Find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions, so you know what to expect when reporting sexual assault or sexual harassment at UTS.
Will UTS Security protect me?
UTS can help you feel safe with Security Services on campus. You can call them at any time, 24 hours. Phone 1800 249 559.
Can you tell me exactly what UTS will do if I make a report of an incident of sexual assault?
Sexual assault is a crime. UTS will check you are currently safe and offer to support you to make a Police report. We are happy to discuss what happens next. Sometimes we can’t tell you exactly what else UTS will do, as that will depend on who was involved, when and where the incident happened, and often, what you want as well, as well as your guardian if you are under 18. We do have guidelines that we follow and if you are a student, a counsellor can talk with you about these before you give details if you wish.
Can I be in control of what UTS does if I make a report of a crime such as sexual assault?
Once you do report, UTS may have obligations to notify the Police. This may mean that the information you provided, will be shared with the Police and used in any Police investigation. We will support you and explain as much as possible. Some of the answers to questions here will also give you an idea about what actions or processes might be outside your control. You can certainly discuss your desire for control and how much control you can have before making a report if you want to. You can also contact the Student Association Student Legal Service for confidential legal advice.
Should I report to UTS or to Police?
You can report to either or both.
There are a number of differences between reporting to UTS and reporting to the Police. UTS staff will encourage you to consider reporting to Police if a crime has been committed, and in some circumstances UTS will be legally obliged to report to Police. Police can investigate a crime, prosecute, and the courts will apply penalties under the law, including fines and imprisonment. In the criminal justice system, a prosecutor must prove the case. Police can take out a Personal Apprehended Violence Order on your behalf, but are less likely to do this if the person you are worried about is not in a domestic relationship with you. UTS staff can help you apply for a Personal Apprehended Violence Order in some circumstances.
UTS cannot investigate a crime. Investigating criminal behaviour is outside UTS's power. UTS can, and does, consider reports made and can make allegations of misconduct. UTS can only put allegations to current students or current staff. Current students are subject to UTS Rules. Current staff are subject to UTS Code of Conduct. The harshest penalty UTS can apply to students is exclusion from the University. The harshest penalty UTS can apply to staff is dismissal.
If I tell someone at UTS, will it stay confidential?
We’ll do our best to respect your confidentiality and only inform those who need to know, with what they need to know, to do their job. For example, if you provide information about an offender that enables that person to be identified, staff have to consider hazard reduction and legal obligations. If you want to discuss your report confidentially, you can do that with a UTS Counsellor, without identifying anyone if you wish. Check out the limits to counselling confidentiality.
A quick summary is that except for consulting with their team and supervisors, counsellors will not give your information to anyone else unless:
- you have given permission; or
- you or someone else is in immediate danger that can be lessened by disclosing; or
- they are required to do so by law – for example, to comply with mandatory reporting requirements in relation to suspected cases of child abuse and neglect, or in response to a court order.
All UTS staff are required to complete an internal report of how they have dealt with any disclosure of sexual assault or sexual harassment, providing only the initials of the person making the report to them. This is so we can check how well we are dealing with reports. If you say you want your report to be kept confidential, staff will do their best to respect your wishes, but they may have obligations to tell others. It also depends on who you tell and for what purpose.
If you want staff to take some action as a result of your report they will often need to consult senior staff. They can do this without using your name in some circumstances. If the matter proceeds to an allegation against someone, or actions need to be taken to get more information or keep you or others safe, some of the information you reported will need to be used.
An offence has been reported, will UTS investigate and punish the offender?
We can support you to make a report to Police if you are a student or staff member - if your report is about possible criminal behaviour associated with UTS activities. We can also make allegations of misconduct. UTS can put allegations to current students or current staff and the person will have the right to respond. Current students are subject to UTS Rules. Current staff are subject to UTS Code of Conduct.
The harshest penalty UTS can apply to current students is exclusion from the university.
The harshest penalty UTS can apply to current staff is dismissal.
