Unacceptable Behaviour

The University of Adelaide recognises that honesty, integrity, respect, fairness, and embracing differences are fundamental to achieving the advancement of learning and knowledge.

Through the Equal Opportunity Policy the University seeks to promote an inclusive, respectful and fair environment for all people whilst engaged in University-related activities.

  • Harassment

    What is harassment?

    Harassment is unwelcome conduct that might reasonably cause a person to be offended, humiliated or intimidated because they have a particular attribute. Harassment can also occur if someone is working in a 'hostile' - or intimidating - environment. The behaviours can be overt or subtle, verbal, non-verbal or physical.

    Harassment may include:

    • telling insulting jokes
    • displaying racially offensive posters
    • displaying pornographic posters
    • making derogatory comments or taunts
    • sending explicit or sexually suggestive emails or texts
    • asking intrusive questions about someone’s personal life or sex life.

    Cyber abuse

    Our learning and work environment can include both face to face and on-line components. With the increasing online presence that many of us have, we need to ensure that we take as much care with our online safety as we do with our physical and psychological safety. Here are some links to resources about cyber safety:

    What constitutes Cyber Abuse:

    Cyber-abuse includes image-based abuse (sharing or threatening to share images or film of an intimate nature without consent), sexploitation (blackmail involving the latter), and other forms of tech-facilitated abuse, including cyber-stalking.

    Additional resources:

  • Discrimination

    Discrimination is treating or proposing to treat, an individual unfavourably because of their particular personal characteristics (e.g. ethnicity, place of origin, language and culture, gender) or because they belong to a certain group (e.g. socio-economic status).

    Discrimination can be direct or indirect:

    • Direct discrimination can occur when a person or group is treated less favourably than another person or group in a similar situation, because of a particular characteristic.
    • Indirect discrimination involves imposing a requirement, condition or practice that operates to disadvantage a person or group with a particular characteristic, and that is not reasonable.

    Unlawful Discrimination includes unfair treatment of a person in areas of public life on the basis of the following characteristics: age, association with a child, caring responsibilities, gender identity, disability, marital or domestic partnership status, pregnancy, race, religion, religious appearance or dress (in work or study), sex, sexual orientation, or spouse or domestic partner's identity. 

  • Bullying

    Bullying is when people repeatedly and intentionally use words or actions against someone or a group of people to cause distress and risk to their wellbeing. These actions are usually done by people who have more influence or power over someone else, or who want to make someone else feel less powerful or helpless.

    The sort of repeated behaviour that can be considered bullying includes:

    • Keeping someone out of a group (online or offline)
    • Acting in an unpleasant way near or towards someone
    • Giving nasty looks, making rude gestures, calling names, being rude and impolite, and constantly negative teasing.
    • Spreading rumours or lies, or misrepresenting someone (i.e. using their Facebook account to post messages as if it were them)
    • Mucking about that goes too far
    • Intentionally stalking someone

    Definition from the Australian Human Rights Commission.

  • Victimisation

    Victimisation is unfairly treating people for complaining, helping others to complain, either within the University, to the Equal Opportunity Commission or another external agency.

    Unlawful victimisation is unfair treatment for complaints about discrimination or harassment.

  • Racism

    What is Racism?

    Racism takes many forms and happens in many places. It divides people into “us” and “them” based on the colour of our skin, the cultures we practice or where we come from. It takes the form of prejudice, discrimination or hatred toward individuals or groups of people.

    People often think of racism as acts of abuse or harassment. However, it doesn’t need to involve violent or intimidating behaviour. Racism is present when people make “jokes” or offensive comments on the basis of race; when they exclude others for being “different”; or make assumptions based on racial stereotypes.

    Racism can be revealed through people’s actions as well as their attitudes. It can also be reflected in systems and institutions where invisible barriers, big and small, work to prevent people from doing as well in life as others simply because of their difference or cultural background. Racism can be overt or covert, intentional or unintentional, conscious or unconscious. It impacts on the mental health of individuals and can threaten the social cohesion of communities.

