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CQUniversity is committed to providing all staff and students with a safe, supportive and respectful place to work and study. Physical, sexual or online violence, assault, harassment or bullying, against any individual or group will not be tolerated.

Our commitment to personal safety and wellbeing means we are proud to support the national Universities Australia Respect. Now. Always campaign. This campaign highlights the determination of Australia’s universities to ensure that our students and staff are safe from violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment. CQUniversity has developed a comprehensive Action Plan as part of the Respect. Now. Always. campaign, which aims to address and prevent sexual harassment and assault by raising awareness, changing attitudes and behaviours, and developing a culture that values and practices respect. CQUniversity’s action plan has been developed in line with the nine recommendations set out in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Change the Course report into sexual harassment and assault at Australian Universities and the Universities Australia 10-point action plan. To review CQUniversity’s actions over the past 12 months please see the Respect. Now. Always. Progress Report.

We encourage anyone impacted by sexual assault or sexual harassment to report the incident and seek support from our expert Student Counselling team, or from third-party specialist support services. The information provided on this webpage is intended to inform our students and staff of their rights, while also outlining the reporting process and support services available.

CQUniversity Response to Sexual Harassment and Assault

Two years ago, Universities Australia launched the national Respect. Now. Always campaign.

The world-first initiative was a shared approach by 39 Australian universities to address sexual harassment and sexual assault within university communities. The campaign aims to:

  • Raise awareness around the issue of sexual harassment and sexual assault on campus and improve the visibility of support services provided to students;
  • Obtain data to guide further improvement in university policy development and the provision of student support services; and
  • Assist Australian universities in establishing world's best practice in addressing and preventing the issue of sexual assault and harassment on campuses and within university communities.

As part of this campaign, Universities Australia commissioned the Australian Human Rights Commission to conduct a survey of students across 39 Australian universities. The survey aimed to identify trends and issues related to incidences of sexual harassment and assaults on university campuses. On Tuesday, 1 August 2017 the Australian Human Rights Commission and Universities Australia released a national report on the findings of the survey. The Change the Course report outlines the Commission’s findings on the prevalence and nature of sexual assault and sexual harassment at all Australian universities and sets out a 10 Point action plan that recommends steps for universities to take to address and prevent sexual harassment and assault.

More information on the Universities Australia Respect. Now. Always. campaign

As part of the national campaign CQUniversity has shown a commitment to preventing and addressing sexual harassment and assault by developing a comprehensive Action Plan and university working group to implement initiatives.
The CQUniversity Respect. Now. Always. Action Plan sets out 41 actions across five key delivery pillars. These pillars are:

  1. Leadership and governance
  2. Awareness, prevention and education
  3. Service and support
  4. Safety and security
  5. Evaluation and research

Each of these pillars and associated actions have been designed to meet the ten recommendations set out in the Change the Course report. The plan has sets out a whole-of-university approach to managing the issue and has been developed through consultation with a number of internal and external stakeholders and experts. The plan will be driven and implemented by a Respect. Now. Always. Action Plan working group, which is made up of members from the following operational units plus a student representative:

  • Student Experience (Counselling, Student Communication, Student Services)
  • People and Culture
  • Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence Research (QCDFVR)
  • Tertiary Education Division
  • Student Residences
  • International
  • Campuses and Engagement
  • Corporate Communications

The actions within this plan will need to be delivered by December 2019 and full evaluation of the plan and associated outcomes will be conducted after this.
A number of actions have already been rolled out as part of this plan including:

  • The development of a student critical incident policy.
  • The development of staff guidelines for dealing with disclosures of sexual violence and dealing with students in distress.
  • Improved the visibility and accessibility of related policy and awareness materials
  • The delivery of compulsory mental health first response training to student-facing staff and student peer leaders.

Moving forward, we will also be rolling out a university-wide prevention and awareness campaign, which will be informed by the findings of a groundbreaking research project currently being conducted by our own Queensland Centre for Domestic and Family Violence (QCDFVR).

Respect and Consent
Defining harassment and assault

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 harassment?

Harassment is any form of unwelcome and unreciprocated behaviour of either a sexual or a non-sexual nature, which can be expected to cause distress due to intimidation and humiliation. Harassment can be written, verbal or physical, and can happen in-person or online. Examples include:

  • Verbal - name calling or jokes that are distressing and cause offence.
  • Non-verbal - suggestive body language that cause distress and offence.
  • Written including mobile phone, email or online - displaying offensive posts on social media that cause distress and offence.
  • Physical - threats of violence, or actual violent acts.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any form of unwelcome sexual behaviour that is offensive, humiliating or intimidating. It can be written, verbal or physical, and can happen in person or online.