If you are a current student or staff member, UTS will support you reporting a sexual offence to Police. Police can prosecute the offender.
If I report to UTS, do I have to give my name?
Generally we can’t act on anonymous reports unless there are multiple reports of the same incident or other minimum information required for UTS to make an allegation of misconduct.
How much evidence is needed for UTS misconduct proceedings?
The minimum information required for UTS to make an allegation of misconduct is:
- a signed written statement, from an identifiable person, containing sufficient detail to link an identified current student or staff member with the observed or alleged behaviour; and/or
- CCTV footage, images, screenshots, print material, computer file, audit trail or legally obtained audio recording containing sufficient detail to link an identified current student or staff member with the observed or alleged behaviour; and/or
- multiple accounts containing sufficient detail to link an identified student or staff member with the observed or alleged behaviour.
Will a UTS misconduct process be completed quickly?
While UTS Security services can be provided quickly, misconduct proceedings can take weeks or months. That is because the allegation has to be prepared, then put to the alleged offender as an allegation, with a period of time allowed for them to access support and respond. If they do not admit the misconduct, a University Student Conduct Committee hearing will be arranged and sometimes it takes more time than we would like to ensure everyone can be present at the hearing. You may be invited to attend in person or by electronic means. The University Student Conduct Committee will decide if misconduct has occurred, and recommend a penalty. The penalty will be reviewed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education and Students).
How can I be informed and kept up to date?
You can ask at any time where matters are up to.
Can I prevent the person who was sexually offensive to me having an allegation put to them?
We will consider your wishes and safety, but if you tell us their name and the details of the offence, we might proceed on the basis of that information - in order to keep others safe. We will talk with you about this and keep you involved in the decision making where possible. We will do our best to inform you of any actions being taken to keep you and others safe.
Can UTS ban someone from campus?
UTS can ban members of the public from campus by supplying them with a Banning Notice. Sometimes it is difficult to do this if their address is not known.
UTS can ban students from coming on campus if their attendance is a risk to the safety of other students, staff and visitors. UTS can ban excluded students from campus, or if reasonable, place requirements on students to only attend under certain conditions.
I don’t want to be in the same class as this person – can they be moved?
We will put your safety first. We might offer you Security support while we gather information. The person you have reported about may be required to attend an alternative class time, if there is one. Each case is different, and we aim to make sure you can feel safe and comfortable to attend class. Remember the person you have reported about will be entitled to respond to your report.
The person I’m reporting about is a staff member – does that make a difference?
It will be treated just as seriously. The power imbalance will be recognised if you are having work marked or are being supervised by the person and we will support you or arrange the support you need. UTS Human Resources will manage the process, as well as telling you about the process.
The person I’m reporting is no longer a student – does that make a difference?
We can support you to consider other reporting options. We can also provide you with support to help you feel safe on campus. If a person leaves and then returns to UTS they can then have an allegation of misconduct put to them, because UTS Rules apply to current students.
There is someone attending UTS who committed an offence against me outside UTS. Is there anything UTS can do?
UTS can support you making a Police report and offer you Security and Counselling support. You can also consult the Student Legal Service. UTS can also take misconduct action if the crime would breach a UTS Rule and the incident occurred during an activity that was organised or approved by UTS. You can talk with one of the services mentioned, to see what might be possible.
Someone else had the crime committed against them, and they don’t want to report, but I want action taken. What can UTS do?
If you are a current student you can consult the Student Legal Service to see if you have any legal obligations to report the matter to Police. We can support you to make a Police report. You can also provide us with a signed statement about what happened, consenting for us to contact the people involved. We can’t tell you exactly what else we will do, as that will depend on who was involved, and when and where the incident happened. We will decide what to do with the information, depending on the circumstances and considering safety and our legal obligations. If possible, we will tell you what we intend to do, but we may be restricted by privacy legislation. We will give you as much information as we can under the circumstances.
I have made a report, but I want to withdraw it. Can I?
We are obliged by law to retain reports of sexual offences. You can submit an additional version, or write a retraction if you want to.