Sexual Respect

Every member of our community has the right to feel safe, welcome and respected. We are committed to making our campuses and our community safe – and free from sexual harassment, indecent assault and rape.

What is sexual harassment?

The Equal Opportunity Act (1984) defines what constitutes sexual harassment.  Under the Act:

A person sexually harasses another (the person harassed) if:

  1. the person makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to the person harassed; or
  2. engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to the person harassed,

in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated 

The Equal Opportunity Commission website provides some helpful information and examples:

Both men and women can sexually harass and be harassed by either sex.

Sexual harassment is determined from the point of view of the person feeling harassed. It does not matter how the behaviour was intended. What matters is its effect on the other person. Sexual harassment can be:

  • unwelcome touching or kissing
  • commenting on a person's appearance
  • comments, jokes or name-calling
  • leering or staring
  • sexual pictures, objects, emails, text messages or literature
  • direct or implied propositions, or requests for dates
  • asking about a person's sexual history or sexual activities.

Mutual attraction or friendship with consent is not sexual harassment.

What to do if you feel you have been sexually harassed?

Sometimes people who have been sexually harassed can feel unsure about talking to others, but taking action may stop the harassment. The University wants our students to be safe, and encourages you to report sexual harassment.

Report an incident

This process can often be daunting, so accessing support from the University of Adelaide Counselling Support or Student Care can be a good first step. They can assist you to make a report to the University, or to have a confidential discussion about this process.

Sexual assault is not acceptable. As a University we have zero tolerance for sexual assault of any kind against any member of our community.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault refers to a number of criminal offences including rape, indecent assault or any unwanted sexual touching or fondling.

Most people might think of sexual assault as happening to a person of the opposite sex, but it can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation. Indecent assault can happen between strangers or between people in a relationship. It can occur in same-sex relationships as well as heterosexual relationships. People can be indecently assaulted by anyone at any time. Responsibility for sexual assault always lies with the perpetrator. It is never the victim's fault.

Sexual assault can occur without physical assault – it can include any act that is unwanted and of a sexual nature – anything that crosses the line of what you’ve consented to. Read more about where to draw the line.

What to do if you have experienced sexual assault?

If you have experienced sexual assault or you are unsure about whether you consented to a sexual activity, you can always seek confidential advice and support.

The University of Adelaide Counselling Support can help you to get support you need to manage the effects of sexual assault, and can discuss the options available if you want to make a report. Information discussed at Counselling Support is not shared or reported further without your written consent, subject to legal requirements.

Student Care offers independent confidential support and information to all students enrolled at the University of Adelaide. Information discussed at Student Care is not shared or reported further without your written consent, subject to legal requirements.