Student Wellbeing and Safety Policy

The Institute recognises the right of all students and staff to a learning environment where equality of opportunity, inclusion and diversity are valued, promoted and practised.

The Institute has zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment (including sexual harassment), bullying and discrimination and expects that students, regardless of background or intrinsic characteristics, are able to participate fully in Institute activities and will feel that their contribution is welcomed, valued and supported.

In accordance with the Student Conduct Policy, all students are expected to observe reasonable standards of behaviour with respect to all Institute activities and property, thereby refraining from harassment (including sexual harassment), discrimination, bullying and other forms of intimidating or unlawful behaviour including sexual assault, against other students and staff.

The Institute is committed to providing additional and personal support services and referrals for students affected by these behaviours in accordance with Additional and Personal Support Services for Students Policy.

If an individual is in immediate danger or requires urgent medical attention, emergency services will be contacted on 000 (112 from mobile phones).

Description

This policy applies to the conduct of all students enrolled at the Institute (undergraduate and postgraduate) when engaged in Institute related activities on campus, in transit to/from campus, off campus and online.

All staff have a responsibility to behave professionally and with respect for others in accordance with the Code of Conduct and relevant legislation.

Definitions

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sexual act or behaviour that occurs without consent. Sexual assault occurs when a person indecently assaults another person or procures another person, without their consent, to commit a sexual act (Section 352 of the Queensland Criminal Code Act 1899).

Consent must be freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to do so.

Consent is not freely and voluntarily given if a person is:

Sexual assault is Sexual assault is not
  • sexual intercourse without consent;
  • oral sex without consent;
  • anal sex without consent;
  • groping and inappropriate touching of a sexual nature without consent.
  • a consensual sexual act or behaviour.

Harassment

Harassment is repeated behaviour that is directed at an individual or group of students or staff and is offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening. The behaviour is often unwelcome and makes it difficult for effective work or study to be conducted.

Harassment occurs in circumstances where a reasonable person would have expected that the behaviour was going to be offensive, humiliating or intimidating and may be sexual in nature or based on gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or a range of other factors listed in the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991).

Harassment is Harassment is not
  • sending offensive emails or text messages;
  • continually displaying offensive or pornographic signs, posters or screen savers;
  • telling insulting jokes about particular racial groups;
  • making derogatory comments or taunts about a person or group of people;
  • sabotaging a person’s study or work;
  • abusing someone verbally in relation to an attribute such as calling someone a name that mocks them;
  • asking repeated intrusive questions about someone’s personal life.
  • except in the case of sexual harassment, a single or isolated conflict or remark;
  • gestures or remarks that arise from a relationship of mutual consent such as giving a friend a hug or compliment.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is defined as ‘Any form of unwelcome sexual attention that is offensive, humiliating or intimidating’. It may be unwelcome touching or other physical contact, remarks with sexual connotations, smutty jokes, requests for sexual favours, leering or the display of offensive material. The behaviour does not have to be repeated for it to constitute sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is unlawful under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).

There are three essential elements in the Legal Test for Sexual Harassment. They are -

  1. The behaviour must be unwelcome
  2. It must be of a sexual nature
  3. It must be reasonable in the circumstances that the person, who was harassed, felt offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Note though, that sexual interaction or flirtation, which is based on mutual attraction or friendship, is not sexual harassment, because it is not unwelcome. If the behaviour is invited and reciprocated, it will not be unlawful.

Sexual Harassment is prohibited regardless of the gender of the parties, so a person can complain if they are harassed by someone of the same sex.

Sexual harassment is Sexual harassment is not

One-off or repeated incidences of:

  • unwanted physical contact such as patting, pinching or touching in a sexual way;
  • unnecessary familiarity such as deliberately brushing against a person;
  • sexual propositions;
  • unwelcome and uncalled for remarks or insinuations about a person’s sex or private life;
  • suggestive comments about a person’s appearance or body;
  • offensive telephone calls, texts, emails or social media posts of a sexual nature;
  • subjecting a person to sexually offensive screen savers or images in electronic or other form.
  • sexual contact that has been engaged in with consent of the recipient, when the consent has not been obtained through fear, intimation, threats or force or where there is a power imbalance in the relationship;
  • flirting that is invited and not unwelcome;
  • attraction or friendship that is invited and not unwelcome;
  • conduct of a non-sexual nature such as unreasonably requesting a person to do a favour that is not sexual in nature (which may be considered harassment or bullying).

Bullying

The Department of Education and Training Queensland defines bullying as repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons.

Bullying within a workplace is where an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety (Fair Work Act 2009).

Except in the case of sexual harassment, a single incident of unreasonable or harassing behaviour does not, of itself, constitute bullying.

Bullying is Bullying is not
  • abuse including threats, insults, gestures or offensive language which may be verbal or in written form such as via text, email or through social media (cyberbullying);
  • repeated unreasonable criticism of another student’s work;
  • repeatedly and deliberately excluding someone from a group;
  • behaviour intended to frighten, intimidate or degrade a person;
  • deliberating supplying incorrect information or withholding information from a person;
  • spreading misinformation about someone;
  • inappropriate comments about a person’s appearance;
  • physical abuse; or
  • teasing or pranking a person repeatedly that causes discomfort.
  • a one off offensive comment about a person that is never repeated and is not of a sexual nature;
  • having an argument, conflict or disagreement with another student (where there is no power imbalance);
  • constructively critiquing another student’s work;
  • having a difference of opinion and expressing it to others in an appropriate way; or
  • not liking someone or being rejected socially by an individual or group of students.

