FAQs - Respect. Now. Always.

Q: How are sexual harassment and sexual assault defined in the Changing the Course report?

A: As noted in the Changing the Course report, each Australian jurisdiction has slightly different legal definitions of sexual assault, and to a far lesser extent, sexual harassment.

For the purposes of this report and as defined by the Human Rights Commission, sexual harassment is defined as ‘an unwelcome sexual advance,’ and may include behaviours such as staring or leering, inappropriate advances on social networking sites, and insults and taunts of a sexual nature.

Sexual assault, as defined in this report, refers to instances where there has been forced sexual intercourse or sexual penetration, and closely related behaviours.

Q: Is the shuttle bus service provided by Monash University, for students and staff to travel between campuses considered within the ‘public transport’ category, where sexual harassment and sexual assault may take place?

A: We are unable to separate out this information from the data provided. However, we do know that students and staff have high levels of satisfaction with the safety and security of the shuttle bus service. We will continue to monitor the delivery of this service.

Q: Do the Monash institution-specific data break down the proportion of LGBTIQ student experiencing sexual assault and sexual harassment?

A: Due to the sample size of the study, the institution-specific breakdown would not be considered statistically significant. However, we are appalled at the disproportionate levels of sexual harassment and assault experienced by students that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual and intersex. We will work with these students, along with all others, to support and address these issues.

Q: The Changing the Course report addresses victims, but makes little reference to perpetrators. How will Monash University respond to the actions of perpetrators and in enforcing consequences?

A: We unreservedly condemn the behaviours of convicted perpetrators, and will continue to ensure that appropriate disciplinary measures are enforced in addressing their actions. The University is currently reviewing its student disciplinary processes – and will be introducing a centralised mechanism for dealing with general student misconduct. It’s also essential suspected perpetrators are given fair treatment until proven guilty. Monash provides services to guide both parties through the process.

Q: A few years ago, there was a FOI request by the media for Monash to release information about the number of sexual harassment and sexual assault causes, and associated detail. At the time, Monash did not participate in this process. Why was this the case? And what is the approach moving forward?

A: Monash has always been prepared to make summary data available (this data has been made available to media, and can be made available to student organisations, or other parties that request the information through the appropriate channels). However, the level of detail sought through the FOI request at the time, included detail on confidential case information and University did not agree to release this information as it is confidential and disseminating of this information (including the names of witnesses, etc) would be in violation of an individual’s privacy and privacy legislation.

Q: There are elevated levels of perpetrator being ‘a student from another university’ (11%, national 7%). Who are these students?

A: We assume that these are students from social events, such as activities conducted by clubs, student societies, at University sporting events, or during exchange. Nothing in the data suggests that students from other universities on exchange are a significant contributor to this data.

Q: The Changing the Course report indicates that postgraduate students at Monash University are more likely to experience sexual assault and harassment than the national average. What will the University be doing in response?

A: The University is currently strengthening training for supervisors and others in frontline roles to support postgraduate students who may have experienced sexual assault and sexual harassment, particularly in identifying response pathways and facilitating safe disclosures. The University will also be developing new communication materials about reporting and safety measures tailored specifically for postgraduate students.

Q: There is no specific data for Monash for students with a disability and from Indigenous communities. How will Monash address these higher levels?

A: Again, due to the small sample size of individuals with a disability and Indigenous population, the institution-specific breakdown would not be considered statistically significant. However, we are appalled at the disproportionate levels of sexual harassment and sexual assault experienced by students that have a disability and from Indigenous communities. We will work with these students, along with all others, to support and address these issues.

Q: In the instances where victim can choose not to say anything about the case, indicating ‘prefer not to say’ in the results? Are we assuming worst case scenario? Are we potentially ignoring higher levels?

A: We have no details or data of what ‘prefer not to say,’ means as they are students who have expressly indicated that they wish to not go into any further detail.

Q: What do you think about Monash “covering up” sexual assault/harassment statistics? 

A: Monash has published the full results it was provided by the Australian Human Rights Commission. All Australian Universities have published the same series of data. The data is here.

Q: Are there any improvements or changes to be made to the Safer Community Unit? If so, what are they? 

A: Monash will implement all 9 recommendations from the AHRC and implement the 10 Point action plan disclosed by Universities Australia.

Q: Why do you think people often do not realise/know about sexual assault and harassment? 

A: The survey indicates students are not always aware of how to report. We have created serval dedicated resources to improve this including the RNA website and app. These build on a significant body of ongoing work to educate the university community on sexual harassment and sexual assault, prevent these behaviours occurring, and support students. More details can be found on the Monash Safer Community Unit website.

Q: What are the current laws and penalties at Monash for sexual harassment or assault? 

A: Information on sexual harassment and sexual assault, our intolerance of these behaviours and student support avenues, is readily available to all students and staff, including: 

In addition all students are expected to abide by the Monash Student Charter which is explicit in our intolerance of these behaviours. 

All cases reported to Monash are treated individually with the victim’s interests and wishes are paramount in our actions.

All Monash policies and procedures regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault are already under review in line with the Universities Australia 10 point action plan (Action 7) and the Australian Human Rights Commission Recommendation 3.

Earlier this year all Monash students were automatically enrolled in the university’s Respectful and Responsible on-line module.

In July 2017 all students were advised of the university’s new Respect.Now.Always – Support App

Student discipline is governed by Monash University (Council) Regulations.  The Regulations (Part 7) relate to student discipline and deal with general misconduct which means any conduct contrary to accepted standards of behaviour and includes conduct by which a student attacks, harasses, intimidates, threatens or endangers others.  It covers knowing (an intentional act) and reckless (an act done without regard to its risk or disregarding a known risk) conduct

Q: Will there be any changes to be made to these laws, especially for the queer community? If so, what are they?

A: In line with the Australian Human Rights Commission, Monash is reviewing all policies and procedures for all community groups.