The Institution has a zero tolerance approach to sexual assault and sexual harassment. The Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Policy (“policy”) outlines the management of sexual assault and sexual harassment incidents at the Institution, and the timely resolution of related complaints. This policy also promotes the safety and wellbeing of the disclosing student/staff member and a commitment to build a culture of respect through changing behaviours and attitudes.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the Complaints and Appeals Policy, the General Misconduct Policy and General Misconduct Procedures.
2.1 This policy applies to all staff and students at the Institution. This includes students residing in accommodation both on and off campus regardless of whether that accommodation is managed by the Institution.
2.2 Furthermore, this policy applies to activities where the Institution has a duty of care including, but not limited to, activities that are:
• conducted on any of the Institution’s physical and digital campuses;
• conducted in a one of the Institution’s facilities;
• conducted as part of deployment on the Institution's business or
• representative of the Institution (such as student placements, secondments and exchanges); and
• affiliated with the Institution, such as student clubs or study-related camps.
Consent means when a person freely and voluntarily agrees to sexual advances or intercourse. Sexual assault occurs when someone is unable to and/or does not give consent. The law states that a person is unable to give consent when:
• asleep or unconscious
• significantly intoxicated or affected by drugs
• unable to understand what they are consenting to due to their age or intellectual capacity
• intimidated, coerced or threatened
• unlawfully detained or held against their will
• they submit due to the person being in a position of trust.
These laws do not generally apply to people under the age of 16 years and vulnerable people who, under the law, cannot be said to have consented because of their age and vulnerability.
Institution means the college, institute or school registered as the trading or business name under the legal business entity of International College of Management, Sydney Pty Ltd the trustee for The ICTHM Trust (ABN No 54 174 259 919, CRICOS Provider Code: 01484M, TEQSA Provider ID: PRV12025 & RTO No: 90851).
LGBTIQ+ means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer/questioning individuals any other terms used to describe a person’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Sexual assault is a crime. It is a broad term describing all sexual offences against adults and children and occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent. It also describes a specific offence when a person has sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. Examples of sexual assault include:
• sexual assault;
• sexual battery;
• domestic violence;
• dating violence;
• attempts to commit these acts.
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual conduct which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated
Examples of sexual harassment include:
• unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing;
• staring or leering;
• making suggestive comments or jokes;
• displaying sexually explicit pictures or posters;
• making unwanted invitations to go out on dates or requests for sex;
• asking intrusive questions about a person's private life or body;
• unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person;
• making insults or taunts of a sexual nature;
• sending sexually explicit emails, SMS text messages or social media communications;
• accessing sexually explicit internet sites;
• behaviour which would also be an offence under the criminal law, such as physical assault, indecent exposure, sexual assault, stalking or obscene communications.
This policy may not apply where a formal report (i.e. for the purposes of this policy, a complaint as per the Complaints and Appeals Policy) is made about someone that is external to the Institution. In such cases there are limits on any penalties that the Institution can impose on that person. However, full access to support services will be available to any student or staff member who experiences sexual assault or sexual harassment.
4. Policy statement
4.1.1 In accordance with Standard 2.3 of the Higher Education Standards Framework 2015, the Institution recognises it has a range of responsibilities to students, and in doing so, actively supports and promotes the wellbeing and safety of students. It aims to ensure a safe environment on campus, online and within accommodation buildings at all times.
4.1.2 The Institution takes a firm position on sexual assault and sexual harassment. It is unacceptable, prohibited and in some circumstances, criminal, and will not be tolerated at the Institution. These behaviours breach the Student Code of Conduct and Staff Code of Conduct and therefore constitute misconduct. Such matters will be dealt with in accordance with the General Misconduct Policy and General Misconduct Procedures (for students) and the relevant misconduct processes outlined in the Employee Handbook (for staff).
4.2 Promoting a culture of respect
4.2.1 Both students and staff can expect to study and work in a safe and supportive environment. To this end, the Institution encourages respectful relationships and a culture of respect across its community at all times.
4.2.2 The safety and wellbeing of all students and staff is the Institution’s primary priority. It cultivates an environment whereby consent matters. Any student or staff member experiencing a situation where consent has not been given are encouraged to report it.
4.2.3 The Institution is committed to changing attitudes and behaviours towards sexual assault and sexual harassment. This is achieved through education, prevention strategies, perpetrator accountability and appropriate victim support processes.