What is sexual assault?

“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.

Sexual assault is a misuse of power & takes away a person’s right to choose. It is never the victim’s fault.

What is rape?

Depending on the state you live in, different definitions may 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.

What to do if you have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted

Sexual harassment or sexual assault can happen to people of all ages, race, ethnic background, social and economic status, gender or sexual orientation.

Victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault may feel that they are to blame in some way or be fearful that they won’t be believed. It is important to remember that:

  • Sexual harassment is unacceptable and should never be tolerated within any university or workplace, or the broader community.
  • Sexual assault is a crime. Like all acts of violence, it is a violation of human rights.
  • Sexual harassment and sexual assault are NEVER the victim’s fault.

If you have experienced sexual harassment at university you are encouraged to make an official complaint to the University and seek the support of the Student Counselling team. CQUniversity has a Zero Tolerance approach to sexual harassment and all complaints will be managed compassionately and fairly.

If you have experienced sexual assault, there are a number of options available to protect your personal health and assist in restoring your feelings of safety and security. These include:

  • Contact 000 or go to your nearest emergency department.
  • Go to a place where you feel safe – this could be your home, a friend’s house or a police station.
  • Consider calling someone who you feel comfortable talking to for support.
  • Seek medical advice – This is important to ensure there are no physical injuries and also to treat any possible Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Some STIs have few or no visible symptoms in the early stages, however if left untreated, they can cause long-term problems.
  • Seek counselling support and assistance from a sexual assault support service.
  • Seek counselling support from the Student Counselling team via phone on 07 4930 9456 or email at The Student Counselling team can also refer you to a number of specialised support services within your community.
  • Contact 24/7 Crisis Care services such as 1800 Respect on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

As you begin to process what has happened, remember:

  • You are not responsible for the offender’s actions
  • Not to blame yourself for the attack
  • No one ever asks or deserves to be sexually assaulted or raped
  • The most important thing is your survival
  • To believe in your own self-worth
  • You can access help and support.

Following a sexual assault, a person is not always clear about how they want to proceed and whether they should report it to the authorities. It is not mandatory to report a sexual assault to police. However, we do encourage all victims and bystanders to report incidents to the police and to the University. We also encourage victims to seek medical attention.

Reporting an incident to the University enables us to ensure victims are provided with priority access to University counselling and support services and referral to other specialist services where required. If the victim decides to report to the police, the CQUniversity Student Counselling service can provide support and guidance through the process.

For help reporting an incident, visit the Student Portal or StaffNet and search for ‘Respect Now Always’. Students can also report an incident by contacting the Student Counselling Team or submitting a student complaint.

Self care

People cope with a traumatic experience in many different ways and the following self-care strategies may help you during your recovery. Even if you feel unmotivated or uninterested, try to do some of the things below:

  • Recognise that you have been through a traumatic and stressful event
  • Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you are feeling while also reminding yourself that you can cope
  • Engage and stay connected with supportive people
  • Keep physically active
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat healthy food
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Keep a basic daily routine and structure to your days
  • Schedule activities that you enjoy
  • Avoid making major life decisions in the period straight after the trauma
  • Cut back or cut out tea, coffee, chocolate, cola and cigarettes
  • Give yourself time to re-evaluate
  • Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feelings
  • Seek support from people who understand and if you feel able to, talk about your experiences
  • Practice relaxation and mindfulness.

Speaking to a professional counsellor can be helpful for many people. CQUniversity offers all students access a professional, free and confidential student counselling service. CQUniversity’s student counsellors provide dedicated and personalised mental health and wellbeing advice and support, and can also refer students to specialist external service providers.

Bystander Response

Staff and students at CQUniversity play an important role in fostering respectful relationships and a climate that prevents any act of sexual harassment or sexual assault while studying at CQUniversity and beyond. Bystanders have an important role to play, to speak up or to step in when they are aware of an unsafe situation. We encourage you to always report any concerns you have either to a trusted staff member, the Student Counselling Team or by submitting a student complaint.

Reporting an incident

Following a sexual assault, a person is not always clear about how they want to proceed and whether they should report it to the authorities. It is not mandatory to report a sexual assault to police. However, we do encourage all victims and bystanders to report incidents to the police and to the University. We also encourage victims to seek medical attention.

Reporting an incident to the University enables us to ensure victims and survivours are provided with priority access to University counselling and support services and referral to other specialist services where required. If the victim decides to report to the police, the CQUniversity Student Counselling service can provide support and guidance throughout the process.

For help reporting an incident, visit the Student Portal or StaffNet and search for ‘Respect Now Always’. Students can also report an incident by contacting the Student Counselling Team or submitting a student complaint. Any complaint related to bullying, harassment or violence will be dealt with as a priority.