Discrimination

Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person because of an attribute (direct discrimination), or when a requirement that is the same for everyone has an unfair effect on some people because of an attribute (indirect discrimination).

Discrimination is any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of race, colour, age, medical or criminal record, sex, religion, marital status, sexual preference, impairment, mental or physical disability, political opinion, national extraction or social origin that has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment.

Discrimination is Discrimination is not
  • subjecting a person to humiliating initiation ceremonies to be accepted into a group, where an attribute made them a target for the initiation;
  • spreading gossip or rumours about a person based on an attribute;
  • making a complaint about another student on the basis of their contributions to a group assessment task;
  • behaviour that may be considered bullying but is not directed to a person because of an attribute;
  • refusing to work as a group with a person because of an attribute (for example, because a student was older, a particular Nationality or sexual orientation or had family responsibilities;
  • deliberately excluding a person from a study group because of a perception they may be slower than other students due to an attribute such as age, impairment or sex;
  • telling jokes about racial groups;
  • posting to social media ridiculing a person on the basis of an attribute such as gender identity, sexual orientation or race.
  • providing peer review feedback that is critical of the quality of another student’s work;
  • having a one-off conflict with a person of a different race when the conflict is not due to that person’s race;
  • adjusting to accommodate another student such as changing a meeting day or location to accommodate a student with a religious commitment, family responsibility or disability requiring a change of location.
Prevention

The Institute aims to eliminate all forms of sexual assault, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination and commits to providing a safe, equitable, inclusive environment for students to participate in Institute activities.

The Institute commits to the promotion of core values to prevent sexual assault, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination by students by providing a zero-tolerance message regarding such behaviours and communicating with students about expectations around respectful student behaviour.

The Institute will clearly communicate options for reporting incidents of sexual assault, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination, and how to seek support through this Student Handbook and the Grievance Handling and Resolution Policy.

The Institute will inform all staff of their responsibilities under this policy and raise awareness to prevent these behaviours and promote a safe, equitable and inclusive learning environment.

Reporting and Disclosing Incidents

The Institute encourages individuals to report incidents of sexual assault, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination. The incident may be reported by the victim, bystander or another person (with consent). A complaint may be reported in accordance with this policy at any time following an incident, regardless of whether or not the incident has been reported to police.

The Institute will support individuals who have been affected by sexual assault, sexual harassment, harassment, bullying and discrimination to manage their response on their own terms and when they feel safe and confident to do so. There are occasions however where limits to confidentiality should be observed, specifically in instances of child sexual abuse/assault or where there is a continued/immediate threat to the safety of the individual or others.

An individual who has been the subject of sexual assault, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying or discrimination may wish to disclose to a fellow student or staff member of their choice. The health, safety and wellbeing of the person disclosing is of the utmost priority. To be effective in their response, staff and students can follow these basic principles:

  1. Ensure privacy
  2. Listen, show empathy and respect
  3. Refer and recommend specialised support
  4. Acknowledge that the survivor may or may not wish to report the incident formally.
  5. Look after yourself

The manner in which a person responds to a disclosure of sexual assault, harassment, sexual harassment, bullying or discrimination can have a significant impact on the individual’s ability to seek further assistance and recover from any trauma. Students and staff are encouraged to refer the matter to the Course Leader or obtain information from the CEO if they are approached by an individual with a matter that they do not feel equipped to deal with.

The Institute does not tolerate victimisation and will take reasonable steps to ensure that all individuals involved are not victimised.

Self Help

An individual may review their options and choose to attempt to resolve an incident without formally reporting or disclosing their concern.

When an individual feels confident and safe to do so, they may choose to contact the alleged perpetrator (either orally or in writing) and communicate to them that the behaviour if unwelcome and request it cease.

If an individual engages in self-help and the alleged perpetrator continues the offending behaviour, they may seek to move to informal disclosure or lodge a formal complaint.

Self-help is not an option for incidents relating to violence or sexual violence.

Informal Disclosure

If an individual does not wish to engage in self-help, or self-help has been insufficient in dealing with the issue, they may wish to disclose the incident to the Institute without taking action against the alleged perpetrator.

Informal disclosures are to inform the Institute of risks and events and will not result in an investigation or referral of an alleged perpetrator under the Student Conduct Policy or Grievance Handling and Resolution Policy.

The individual may choose to provide a verbal account of the incident to a staff member or fellow student in order to gain information about their support and reporting options. An individual may choose to record an informal disclosure via email to the Course Leader, providing relevant details about the incident.

The Course Leader will keep a record of any informal disclosures should a compliant choose to raise a formal complaint in the future, where the alleged perpetrator remains a student of the Institute.

The Institute’s response to the informal disclosure will be guided by the wishes of the complainant. Should the complainant request action be taken against the perpetrator, a formal complaint will be lodged in accordance with the Student Conduct Policy and Grievance Handling and Resolution Policy.

Formal Complaint

At any time, an individual may lodge a formal complaint through the Grievance Handling and Resolution Policy.