4.3.1 The Institution recognises that by promoting changing attitudes and behaviours towards sexual assault and sexual harassment will help to build a culture of respect thus aiming to minimise the number of incidents that might occur. The Institution does this by implementing a range of prevention strategies including but not limited to:
a. conducting risk assessments and implementing controls on any identified risks;
b. orientation programs to new students on expected behaviours and potential repercussions for inappropriate behaviour;
c. consent matters awareness campaigns (including bystander and first responder training);
d. sexual violence, drug and alcohol abuse prevention education programs and campaigns;
e. targeted programs for students residing in accommodation buildings ;
f. consulting with clubs and societies that are affiliated with the Institution;
g. student and staff engagement during policy development to facilitate greater engagement with this policy;
h. commitment to take prompt action when incidents occur;
i. systems and processes for responding to incidents;
j. systems and processes to prevent recurrences.
4.4 Disclosure and formal complaints
4.4.1 The Institution will prioritise the safety and wellbeing of the student or staff member who discloses or makes a formal complaint about an alleged incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
4.4.2 Students or staff members who disclose or make a formal complaint about asexual assault or sexual harassment will be treated with compassion and empathy by staff members who have appropriate training. These staff members will respond respectfully and are able to provide accurate information and can take appropriate actions.
4.4.3 Students may make a formal complaint under the Complaints and Appeals Policy and staff can raise a grievance through the procedures outlined in the Employee Handbook. The Institution provides a specially trained single point of contact to ensure processes are compassionate, consistent and robust.
4.4.4 Information on how to disclose or make a formal complaint about experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment is widely disseminated and includes:
a. the difference between disclosure and making a formal complaint;
b. how to make a disclosure or formal complaint;
c. misconduct procedures including timeframes;
d. notification that the Institution’s formal complaint investigation process is not a substitute for a criminal process; and
e. bystander intervention.
4.4.5 Upon disclosure of an experience of sexual assault or sexual harassment, the student or staff member will retain full control of how the incident is reported (e.g disclosed, formally reported internally and/or externally reported and each may happen by itself and in any order). It is a person’s decision whether to make a formal complaint through the Institution’s complaint processes and/or to report it to the police. Some individuals may prefer to report the incident direct with the police, in which case the individual will receive the Institution’s full support and assistance, as the police are the appropriate body to deal with allegations of criminal conduct.
4.4.6 Students and staff members are encouraged to disclose or make a formal complaint about sexual assault or sexual harassment even on occasions where the incident occurred beyond the Institution’s official business or beyond its grounds.
4.4.7 Students and staff members are entitled to have a support person of their choosing, or people, with them when they disclose, make a formal complaint or access the Institution's services.
4.4.8 An incident of sexual assault will be considered a critical incident and will dealt with under the Critical Incident Policy (while upholding the intent of this policy).
4.4.9 Upon receipt for a formal complaint, the Institution will act in accordance with the Complaints and Appeals Policy and General Misconduct Policy (see also 4.4.8). In determining next steps the Institution will have regard to:
a. the health, safety and wellbeing of the student or staff member making the formal complaint;
b. the health, safety and wellbeing of the Institution's broader community;
c. outcomes sought by the student or staff member making the formal complaint;
d. whether there is a legal duty to report the incident (e.g. underage sexual assault and/or sexual harassment or others at risk of harm);
e. principles of procedural fairness as outlined in the General Misconduct Policy for those accused of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment;
f. where a report is made to the police any action under the Institution’s policies and procedures may be suspended, as the police are the appropriate body to deal with allegations of criminal conduct.
4.4.10 Any student or staff member making a formal complaint will be given the opportunity to state how they would like to see their complaint resolved. While the Institution will make every effort to facilitate reasonable requests, in some instances it may not be possible to achieve that outcome, in which case it will be explained why it is not possible.
4.5 Support and assistance
4.5.1 The institution is committed to ensuring the immediate safety, protection and wellbeing of a student or staff member who has experienced an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
4.5.2 Information about support and assistance services will be widely disseminated and, upon disclosure, will be offered promptly and throughout the reporting process. Support and assistance will include (but is not limited to):
a. emergency health information;
d. accommodation options;
e. assistance to ensure understanding of all available options, including reporting to police and making a formal report to the Institution;
f. information about and assistance with navigating the Institution’s formal report and misconduct processes;
g. for students, information about, and support navigating, the Institution’s deferred examination process should they wish to apply, noting that such applications will be considered confidentially (to ensure privacy of the student by limiting the circulation of information about the nature of the request) and irrespective of a student making a formal report;
h. referral to internal and external support services; and
i. regular and timely communication about the process and its resolution.
