SafeUSC Specialist Service is a trauma informed Student Wellbeing service that can provide you with confidential advice and support to:
- manage conflict with other students/staff in an informal and supportive setting
- develop on campus support plans to manage safety concerns including; sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, harassment, bullying and or discrimination
- report concerning behaviours to USC and external services
- discuss supports you may require when managing situations that impact your sense of safety and wellbeing
- work with you to develop strategies to keep yourself and other students safe at uni
If you have been the victim of concerning behaviours including harassment, sexual assault, bullying or discrimination, we are here to support you and encourage you to tell us about it.
Support is available to you through SafeUSC, or through external organisations.
When you tell us about concerning behaviour, USC takes it very seriously, offering a range of options to let us know (e.g. online, anonymously) as well as offer support to those who have experienced this behaviour. Any information you share here will be kept confidential. However, we may take action if we believe a person's safety is at risk.
Tell us about concerning, threatening or inappropriate behaviour by completing this online form.
There is no greater priority than the safety and security of our students, staff and community. If you have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed, we encourage you to talk to the University and the police.
Sexual assault is never your fault. If you believe this has happened to you, it doesn't matter when it happened, whether it occurred on campus, at a University event, during a placement, or in your personal life away from the University – support is always available.
It is important to know that you can seek support and tell us about an incident, with or without making a complaint, by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tel: 07 5456 3864 or filling out an online form.
When you contact us, we will arrange for you to speak with a qualified and specialist sexual assault worker who will:
- discuss any immediate safety and medical issues relating to the report
- arrange provision of relevant support services, including psychological or academic support
- advise that they will provide the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) with a confidential report of the incident and any arrangements made for ongoing support
- advise you of the obligation to report staff misconduct to the Director of Human Resources
- if making a complaint, assess for the need for protective measure
- refer you to other USC or local community support as required
- advise that if the accused behaviour constitutes misconduct, the reporting student may be invited to appear as a witness or to provide a witness statement
All attempts will be made to ensure you do not need to repeat your story to multiple staff members to ensure the least traumatic experience when speaking about it.
Students may also talk about an incident of sexual harassment and assault to:
If the accused is a student and they are found to have engaged in misconduct, the University can:
- issue a formal written caution
- issue a formal written reprimand
- suspend the student's enrolment for no longer than a semester
- suspend the student from USC premises or facilities, or a specified part or parts of University premises for no longer than a semester
- recommend to the University Council to rescind the conferral of an award
Only in exceptional circumstances does the University speak to an external agency about an alleged crime without your prior consent (e.g. when a disclosure is against a staff member, or if the information is necessary to protect you or others from harm, or to prevent a further crime taking place).
All information associated with investigations and outcomes associated with allegations of sexual harassment/misconduct are treated as confidential and not released to any third party or external agency unless required by law or you expressly consent to its release in writing.
Reporting / support
- Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline: 1800 010 120
- 1800 Respect: 1800 737 732 for 24 hour sexual assault and domestic violence support
- a Sexual Assault Service in your local area
- your GP or 13 Health for local information
Some common issues we can assist with include:
Detailed below are examples of behaviours, whether intentional or unintentional, that may be regarded as bullying if they are repeated, unreasonable and create a risk to health and safety. Bullying can be carried out in a variety of ways including through email and text messaging or social media channels; directly or indirectly. This is not an exhaustive list – however, it does outline some of the more common types of bullying behaviours. Examples include:
- abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
- unjustified criticism or complaints
- deliberately excluding someone from study-related activities
- withholding or denying access to information that is vital for effective work or study performance
- spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
Download the Bullying fact sheet (PDF 337KB)
Harassment is any form of behaviour that is unwelcome, unsolicited, unreciprocated and usually (but not always) repeated. It is behaviour that is likely to offend, humiliate or intimidate. Harassment can be based on any of the attributes listed under the definition of discrimination. Examples can include sexual, disability, racial, sexuality or gender-based harassment.
