  • gender identity
  • physical features
  • industrial activity
  • marital status
  • political belief or activity
  • pregnancy
  • race
  • religious belief or activity
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment means any verbal, written or physical behaviour of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and uninvited that makes the other person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.  Sexual harassment may be a single incident or a series of incidents. Intention is irrelevant to the definition.

Mutual flirtation or sexual contact that is desired and freely consented to is not sexual harassment.  Unwelcome behaviour that is not freely consented to because of fear, intimidation or coercion does constitute sexual harassment.

What is bullying?

Bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or group, that creates a risk to health and safety.

Bullying can occur between students, by a student towards a staff member, or by a staff member towards a student.

When repeated or part of a consistent pattern of behaviour, these behaviours could be classified as bullying:

This list does not cover every type of behaviour that may constitute bullying.

Providing constructive criticism or advice, differences of opinion or interpersonal conflicts are not considered bullying.

Single incidents

While a single incident of unreasonable behaviour might not constitute bullying, it may have the potential to escalate into bullying and should not be ignored. In the first instance, telling someone that you find their behaviour inappropriate can be an effective way to resolve concerns.


University Policies