Respect and Consent

We value and encourage the development of positive and respectful relationships through collaboration and interaction. Respecting others is essential in all relationships, both private and professional.

An important aspect of this is consent for any form of sexual interaction. We want to focus on healthy and respectful relationships, which emphasises the importance of giving and obtaining consent particularly before an encounter of a sexual nature, including in person, online and on mobile phones (including social media and other online platforms).

Quick Exit

What is consent?

Consent is freely, voluntarily, and clearly communicated by a person with the cognitive capacity to do so. Consent is NOT freely and voluntarily given if you:

  • Are forced
  • Are unconscious or asleep
  • Are under the influence of alcohol and/or other substances
  • Are under threat or intimidation
  • Are in fear of bodily harm
  • Have a mistaken belief that the person you interacted with was your sexual partner.

In Australia, a person is NOT regarded as having freely agreed to, or consented to any sexual act just because they do not:

  • Protest, e.g., say “No!”
  • Physically resist, e.g., fight back or run away
  • Sustain an injury, e.g., cuts/bruises/bleeding etc.

For more information on respectful relationships please see the Respectful Relationships information sheet developed by CQUniversity’s Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research (QCDFVR).

According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, definitions of sexual harassment or sexual assault can include:

  • Sexual intercourse without consent
  • Unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing
  • Inappropriate staring or leering that makes someone feel intimidated
  • Sexual gestures, indecent exposure or inappropriate display of the body
  • Sexually suggestive comments or jokes that offend
  • Sexually explicit pictures, posters or gifts that offend
  • Repeated or inappropriate invitations to go on dates
  • Intrusive questions about someone’s private life or physical appearance that offend them or make them feel uncomfortable
  • Sexually explicit emails or SMS messages
  • Inappropriate physical contact
  • Repeated inappropriate advances on email, social media or other online spaces
  • The distribution of explicit or inappropriate images or film of you, without your consent
  • Requests or pressure for sex or other sexual acts
  • Any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment can be defined as any form of unwelcome and unreciprocated behaviour of a sexual nature. It can be written, verbal or physical, and can happen in-person or online.

What is sexual assault/rape?

There are different definitions for sexual assault and rape depending on the Australian state you live in.

Sexual assault is any behaviour of sexual nature directed towards a person who has not given consent to it or is incapable of giving consent - Criminal Code, 1899, Chapter 32. It can include anything sexual online, on social media or using a mobile phone (e.g., non-consensually sending and/or receiving sexually explicit pictures). Sexual assault is a misuse of power and takes away a person’s right to choose. It is never the victim/survivor’s fault.

What is rape?

Depending on the state you live in, different definitions are likely to apply to the term ‘rape’. Regardless of the definition, all states consider sexual intercourse or oral sex without consent as rape. Rape is a crime for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.