Peer support

The initial reactions that an individual receives when disclosing a sexual assault can have a strong impact on how they proceed and what decisions they make. It is important to believe what the person is telling you and take it seriously. A reaction that suggests the assault may not have been ‘that bad’ or that the individual was in some way to ‘blame’ will often have an extremely negative impact. Suggestions of shame and guilt may prevent that person from seeking further support, including essential medical care and treatment.

You have the opportunity to respond in a way that is supportive and respectful. Try and do the following:

  • Listen to what they have to say
  • Do not judge their actions
  • Allow them to talk as much or as little as they want
  • Encourage them to seek appropriate help
  • Support them through the process
  • Encourage them to eat and sleep well
  • Understand that they may experience ups and downs
  • Allow them time to heal
  • Validate their feelings, thoughts, and emotions
  • Spend time with them doing things they enjoy
  • Remember it is about them not you or potential feelings you may have about the event.

After providing initial support it may be helpful to assist the person to explore options so that they have control over what they choose to do next. Support the person to access the resources and contacts they need. This may include family, friends, or specialised services.

If the person is not ready to accept further support at the moment it could be helpful to discuss the following:

  • a plan for their safety and wellbeing
  • who they wish to speak to
  • where they will be staying
  • who they may contact when needed
  • your availability
  • any crisis supports they can access
  • remind them that you care about them.

For more information please see Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault. CQUniversity’s Student Counselling Team is also available to provide students with advice and guidance on providing first response and ongoing mental health support to a friend or family member.

CQUniversity Support Services

Student Counselling

Students needing help dealing with a past incident of violence or assault are encouraged to contact the Student Counselling team. The Student Counselling team aims to assist students with any issues that may negatively impact their studies or personal wellbeing. Our qualified counsellors can also refer students to a number of external service providers who specialise in providing victim support when it comes to abuse or violence.

The Student Counselling service is a free and confidential service provided to all CQUni students. Our counsellors are trained in trauma-informed responses and can handle disclosures competently and compassionately. The Student Counselling team will not pressure you into any direction and can provide you with resources and referral options that may be helpful.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual violence, student counsellors are available to assist you. To make an appointment or find our further information:

Phone: 07 4930 9456

CQUniversity, encourages all victims and survivors of sexual assault, regardless of when or where the incident occurred to connect with our Student Counselling team should they require emotional or academic support during their study journey.

Student Advocacy

Student Advocacy is a free and confidential service providing support and assistance to all CQUni students who seek guidance on grievances, appeals and disputes. The free service helps students understand and navigate associated University policies and processes and to articulate their issues.

The Student Advocacy service can assist with guiding a student through the process of lodging a formal complaint. To contact Student Advocacy:

Location: Student Advocacy Officer Building 36 G.02 Rockhampton North
Phone: 07 4930 6880

Ally Program

CQUni is dedicated to creating a safe and supportive atmosphere for all students with a zero tolerance approach to bullying and discrimination. As part of this, we have implemented an Ally Program to promote acceptance and understanding for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) students.

The Ally program is for ALL students, whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or not. There is an Ally Network on the Student Portal as a connection point for any student who would like to be involved. It is a place for students to access support and get in contact with an Ally. This is also the place where students who want to become trained as Allies can do so.

CQUniversity campus safety and security

CQUniversity employs security resources at all campuses. You should always contact security if you are concerned about any suspicious activity on campus or if you have any concerns about your personal safety. Security can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any campus on 0418 792 982.

Students and staff are also encouraged to download the free SafeZone app to their smartphone or tablet. SafeZone is an easy to use app that allows you to call for help at the touch of a button. For more information about safety on campus please click here.

If you are in any immediate danger always dial 000.

Community Support Services

Emergency and Crisis Support

Call triple zero (000) in an emergency or life threatening situation.
Crime Stoppers (Police): 1800 333 000
Police Link: 131 444

Medical and Crisis Counselling Support

The following services are national services that can provide support and assistance to victims and survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

  • 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732 (24/7 Telephone support) - National sexual assault, domestic and family violence telephone counselling service.
  • DV Connect: 1800 811 811 (24/7 Telephone support, referral and refuge) - Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence National Help Line.
  • SASS: Sexual Assault Support Services throughout Australia
  • Lifeline: 131114
  • Bravehearts: 1800 Brave 1 (1800 272 831) Child sexual assault counselling services and reporting.

Translating & Interpreting Service: 13 14 50

Overview of Community Support Services

The police and CQUniversity’s Student Counselling service can also connect you with local support services in your area. Please contact your local station or the CQUniversity Student Counselling team should you need to be connected.