4.5.3 In order to avoid causing further harm, the Institution will endeavour to minimise the number of times a student or staff member is asked to recount the experience.
4.5.4 Incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment that occur beyond the Institution’s official business and beyond its grounds are relevant to the Institution and students and staff members are encouraged to seek support from the Institution.
4.6 Confidentiality and privacy
4.6.1 The confidentiality and privacy of a student or staff member who discloses or makes a formal complaint will be protected in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Policy. However, there may be circumstances in which the Institution’s ability to maintain a student’s confidentiality and privacy may be limited particularly in those instances where key personnel need to know information about the incident to ensure the student’s safety, the safety of the broader community and to provide appropriate support to the student or staff member. In addition, for formal complaints, the respondent will be provided with sufficient information to respond to any allegation for procedural fairness purposes.
4.6.2 The Institution recognises its mandatory reporting obligations imposed on individuals in certain professions in cases of suspected abuse of students under the age of 18.
4.6.3 In occasional circumstances, the Institution may be obliged to report an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment to the police. These circumstances will be explained to the student or staff member at time of disclosure.
4.7 Cultural competence
4.7.1. The Institution recognises that the experiences, needs and perspectives of distinct population groups may differ. It will ensure its staff has, or has access to others who have, the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to disclosures of sexual assault and sexual harassment in a culturally competent way. These distinct population groups include but are not limited to:
a. those with a disability;
b. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
c. LGBTIQ+ community;
d. culturally and linguistically diverse students
e. international students
f. transgender or gender diverse people.
4.7.2 Student or staff members who would prefer to disclose their experience in their native language should contact the Institution as information on interpreting services may be available.
4.8 Misconduct proceedings and natural justice
4.8.1 A respondent to a complaint/allegation of sexual assault or sexual harassment will have the opportunity to respond, and ultimately have the matter determined, in accordance with the General Misconduct Policy for students and the Employee Handbook for staff.
4.8.2 All allegations will be handled in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness outlined in the General Misconduct Policy. Allegations that are found to be proven, will be deemed as a major breach of expected standards and appropriate penalties will be applied to ensure the ongoing safety of the individual who has made the complaint and the Institution’s broader community.
4.9 Data and records
4.9.1 Information about individual disclosures and formal complaints will be collected and stored confidentially and will include:
a. details of the incident;
a. steps taken to respond to the disclosure/complaint;
b. support or assistance received;
c. time taken to respond to the disclosure/complaint and/or refer the person to support services;
d. any feedback provided by the complainant/respondent in relation to the process.
4.9.2 The Institution will capture data on de-identified disclosures and formal complaints in order to monitor incidents, patterns of behaviour, monitor effectiveness of this policy, continuous improvement and to prevent reoccurrences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
4.9.3 A student or staff member who discloses an experience of sexual assault or sexual harassment will be advised that de-identified information will be made available internally for data analysis purposes.
5. Roles and responsibilities
5.1 The Registrar is the Responsible Officer of this policy.
5.2 The Executive Management Group is responsible for ensuring the continued cooperation of all students and staff to promote and embed the principles outlined in this policy into their daily behaviour, decision-making and language. It will ensure policies, practices and operations are free from bias and consistent with the intent of this policy.
5.3 Students and staff are responsible for treating fellow community members with respect regardless of background, engaging in a positive, respectful and constructive manner at all times and reporting any incidents of discrimination, harassment or bullying to the Institution.
5.4 The Student Success Centre Manager (students) and the People and Training Manager (staff) are the preferred points of contact for disclosing an experience of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
5.5 The Associate Vice President (Student Experience and Venues) through the Quality Audit and Risk Committee will monitor de-identified data on sexual assault and sexual harassment and make recommendations for improvement.
6. Related documents
Critical Incident Policy
Critical Incident Management Procedures
Complaints and Appeals Policy
Complaints and Appeals Procedures
General Misconduct Policy
General Misconduct Procedures
Student Code of Conduct
Refer to Appendix A for the Institution's sexual harassment and sexual assault flowchart.
Approved by Board of Directors 2 December 2019