Sexual Harm

Trigger Warning: SA/SH

The self-help resources below mention sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (SA/SH) are dealt with in accordance with relevant Federal and Victorian Legislation, and the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) and the University of Melbourne have SA/SH policies that apply to students and staff.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature. The behaviour can be physical, spoken or written, and can make you feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. It can be directed to both women and men; in either case it is totally unacceptable.

Sexual harassment can include:

  • someone asking you to go out with them repeatedly
  • touching
  • leering or staring suggestively
  • comments on how a person looks or is dressed
  • comments on a person’s sex life or sexuality
  • sexual jokes or anecdotes
  • displays of pornography
  • sexually explicit emails, text messages or posts on social networking sites
  • being hassled for sex

What can do you do about it?

Sexual harassment is threatening. People often choose to remain silent in the face of offensive sexual behaviour for fear of retribution by their harasser. This only perpetuates the problem. If you feel you have been harassed:

  • don’t ignore it;
  • don’t feel guilty;
  • tell the harasser to stop if you feel safe to do so; and
  • seek support.

What is Sexual Assault? 

Sexual assault is defined in the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic). It concerns non-consentual acts involving someone intentionally sexually touching another person who does not consent to be touched in that way; when they don't believe that the other person consents to being touched.

If you want to talk to somebody about any uncomfortable experience that may or may not have been sexual harassment or sexual assault, or you have witnessed concerning behaviour (as a bystander), you can contact:

Additionally, the University provides advice and support regarding the implementation of its Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Policy via its Safer Community Program.

UMSU is governed by its own sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying policies and procedures. It is important when you are seeking advice that you indicate if you think a respondent may work for UMSU so you can be advised of the relevant process and gain appropriate assistance.