Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Procedure

Status


Approved

To outline how persons can report SASH incidents, the support a person who reports SASH incidents will receive; and processes for responding to and preventing incidents of SASH.

Public
visibility
Approved on
20 Sep 2021
Owned by

General Manager

Approved by

College Board

Contact Person: 
General Manager (Operations)
Category: 
Purpose: 

To outline how persons can report SASH incidents, the support a person who reports SASH incidents will receive; and processes for responding to and preventing incidents of SASH.

Scope: 

This policy applies College-wide, to all staff, volunteers, students and other stakeholders whether they be an individual, group or organisation when they engage in employment, study or Eastern-related activities on-campus, at Eastern’s events (off-campus), in the online environment or study Eastern’s courses at partner locations.

For incidents that occur outside the above-specified scope, the College may be constrained in imposing sanctions.

Regardless, where any incident is reported, the safety and wellbeing of the persons are prioritized, access to support services will be made available and, as appropriate, special considerations may be made.

Statement: 

Background: 

Eastern College Australia is a Christian organisation that upholds biblical precepts by instruction and example. The College is committed to the biblical belief that each man, woman and child is created in the image of God as a unique individual of dignity and worth. Therefore, the College seeks to ensure that the dignity of every staff member, volunteer, student and visitor to the College is respected. Staff and students are expected to demonstrate biblical standards of behaviour at all times.
Sexual assault and sexual harassment are unlawful in all States and Territories of Australia under State or Territory legislation and/or under the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act, 1984 (as amended in 2011 and again in 2013 to strengthen protections against sexual harassment, including in the workplace). On 3 September 2021, the Sex Discrimination and Fair Work (Respect at Work) Amendment Bill 2021 was passed. The Bill contains important reforms to address sexual harassment in Australian workplaces which were recommended by the Australian Human Rights Commission following its world-leading National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces, Respect@Work
 

Procedure:

  1. Reporting an Incident

    1. The steps to report SASH incidents will be widely communicated:

      1. during Orientation (students) and Induction sessions (for staff);
      2. on Eastern’s website (public facing);
      3. the Learning Management System (Moodle/Canvas);
      4. internal communications (posters, pamphlets).
    2. Anyone in immediate danger should contact police (in Australia, phone 000).
    3. A formal report may be made at any time, verbally or in writing to:
      1. a member of the Student Support team; or
      2. a SASH Officer (‘first responder’); or
      3. a member of the Executive; or
      4. externally
    4. A factual report can be made about an incident that has happened to someone else by a witness or on behalf of the victim, but identifiable details of the victim should only be provided with consent of that person. 
    5. The affected person (if not a minor) will be able to choose whether to disclose and/or formally report an incident, and the type of reporting, if any, and their level of involvement in the process. The affected person will be able to have a support person, or persons, with them when they disclose, make a formal report or access the College’s SASH support services.
    6. If the affected person is a minor (under the age of 18), the College has the obligation to report the incident to the Police. Refer Child Protection Policy.

 

  1. Initial Response to Reported Incidents

    1. Incidents of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment will be prioritised to ensure timely action.
    2. A person who discloses or formally reports that they have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed will be advised of the option to report the incident to police.
    3. Where a person discloses or formally reports that they have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed, they will be advised the College’s policy, procedure and legislative obligations.
    4. The confidentiality of a person making a report, and the information provided, will be respected and not divulged to the police or other agencies without the consent of the affected person(s) unless the College perceives any risk to the life, health or safety of any person.
    5. Where the incident involves a person under the age of 18, the College has the obligation to report the incident to the Police. Refer Child Protection Policy.

