Sexual assault & sexual harassment support

Need immediate emergency support?

If you are in need of urgent help or your life is being threatened off campus call Triple Zero (000).

UOW Security is on hand 24 hours a day 7 days a week to provide assistance, first aid and security escorts. You can call or request their services via the SafeZone app or by phone on (02) 4221 4900.

Need to talk?

Call or text our free and confidential UOW Student Wellbeing Support Line any time, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.

Call: 1300 036 149
Text: 0488 884 164

More information and support

The Safe and Respectful Communities (SARC) team is responsible for leading the University’s work to prevent sexual assault and harassment from occurring on our campuses and for providing coordinated response and support if it does happen.

You can contact the SARC team for support, advice and to find out about your reporting options. You can decide what you choose to do next and the type of support that you need. Find out how SARC can support you.

The team are available 9am – 4:30pm, Monday to Friday and are on standby to respond to emergencies 24/7.

Phone: +61 2 4221 3344 (This number is diverted to UOW 24-hour Student Wellbeing line after hours)
In-person: Building 19, G101 - Wollongong campus 

Report an incident

Sexual assault & sexual harassment

What is sexual assault?

"Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent, or if a child or young person under 18 is exposed to sexual activities.

Sexual assault is a crime. Sexual assault is not the victim's fault.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone in our community. This includes people who are young or old, male or female, from any cultural background, wealthy or not so wealthy, married or not. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault.

Most victims of sexual assault know the person who assaulted them, such as a family member or friend or someone from work, school, church or another social group. A person you don't know or have just met can commit sexual assault.

Women and men as victims of sexual assault are treated equally under the law." Victim's Services Justice NSW 2017.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature which a person should expect will make the recipient feel humiliated, intimidated or offended. Sexual harassment can take many different forms and may include physical contact, verbal comments, jokes, propositions, the display of offensive material or other behaviour which creates a sexually hostile working or studying environment. Sexual harassment is not behaviour which is based on mutual attraction, friendship and respect. Sexual assault or sexual harassment can happen to anyone in our community.

Female, male and LGBTIQ+ community members can be victims of sexual assault or harassment and are treated equally under the law.

  • staring or leering in a sexual manner
  • unwelcome wolf whistling
  • comments about a person's physical appearance or sexual characteristics
  • sexual or physical contact, such as slapping, kissing touching, hugging or massaging
  • displaying or circulating sexual material, for example on a noticeboard or by email
  • repeated sexual invitations when the person has refused similar invitations before
  • initiation ceremonies involving unwelcome sexually related behaviour
  • intrusive questions about sexual activity Antidiscrimination Board of NSW

Further information can be found in the University's Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.

Consent occurs when a person freely and voluntarily agrees to sexual intercourse. Sexual assault occurs when someone is unable to and/or does not give consent. The law says:

  • You can’t assume someone is consenting because they don’t say no. Silence is not consent;
  • Consent is an ongoing process. A person can change their mind and withdraw their consent at any time;
  • You cannot assume consent has been given if someone is unable to understand what they are consenting to due to their age or intellectual capacity;
  • A person can’t consent if they’re significantly intoxicated or affected by drugs or alcohol that they can’t choose or refuse to participate;
  • Consent can only be given freely and voluntarily. If you force, threaten, intimidate, or coerce your partner into sex, it’s not consensual;
  • Consent must be present for every sexual act. If someone consents to one sexual act, it doesn’t mean they’ve consented to others;
  • Consent cannot be given if someone is unlawfully detained or held against their will;
  • They submit due to the person being in a position of trust;
  • A person can’t consent if they’re asleep or unconscious.
    (Sexual Consent Department of Justice NSW 2022)

Learning about sexual assault and relationship violence is never easy, and it can be even harder when your native culture and language is very different from that of Australia.

The Your Body, Your Choice factsheets below contain important information for students who have experienced sexual assault.

The resource was developed by Redfern Legal Centre, City of Sydney and Study NSW in 2018, and last revised in 2022.