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CQUniversity is committed to providing all staff and students with a safe and peaceful 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.

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

On Tuesday, 1 August 2017 CQUniversity  released its own institutional findings as part of a national survey which investigated the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment and assault in Australian universities.

The report findings are based on responses received from a sample of CQUniversity students who responded to the national survey commissioned by Universities Australia, the peak body representing the Australian university sector.

The survey, which was conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission, was part of the broader Respect. Now. Always. campaign aimed at addressing and preventing sexual harassment and assault within the Australian university sector, and ensuring Australian universities are places of safety and respect.

The survey which was conducted at the end of 2016, invited a sample of students studying at Australian universities, to anonymously answer questions related to their own experiences and opinions of the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault within their university and community

CQUniversity has so far implemented a number of additional measures to improve safety and respect on-campus including the implementation of a comprehensive emergency notification system and personal safety app, delivering zero tolerance and mental health first response training to staff, and developing a range of education tools and resources for students and staff that focus on issues such as consent and respectful relationships.

Along with this CQUniversity is also:

  • Reviewing all policies that relate to zero tolerance, complaint management and support services to ensure they follow recommended world’s best practice guidelines.
  • Improving the visibility of student support services at all campuses and online.
  • Providing additional sessions on student support services during new student orientation programs.
  • Developing a new student critical incident policy which will be accompanied by staff guidelines for responding to students in distress, and staff guidelines for responding to a disclosure of sexual violence.
  • Offering zero tolerance and first responder training to all staff members and all members of the student representative council, and all student mentors and ambassadors. The delivery of this training will help to ensure staff and the students are equipped with the skills and knowledge required to provide peer support and referral.
  • Establishing a student-led advisory group to inform the review and development of policies and processes related to student health, well-being and safety.
  • Developing a suite of educational resources including written guides and videos for staff and students that provide information on respectful relationships, consent and support provision.
  • Delivering a staff and student awareness and education campaign to promote support services and reinforce the importance of respect and consent.
National University Support Line

Universities Australia has established a national support hotline for victims and survivours of sexual harassment and assault. The National University Support Hotline is a free and confidential service available to all Australian university students and can be accessed by phoning 1800 572 224.

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.

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.
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 service or via the formal complaints process.

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 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.

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.

- Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault.

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.
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

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.