Health, wellbeing and support
Sexual assault and sexual harassment
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ACN has zero tolerance for sexual assault and sexual harassment and is committed to providing an environment for staff and students that is free from all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment.

ACN will support students who report sexual harassment or sexual assault. If you, or someone you know, has been affected by an incident of sexual assault or harassment, support is available.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent. The act is often perpetrated by someone known to the person and can leave them feeling threatened, uncomfortable or frightened.

Sexual assault can happen to people of all ages, genders and sexualities, within or outside a relationship. Sexual assault is an abuse of power, and is never the fault of the person who does not consent to the sexual behaviour.

You can find more information on sexual assault and harassment in the Student Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is when a person makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours to another person, and/or engages in any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to another person.

ACN understands that sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:

  • leering or staring
  • obscene sexual communications in any media including social networking
  • persistent following or stalking
  • persistent unwelcome invitations, telephone calls or emails
  • sending of sexually explicit emails or text messages or distributing sexually explicit material
  • sexually suggestive words, gestures or sounds
  • unwanted ongoing declarations of affection or approaches for affection, including gifts
  • displaying, sending or requesting sexually explicit pictures or posters
  • making or distributing a sexually explicit audio recording or photo-shopped image of another person
  • unwelcome behaviour or contact of a sexual nature which offends, intimidates, embarrasses or humiliates an individual.

Sexual harassment can occur through email, text, messaging, social media posts, online chats and other forms of electronic communication.

Repercussions for committing sexual assault

ACN does not tolerate unlawful conduct, including sexual assault and sexual harassment. A student or staff member found in breach of the Student Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy may face disciplinary consequences including exclusion from ACN or termination of employment.

Sexual assault is a crime and can result in severe criminal penalties according to the law.

Reporting sexual assault or sexual harassment

There are different options of reporting sexual assault and sexual harassment, and the decision about how to report an incident rests with the person making the report:

  • Make a police report
  • Make a disclosure to ACN
  • Make a complaint to ACN

If you have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment you have a right to decide whether you want to report the incident(s) to ACN or not.

Report an incident to the police

ACN supports the right of students who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment to decide whether they want to report the incident to the police, or not.

You can choose to report an incident directly to the police on 131 444. If you are in immediate danger or need urgent medical attention, please call 000.

Making a disclosure of sexual assault or sexual harassment

ACN is committed to supporting students who disclose sexual assault or sexual harassment.

A disclosure of any incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment can be made to any ACN staff member (between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or by email to the Compliance Officer at

Students can elect to make a disclosure of sexual assault or sexual harassment anonymously.

Making a complaint of sexual assault or sexual harassment

ACN is committed to supporting students who complain about sexual assault or sexual harassment.

A complaint of any incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment can be made to any ACN staff member (between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) or by email to the Compliance Officer at

Students who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment should make a complaint (rather than a disclosure) if:

  • they want ACN to investigate or to take specific action; and
  • the complaint is about ACN related conduct by
    • an ACN student(s); or
    • a current ACN staff member(s)

A complaint of sexual assault or sexual harassment will be immediately escalated for investigation.

Privacy and confidentiality of your information

ACN will keep confidential all information relating to a disclosure or complaint of sexual assault or sexual harassment.

In some circumstances, for example when a complaint is made in relation to the conduct of an ACN staff member or where there may be a significant risk to others, ACN may be required to make a report of an incident to the police.

Active bystander intervention

ACN encourages and values safe active bystander intervention by staff and students to prevent or stop sexual assault and sexual harassment from occurring or continuing.

The steps involved in safe active bystander intervention are:

  • noticing the situation — paying attention to what is going on nearby
  • deciding if it is a problem — investigating whether someone might need help, and checking with people around if unsure
  • accepting responsibility to take action — not assuming someone else will do something
  • making a plan to step in — indirectly or directly confronting the issue, without being aggressive or putting oneself or others in danger.

Supporting students who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment

Students and staff can support a student who has experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment by:

  • listening without interrupting
  • letting them express how they feel and respecting the words they use in reference to the incident
  • letting the student know they believe what the student is telling them and acknowledging the student’s distress
  • letting the student know that the incident was not their fault
  • respecting their decisions
  • directing them to the available support services.

You can find more information about personal and academic support at ACN in the Student Management Policy.

External services

Below is a list of services, which can offer you support, counselling and information whether you’re seeking help for yourself, a friend, relative, or colleague.

Sexual assault counselling information
1800 RESPECT Toll-free 1800 737 732 National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service

Professionals are also encouraged to use 1800RESPECT for support with secondary referrals or vicarious trauma.

MensLine 1300 78 99 78 24/7 counselling services for men who are dealing with issues of violence.
Canberra Rape Crisis Centre (CRCC) (02) 6247 2525 Confidential counselling and support for women and children who have experienced any form of sexual assault recently or in the past. Crisis phone support available from 7am until 11pm, 7 days a week.
Service Assisting Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (SAMSSA) (02) 6247 2525

Mon-Fri, 9 am — 5 pm

Counselling and support to men over the age of 16 in the ACT and surrounding region, and their supporters, to recover from the effects and impacts of sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse.
The Nguru Program (02) 6247 2525 Provides culturally appropriate counselling for members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, who have experienced sexual assault, and their families.
NSW Rape Crisis Centre 1800 424 017 24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone in NSW — men and women — who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault and their non-offending supporters. This support service is provided by Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia.
North Sydney Sexual Assault Services Business hours: 02 9462 9477

After hours: via the RNSH switch 02 9926 7111

Forensic and counselling service for adult victims of sexual assault.
Sexual assault referral centres (SARC) Darwin: 8922 6472
Katherine: 8973 8524
Tennant Creek: 8962 4361
Alice Springs: 8955 4500
Counselling to both adults and children who may have experienced (recently or many years ago) any form of sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Helpline 1800 010 120

7:30 am — 11.30 pm, 7 days

The Queensland Sexual Assault Helpline offers telephone support and counselling to anyone, women, men and young people, who have been sexually assaulted or abused.
Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service (08) 8226 8777

Toll-free in SA: 1800 817 421

Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service is an inclusive service welcoming people who have been sexually assaulted. Services are for any person 16 years and over at the time of the sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Support Service 1800 697 877

This number is state-wide and will automatically direct you to your nearest support service.

Crisis counselling by phone for survivors (and family members, friends, other support people) who are distressed, anxious, or experiencing trauma symptoms as a result of recent or historical sexual violence
Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1800 806 292 The Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria (SACL) is a state-wide, after-hours, confidential, telephone crisis counselling service for people who have experienced both past and recent sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) (08) 6458 1828

8.30 am — 11 pm, 7 days

Provides a range of free services to people affected by sexual violence. This includes people affected by a recent sexual assault, past sexual assault, current sexual abuse and past sexual abuse.