 

  1. Provision of Support

    1. Support will be made available to all parties throughout any reporting and incident management process.
    2. The College ensures the availability of trained support staff internally or specialised counselling services externally.
    3. Support is also available via publicly accessible services such as the National Sexual, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service (1800 RESPECT) on 1800 737 732 (24 hours a day/7 days a week).
    4. Interpreter services will be organised if necessary.
    5. The College’s SASH Response Team and Student Support Team are trained as ‘first responders’ and will be identified through public information (website and internal channels). SASH Response Team to provide access to students and staff 5 days a week and to include one male trained person. One person at each partner location will be trained as the SASH Response person for that delivery location.
    6. A student who has experienced SASH may require special consideration for academic assessments and general study load. The College Staff member to whom the experience is disclosed will advise the student regarding any special consideration procedure to take. A formal report or complaint about their experience may not be required to apply for special consideration. The College will make every reasonable effort to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the student by limiting the circulation of any information about the nature of the special consideration as much as circumstances allow.
    7. A staff member who has experienced SASH may be provided support in line with the College’s HR policies.

 

  1. Investigation of any reported incidents

    1. Any formal reports will be acknowledged in writing by the Dean of Studies or in their absence, the General Manager. An investigation will be commenced by an impartial person of authority within 2 business days. This impartial person of authority may be a member of the Executive, or, if appropriate, an external party, to be determined by the Dean of Studies or in their absence, the General Manager.
    2. The College will make every reasonable effort to complete its investigation within 30 business days; where longer durations are required, it will advise the relevant parties in writing and advise the anticipated timeframe for the final outcome.
    3. Where an incident has been reported to the Police or external body, the College will not proceed with any actions that may compromise such external investigations. Where actions are required for safety reasons, these will also be advised to the relevant parties. On the completion of external investigations, the College may then take action in line with its legal obligations and/or College’s relevant code of conduct.
    4. During any investigation (internal or external) the affected staff member may be required to stand down, or a student may be required to take a Leave of Absence from studies. Parties will be notified in writing by the Dean of Studies.
    5. Where necessary, witnesses may be interviewed as part of the investigation and can review and correct their formal statements before submission.
    6. All information will be treated as confidential throughout the investigation.
    7. Formal communication of the outcomes of the investigation will be provided in writing within 3 business days of the decisions made by the Dean of Studies.

 

  1. Disciplinary Action

    1. When appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with:

      1. Staff Code of Conduct Policy and Employment Agreements;
      2. Student Code of Conduct Policy and Procedure.
    2. Outcomes of disciplinary actions may include suspension or cancellation of enrolment or, termination of employment or contract.
    3. The College will cooperate with the Police and other legal authorities in the case of criminal investigations and action.
    4. For students, appeals against the College’s disciplinary decision can be made, according to Stage 3 of the Student Complaints and Grievance (Non-Academic) Procedure, to the external appeal agency.

 

  1. Preventative Measures

    1. The College will ensure appropriate training for staff regarding SASH and the College’s procedure regarding SASH incidents.
    2. A SASH Officer and Student Support team members will undertake ‘first responder’ training to facilitate respectful and appropriate action in response to a disclosure or formal report.
    3. The College will ensure access to necessary external specialised services, including welfare and academic support services
    4. SASH relevant information will be publicly available on the College’s website and learning management system, for ongoing awareness and prevention.
    5. On-campus and online environments will be regularly monitored for SASH behaviour or risks.
    6. Posters and pamphlets regarding the College’s position on SASH and how incidents can be reported are displayed on campus and distributed to partner locations
    7. Student and staff codes of conduct are reviewed, and consequences of SASH made clear.
    8. Monitors its online environment to ensure appropriate conduct of all users.

 

  1. Governance and Record Keeping

    1. Incidents of sexual assault and sexual harassment will be recorded in the College’s Critical Incidents Register.
    2. Details of any SASH incidents will be confidentially and securely retained according to the College’s Privacy Policy and the Student Complaints and Grievance (Non-Academic) Procedure.
    3. The Dean of Studies will provide summarised and de-identified reports and incident data to the Executive Management and the Governing Board. Where students are involved, reports will be provided to the Academic Board.