    What to do as a Bystander

    Increase your awareness

    • Notice and be sensitive to and welcoming of racial, ethnic, religious and/or cultural groups other than your own.
    • Challenge your assumptions about people of different backgrounds.
    • Ask questions to increase your understanding of another person's experiences and point of view.
    • Be conscious of racist attitudes, language, and stereotypes.
    • Recognise the need to take personal responsibility for eliminating racism.
    • Be aware that silence condones racist behaviour.
    • Learn about the impact of racism and racial vilification on members of our community, both in historical and contemporary times.
    • Educate yourself. Participate in workshops and cultural training provided by Wirltu Yarlu or book an appointment with a Kaurna Cultural Advisor

    Take action

    • Offer support if you witness someone being the target of racist behaviour.
    • Speak up against racist comments or jokes.
    • Challenge others’ negative assumptions about people of different backgrounds.
    • Ensure that application forms and interview questions ask for skills and experiences directly related to the job requirements and don’t reflect cultural bias.
    • Model inclusive and respectful language and behaviour.
    • Promote mutual respect between individuals who come from different cultural backgrounds.
    • Create learning environments that include the perspectives and experiences of diverse cultural groups.
    • Examine your teaching materials and assess the inclusiveness and diversity of their content.
    • Celebrate cultural diversity at relevant campus events.
    • Provide genuine opportunities for staff and students to learn from their colleagues and peers.

    Become a champion of anti-racism

    • Recognise and challenge institutional barriers that prevent members of underrepresented or marginalised groups from having equal access to power and authority.
    • Recognise and challenge ways institutional barriers maintain the power of members of the dominant group.
    • Support and engage in research and initiatives that empower underrepresented or marginalised groups.
    • Set up mentoring programs for underrepresented or marginalised groups – students and employees – to encourage them to succeed.
    • Set up discussion groups to explore ways to address racism and/or cultural exclusion.
    • Use both personal and organisational power to challenge institutional racism

    Bystanders are also encouraged to report racism. If you witness racist behaviour, there are lots of things you can do to help. As a bystander, you may be able to stop a racist incident, prevent it from escalating, and potentially prevent or minimise social or emotional harm to the targeted person or group.

  • Sexual misconduct

    Sexual Misconduct includes Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault (SASH). Definitions and examples of SASH can be found in the next two drop down lists.

    You will see the term 'sexual misconduct' used on this website. The University uses the term 'sexual misconduct' as it is broader than SASH. The full definition of sexual misconduct can be found in the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Response Procedures.

  • Sexual harassment

    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:

    People of any gender can be victims or perpetrators of harassment.

    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.

  • Sexual assault

    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.

    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.

  • Family and domestic violence

    Domestic and family violence can happen to anyone in various visible or invisible forms. What happens is always the abuser’s responsibility. It can be confusing and traumatising for people who experience or witness domestic and/or family violence.

    Domestic and/or family violence is a pattern of abusive behaviours, it can include (but is not limited to):

    • Physical abuse
    • Emotional/psychological abuse
    • Financial abuse
    • Coercive control
    • Sexual abuse
    • Reproductive abuse
    • Stalking

    Domestic and/or family violence can happen in any relationships, including intimate relationships, post separation from an intimate relationship, parents/guardians and children (including adult children), carer/support worker and care recipient, and more.

    If you are not feeling safe in a relationship or are unsure about the relationship you are experiencing, you can always reach out and seek safe and confidential support.

    Support for staff

    Support options available for all staff experiencing family and domestic violence can be found on the Human Resources website:

    Family and domestic violence

    Support for students

    The University of Adelaide Counselling Support can help you to get the assistance you need to manage the impact of domestic and/or family violence.  They can discuss safety planning, and the options available if you want to take further actions or need specific help (such as emergency accommodation). Information discussed at Counselling Support is not shared or reported further without your written consent, subject to legal requirements.

    External support for staff and students

    Supports that are available in the community for domestic and family violence can be found on the support page of this website.

What can I do?

To find out what you can do if you witness or experience any of these behaviours, please see the information on reporting and support options that are available to you.