Stalking is when someone continues to act in a way that repeatedly that causes another person harm or to fear for their safety. Stalking behaviour can include:
- following, watching
- repeatedly contacting them either online, via text, email or phone calls
- acting offensively towards them, their family or friends
- posting things about them on the internet
- hanging around outside their home or work
- seeking information about them, or monitoring their behaviours via internet, family or friends
- 1 in 10 Australian adults experience stalking
- 75% of targets are female and 80% of stalkers are male
- 66% of targets know their stalker
If you are concerned about stalking, it is important to tell someone about it and seek help as soon as possible for SafeUSC to assist you.
Download the Stalking fact sheet (361KB)
Discrimination as defined in the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld), means to treat an individual less favourably because of an attribute listed in the Act, or to impose unreasonable terms or conditions for which individuals with a particular attribute are unable to comply. Attributes include:
- parental status
- religious belief or activity
- political belief or activity
- relationship status
- lawful sexual activity
- gender identity
- race, nationality or ethnic origin
- disability or impairment
- trade union activity
- family responsibilities
- association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes
Sexual harassment means any unsolicited, unwelcome and unreciprocated behaviour, act or conduct of a sexual nature that offends, humiliates or intimidates other persons. It can be a single incident or a persistent pattern and can range from subtle behaviour to explicit demands for sexual activity or criminal assault. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following examples:
- inappropriate jokes or comments with sexual connotations
- the display of offensive material
- stares and leers or offensive hand or body gestures
- comments and questions about another person’s sexual conduct and/or private relationships
- persistent unwelcome invitations
- requests for sexual favours
- offensive written, telephone or email communication, or any other electronic means of communication
- unnecessary close physical proximity including persistently following a person
- unwelcome physical contact such as brushing against or touching a person
- denigrating comments regarding a person’s gender or sexual preference
- negative behaviours, e.g. intimidation or exclusions related to the sex of the recipient
Sexual assault is ANY unwanted or forced sexual act or behaviour without your informed consent. Consent means that you freely and willingly agreed to have sex, or participate in a sexual act – you are comfortable and free from intimidation or pressure. Consent is also continuous, so you can change your mind at any time.
Lack of informed consent occurs when you are incapable of giving it due reasons such as:
- the influence of drugs or alcohol, drink spiking or just enjoying one too many drinks,
- being under the age of consent, or being related to the other person,
- feeling intimidated or fearful,
- having been rendered unconscious due to a violent act towards them,
- are experiencing fear paralysis due to the shock of the assault,
- being outnumbered by the number of perpetrators, or
- experiencing a health or medical condition which does not allow the person to understand the sexual behaviour being exhibited towards them.
Silence does not mean consent. If a person does not protest, physically resist, or suffer injuries, this does not mean they freely agreed to sexual activity.
Sexual assault is never your fault. If you believe this has happened to you, it doesn't matter when it happened, whether it occurred on campus, at a University event, during a placement, or in your personal life away from the University - support is always available.
Persistent and unreasonable complaining relates to the nature of how a person is making a complaint, not the details or the nature of the complaint itself. As such persistent and unreasonable complaining can occur when:
- the complainant uses aggressive, threatening or intimidating behaviour, including excessive offensive language to communicate the complaint,
- the complainant makes unreasonable demands about the way the complaint should be handled, or is obsessive or insistent on an outcome e.g. firing of staff, expediting process,
- a person complains about the same issue over and over again, despite a finding or previous ruling, or
- the complaint is unjustified or vexatious.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a student, you can contact Student Wellbeing or SafeUSC who can organise a welfare check. Although we can't provide you with the outcome of this check, should there be additional concerns we can organise follow up and support to the student.
If you are concerned that someone is a missing person, you can contact the Qld Police Missing Person Unit.
About a half of all Australians will experience some form of mental health problems at some time in life. Mental illness includes common conditions such as anxiety and depressive disorders, and less common conditions such as psychotic illness (e.g. Schizophrenia). Each condition has a different set of symptoms, but some examples can include:
- excessive worry or fears,
- persistent sad or low mood,
- unusual or illogical thoughts,
- unreasonable anger or irritability,
- poor concentration,
- hearing voices which no one else can perceive,
- increased or decreased sleep,
- increased or low appetite,
- lack of motivation,
- withdrawing from people,
- drug use,
- feelings that life is not worth living, or
- suicidal thoughts.
