Current Students

Sexual misconduct disclosures and reports

University Policy on Student Complaint Resolution

FURTHER INFORMATION

Any student can make a complaint to UWA about any matter affecting their student experience.  For those who have experienced sexual misconduct, in the past or recently, there may be a need for a range of supports that suit their unique situation and many challenges they may have to face. 

There are many support services at UWA including those provided by Student Wellbeing (including Counselling and the Medical Centre) and, if you wish to seek independent advice and support, the Guild's Student Assist team.  A student can access any of these services and: 

  • Talk about what has happened and access a range of services;
  • Find out about other specialist community services such as the Sexual Assault Referral Centre;
  • Access support with academic matters such as extensions, deferrals etc.; and
  • Consider if they need more supports or if they would like to report what has happened more formally.
  • If a student thinks they may need to access more services and/or accommodations; or if they want the University to investigate what happened they can make a Disclosure and/or a Report to UWA. The decision to Disclose and the decision to Report are separate decisions. They are both confidential processes but there may be limits to confidentiality, particularly where the University is required to disclose information to external agencies or investigate under Law.

    • Making a Disclosure starts a process of information and support provision, which can include assistance with making a Report, but does not enable an investigation.
    • Making a Report does enable an investigation (assuming the University has the authority to investigate) and can include a referral to the Disclosure Officer for information and support provision as part of the process.

    Disclosures
    Disclosures are made to the Disclosure Officer who is the Manager of Student Wellbeing. Appointments can be made by phone on 6488 2427 or by email to disclosure@uwa.edu.au. You do not need to provide any information about the sexual misconduct, just that you would like to make a Disclosure. You will be able to bring a support person with you to the appointment such as a friend, family member or Guild Student Assist Officer and if you are not able to come onto campus you can arrange an alternative method of contact with the Disclosure Officer.

    Reports
    Anyone directly subjected to sexual misconduct, including an individual who is not a member of the UWA Community, can make a Report against a member of the UWA Community. Reports can be made by:

A flowchart showing how reports are typically handled is available for download here.

More on Disclosures

  1. UWA will make appropriate support services and accommodations available to members of the UWA Community on the basis of a Disclosure, regardless of whether they decide to make a Report or have contacted the Police in relation to the matter.
  2. A Disclosure does not have to relate to a current or recent matter, and does not have to involve a member of the UWA Community.
  3. Where sexual misconduct is first raised with another UWA employee, that employee will support a referral to the Disclosure Officer.
  4. Accommodations that may be available include:
    • Safety planning and implementing safety measures;
    • Academic accommodations and/or class schedule changes;
    • Temporary work reassignment, location reassignment, or scheduling changes;
    • Emergency funding for students; and
    • Student residence re-location or short-term emergency student housing.

  5. In seeking accommodations, the Disclosure Officer needs to identify the person for whom they are being sought, but does not need to provide any details about the Disclosure.
  6. Records of any Disclosures made to the Disclosure Officer will be kept strictly confidential with access to the records limited and stored in a secure file and not as part of a student or staff file.
  7. To the greatest extent possible, UWA will respect an individual’s choice to not make a Report and will keep the Disclosure confidential. In exceptional circumstances, where required by law or where there is a risk of significant harm to anyone’s health or safety, and at the sole discretion of the Disclosure Officer, UWA may do one or both of the following:
    • refer the matter to the Complaint Resolution Unit as a Report in which case the individual who Disclosed has the right not to participate in any subsequent Investigation;
    • notify third parties, such as the police or child protection authorities.

  8. If UWA takes any action under 7, the Disclosure Officer will notify the person who made the Disclosure and will ensure that appropriate support services are made available to them.

More on Reports

  1. Anyone directly subjected to sexual misconduct, including an individual who is not a member of the UWA Community, can make a Report against a member of the UWA Community. A person who is subjected to sexual misconduct and makes a Report is called the Complainant.
  2. A person can submit a Report to UWA and pursue other processes external to UWA, including reporting to the Police, Equal Opportunity Commission or the Australian Human Rights Commission.
  3. If UWA commences an investigation and an external process is also being pursued, UWA may continue or suspend its investigation (after consultation with the Complainant).
  4. All Reports are received by the Complaint Resolution Unit. This includes anonymous reports and reports from UWA Security.
  5. A Report to UWA does not normally result in a report to the Police, although in exceptional circumstances, where required by law or where there is a risk of significant harm to anyone’s health or safety, UWA may have to notify third parties, such as the Police. If such action is taken, UWA will notify the Complainant and will ensure that appropriate support services are made available to that person.
  6. Any Report received in the Complaint Resolution Unit will be assessed to check a number of matters including:
    • Any safety or other risks associated with the Report and any investigation arising from it;
    • Where the Report was not made by the person directly affected, that they are advised of the Report and are able to talk about the Report and the anticipated process that UWA will take to consider it;
    • That there is sufficient information to proceed;
    • Any requirement for UWA to notify an external body, such as to the Public Sector Commission (where the respondent is an employee);
    • That where Reported by the person directly affected, the person understands the complaint process and possible implications for them, before making a Report;
    • The appropriateness of having the complaint investigated only under the Complaint Policy, or if there are allegations that need to be investigated under the University’s applicable discipline process.

  7. Anonymous and third party reports:
    • Anonymous Reports or Reports of sexual misconduct made by a third party (someone other than the individual who was directly subjected to the sexual misconduct) can also be submitted to the Complaint Resolution Unit.
    • UWA may be unable to proceed with an Investigation involving anonymous or third party allegations due to a lack of evidence from the individual who was directly subjected to the Sexual Misconduct, or where proceeding would not allow for procedural fairness.
    • The Complaint Resolution Unit may take other steps, including an approach via the third party to see if the person affected would consider making a Report.
    • Where other sufficient evidence exists and where procedural fairness could be met, UWA may decide to proceed with an investigation. In such cases, the individual who was directly subjected to the sexual misconduct has the right to be advised of the investigation and not participate.
    • If UWA is unable to proceed with an investigation involving anonymous or third party allegations, the Report will be retained by the Complaint Resolution Unit. It will be kept strictly confidential, and access to it will be limited.