Sexual harm prevention and response

We're committed to preventing and addressing sexual harm, which is a significant issue for all universities as well as the wider community.

At Deakin, we work together to build a strong culture of safety, mutual respect and inclusion to ensure all members of our community can study and work in a safe and supportive environment.

As a university community, we set strong standards of behaviour and we all have a responsibility to address unacceptable attitudes and behaviours.

Our aim is to:

  • prevent sexual harm (including sexual harassment and sexual assault)
  • provide victim/survivor-centred support to students and staff who have experienced harm, regardless of where the incident occurred
  • ensure alleged perpetrators are treated fairly.

The safety and welfare of the victim is always our priority. We manage all disclosures of sexual harm in a compassionate, empathetic, supportive and victim-centred way.

Australian Human Rights Commission survey

At the beginning of 2016, all Australian universities launched a major initiative to prevent and address sexual assault and harassment. As part of this initiative, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) conducted Australia’s first ever national survey to investigate the nature and scale of university student experiences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Access the results of the AHRC report on sexual assault and sexual harassment

AHRC recommendations

There are nine recommendations we are responding to from the AHRC 'Change the Course' report on sexual assault.

Find out more

Diversity and inclusion

We value inclusion and diversity, embrace difference and seek to nurture a connected, safe and respectful community.

Find out more

Training and education

We all share a responsibility for strengthening Deakin's behavioural standards and overall community culture.

Find out more


We have worked for many years with staff and students to build a strong culture of safety, mutual respect and inclusion – but there is always more to do.

Deakin's focus on the prevention of violence and sexual harm recognises the need to address the drivers and precursors of sexual harm and offense caused by intrusive questions and behaviour.

We work to uphold inclusion and respect by challenging attitudes that condone violence, gender stereotypes, power imbalance, gender inequality and inequity. We aim to foster a culture of safety that is free of transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, discrimination, and any type of disrespectful behaviour.

We have strengthened our policy and procedures specifically on the prevention and response to sexual harm. These are now available for staff on the Deakin Policy Library (log-in required).

By working together, we can bring significant change to not only the Deakin community but the communities in which we serve.

Priority actions to date have included:

  • Development of a Sexual Harm Prevention and Response Policy and procedure framework that gives students and staff a central point of contact and support for disclosing experiences of sexual harm, regardless of where they occurred.
  • A strong victim/survivor-centred support approach to the way we respond to incidents of sexual harm. This means disclosures can be made anonymously to our Safer Community service.
  • An extensive education and training program to improve knowledge and equip members of the Deakin community to respond to disclosures of sexual harm in a compassionate, supportive and empathetic manner. This training is underpinned by trauma-informed practices, which minimises re-traumatising victims/survivors while navigating through university processes.
  • Improved access to our discourse and support information, alongside our code of conduct and values, ensuring information is clearer and easier to locate.
  • The establishment of a centralised Sexual Harm Prevention Team.

Respect. Prevent. Respond. Conference

As part of Deakin's Sexual Harm Prevention Action Plan and our ongoing engagement with our community, the Respect. Prevent. Respond. Conference aims to gather those who have been involved with similar activities within their respective institutions to share ideas, broaden understanding and create opportunities for sector-wide collaboration on eliminating sexual harm in the higher education, VET and TAFE sectors.

Information for current Deakin students and staff

Sexual harm (including sexual harassment or assault) is never the fault or responsibility of the victim/survivor.

If any member of the University community has experienced sexual harm, there are a number of ways to disclose or report an incident and/or access support. This applies to both recent and historical incidents that have occurred either on or off campus.

Comprehensive information on how to make a disclosure or report, what to expect when disclosing or reporting, and how to support someone else is available on our Safer Community website.

  • If anyone is in immediate or imminent danger on campus, contact Deakin Security on 1800 062 579 or Victoria Police on 000.
  • We ask all staff and students to download the free Safe Zone App and use it whenever feeling unsafe or threatened.
  • To talk to someone about an experience of sexual harm and/or access support, contact Safer Community Service (Monday to Friday, 9am–4pm) on +61 3 9244 3734 or at

Alternatively, you can contact off-campus specialist services at any time, any day:

  • Victorian sexual assault crisis line (24 hours) 1800 806 292
  • 1800RESPECT
  • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
  • QLife – Australia-wide anonymous LGBTI peer support and referral service 1800 184 527

Find out more about Universities Australia Respect. Now. Always. initiative

Find out more about our values