If you are concerned about your mental health or the mental health of a student or family member then there are a range of services that can support you and the person you are concerned about.
Student Wellbeing offers free confidential counselling and support to USC students during business hours.
Suicide call back services offers 24 hour support to those impacted by suicide, or those feeling suicidal.
Sane Australia offers support line and information on mental illness, as well as support to families.
Threats of harm can be a criminal offence. If you are aware of threats of harm to another person, or are being threatened, then you can tell these threats to police. In an emergency, call 000.
If you are being threatened on campus, then you can call SafeUSC for immediate support on 5430 1168 or via the SafeZone App.
At SafeUSC, we can support you to develop safety plan and also assist you to communicate concerns with police. Please contact us for support.
Legal Aid Queensland has further information for managing threats of harm, including domestic violence orders, and peace and good behaviour orders.
If you are concerned about your safety on campus due to domestic violence, or would like some assistance or support please contact us or 24 hour Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 811 811.
Domestic violence occurs when someone in an intimate relationship uses fear to control their partner on an ongoing basis. Domestic violence is about the abuse of power by one person over another in that relationship. Domestic violence is gendered in nature, in that it is mainly perpetrated against women and their children by men.
DV Connect outlines a wide range of abusive behaviours that can be adopted by perpetrators of domestic violence, and include, but are not limited to:
Physical abuse. This type of abuse can be direct assaults on the body - punching, pushing, causing or threatening personal injury using objects or weapons; assaults on children; being denied access to your home; and/or deprivation of sleep or food.
Psychological abuse. Behaviour and/or comments and taunts of this nature that undermine a sense of self, personal security or which are likely to impose a sense of vulnerability around personal safety or mental health and wellbeing. Examples of psychological abuse can include driving dangerously, threatening or causing injury to pets, making threats about custody of children or asserting that the no one including the courts would believe your story.
Verbal abuse. This abuse includes constant verbal put-downs, ridicule, name calling, humiliation in public or in private, focus of insults around sexuality, body image, intelligence or parenting skills.
Social abuse. This form of abuse occurs when someone systematically controls who you see, who you speak to or receive phone calls, messages or email from, and/or where you go; they even control where you live so that you become socially or geographically isolated from other people.
Financial abuse. This abuse involves refusing you access to money or providing an inadequate allowance; especially where the money is legally due to you whether via welfare entitlements or your own wages or preventing you from seeking or holding down a job.
Damage to personal property. This type of abuse is when a person uses physical strength or violence to intimidate you by causing or threatening to cause damage to your property or valuables, e.g. kicking walls, throwing things, pulling a door off hinges or damaging your furniture, car or personal belongings.
Spiritual / Cultural abuse. This abuse involves not allowing you to practise your chosen religion or cultural beliefs, or misusing religious or spiritual traditions to justify physical or other abuse towards you.
Stalking. Constantly worrying or frightening you by following you, watching you, phoning or messaging you and waiting outside your home or workplace. (See Harassment and Stalking section for more information.)
Sexual abuse. Abuse of this nature is ANY forced or unwanted sexual contact or activity. For more detailed information about sexual abuse, see our Sexual assault and harassment section above.
Substance misuse is a common issue effecting our community. If you are concerned about substance misuse such as alcohol dependence or drug misuse, then you can seek support through:
Additionally, if you are concerned about the impacts of a student's substance misuse on others, and you can let us know through the online form, or by giving us a call.
Unreasonable behaviour means behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.
Victimisation means treating someone unfairly because they have made, or intend to make, a bullying, discrimination or harassment complaint. This also includes those who have supported another person in making a complaint. Victimisation of any person involved in a complaint is unacceptable.
If you have concerns about your safety or someone else's safety on or off campus, we are here to support you. We can assist with safety planning and referrals for support.
You can also find more information about personal safety on our Safety and Security page.