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23 March 2021

Deakin supports students and staff who have experienced or been affected by sexual harm

Sexual harm and gender-based violence is a serious issue facing the entire community – and it is everyone’s business. In recent weeks, a number of media reports have highlighted the importance of ensuring safe, inclusive and respectful study and work environments – a goal to which Deakin is fully committed.

Deakin takes a strong stance against any form of harmful or discriminatory behaviour. We offer a range of support services, resources and referral pathways to assist any student or staff member who is directly or indirectly impacted.

What exactly is sexual harm?

Sexual harm is any unwanted sexual behaviour that you have not agreed to. It can take many forms, including:

We provide a more detailed definition and explanation of sexual harm in the Deakin Sexual Harm Prevention and Response Policy.

This affects everyone

When issues like this unfold in the media or public forums, they can affect people in different ways.

Some victim/survivors of sexual harm, gender-based violence or domestic and family violence may:

All of these emotions are understandable and important to acknowledge. 

What happens if you decide to disclose or report sexual harm

Sexual harm (including sexual harassment or assault) is never the fault or responsibility of the victim/survivor. It is illegal, a misuse of power, a betrayal of trust and a violation of personal boundaries.

Further, within the Deakin community any form of sexual harm, violence or harassment is a breach of mandatory standards of behaviour that all students and staff must abide by.

If something has happened to you, it’s essential to know that you have rights – regardless of when or where the incident occurred. Deakin is here to help you every step of the way and we provide a range of support services.

This also applies if you have been assisting someone else and feel the need for support yourself.

Safer Community is Deakin’s central point of contact for reports and disclosures of sexual harm, and domestic and family violence. Our trained professionals are experienced in dealing with this kind of trauma and will support you throughout this challenging journey.

You can make any disclosures safely and – most importantly – you are in control. You decide what level of support and action you want taken, and when. Nothing will happen that you are not comfortable with.

Read more about Safer Community, how to contact us and what other help is available.

Responding as a community

It’s our collective responsibility to address unacceptable attitudes and behaviours. At Deakin, we challenge views that condone violence, disrespect, power imbalances and inequity.

One positive step you can take is to commit to becoming an active bystander. This means:

We offer free training that gives you tools for dealing with difficult situations – like a joke that makes you feel uncomfortable or constitutes sexual harassment – in a practical and positive way. Email [email protected] for more information.

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