Help for Sexual Assault
The University of Melbourne is committed to eliminating sexual assault and harassment in our community. The University has clear codes of conduct and will not tolerate behaviour that does not meet our standards.
Seeking advice and support
If you or someone you know experiences sexual assault or sexual harassment, contact the Safer Community Program for support and referrals.
We’ll also provide advice and assistance in making a report, be that formal or informal, internal or external.
Phone: +613 9035 8675
Student appointments: Book a Stop 1 adviser
Staff appointments: Telephone or email using the contact details above to book an appointment.
The Safer Community Program is located in Stop 1 (Parkville), 757 Swanston Street.
Or get help now with our list of important telephone numbers and services.
Reporting to the University
The Safer Community Program is here to help you. If you, or someone you know, have been sexually assaulted, we are here to provide support, referrals and information to assist you.
The Safer Community Program is the University’s support service for the reporting and management of all concerning, inappropriate and threatening behaviours. In addition to providing you with wellbeing support, the Safer Community Program can help you understand the options available to you to address the behaviours of concern.
If you report an alleged sexual assault to the Safer Community Program, we will generally encourage you to report any criminal matter of this seriousness to Victoria Police, and will provide you with support to do this if you choose to. There is more information about reporting to Victoria Police below.
Reporting to Victoria Police
If you, or someone you know, have been sexually assaulted, either recently or in the past, you have a right to report it to police and receive legal protection. Further information, including an information booklet, about reporting sexual assault matters to Victoria Police is here:
Sexual assault is known to be an underreported crime. Victims/survivors of sexual assault experience a range of feelings and reactions, and many people do not report sexual assaults due to emotions such as fear, shame and self-blame. Concerns about reprisals, medical and legal procedures, social attitudes, and responses from family and friends may prevent someone from seeking the help they need following a sexual assault.
Police have specially trained officers to respond to victims/survivors of sexual assault. The victim/survivor is the number one priority with police members guided by a set of guidelines known as The Victoria Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Sexual Assault.
Other help available
There are a range of services that can provide support, referrals and counselling about sexual assault issues. These are listed below:
Services outside the University
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is a serious crime. It is generally defined as a sexual activity that is unwanted, that a person has not consented to, and can refer to a broad range of sexual behaviours that make the victim feel uncomfortable, frightened, intimidated or threatened. Sexual assault can include rape, incest, indecent assault, child sexual assault, and it may be a single incident or can occur over time.
Sexual assault is never the fault or responsibility of the victim/survivor.
Have I been sexually assaulted?
The legal definition of sexual assault focuses on consent, which is defined as free agreement to engage in a sexual act. The law states there is no 'free agreement' if:
- There is any force, fear or fraud used, or if you are held against your will
- You are not able to understand the sexual nature of the act
- You are mistaken about the sexual nature of the act or the identity of the other person
- You are led to believe that the act is being performed for medical or hygienic purposes
- You are drunk, or drug-affected
- You are asleep or unconscious
Consent can only be given if you are the correct legal age and have the mental and physical ability to consent.
Who are the victims/survivors?
Sexual assault is a serious crime that can occur to both males and females. The law does not distinguish between male and female perpetrators. However, Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the majority of sexual assault victims are women. In many cases, the victim will know the attacker, and a significant percentage of assaults occur in the victim's home.