Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy
This Policy establishes the expectation that all members of James Cook University Council, Students, Staff and Affiliates (the University Community) work, research, study, live and socialise in an environment based on inclusivity and respect, free from Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, including Hazing and Vilification, and Sexual Misconduct.
The Policy ensures all members of the University Community understand:
- the University’s commitment to prevention and providing support;
- Reporting and Complaint handling principles; and
- required accountabilities
This Policy addresses HESF Standards 2.2: Diversity and Equity, 2.3 Wellbeing and Safety, and 2.4 Grievances and Complaints.
This Policy applies in any incident of Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment or Sexual Misconduct involving a member of the University (members of the ‘University Community’) regardless of where (University premises or elsewhere) or when, the incident occurred. It also directs members of the University Community to the appropriate policies and procedures to make a Complaint.
The University acknowledges that a member of the University Community may experience behaviour that constitutes Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment or Sexual Misconduct whilst undertaking official duties at locations outside of the University and/or by an individual not connected with the University. The University will liaise with the responsible authority to ensure proper reporting and complaint procedures are followed, and will provide accommodations and support services to the person subjected to the behaviour.
Are actions that the University can take to allow a person who has made a Report or Complaint of Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment or Sexual Misconduct to continue to study, work, live and/or socialise, and feel safe at the University. Accommodations may include:
Accommodations can be made in response to any report of Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment or Sexual Misconduct and do not constitute a form of disciplinary action involving a Respondent.
|Alternative Dispute Resolution||Refers to a wide range of dispute resolution processes and techniques that parties can use to settle disputes with the help of a third party. Common dispute resolution methods are mediation, conciliation, and arbitration. Depending upon the gravity of the report or complaint the University may use Alternative Dispute Resolution in resolving Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment. The University does not use Alternative Dispute Resolution processes in addressing Reports or Complaints of Sexual Misconduct.|
Bullying is unreasonable behaviour repeatedly directed towards a person or group of people that creates a risk to health and safety:
Reasonable directions issued by a staff member who has authority to give that direction, including as part of performance management, do not constitute Bullying.
|Complainant||A person(s) who makes a Complaint under this Policy.|
Consent means the free and voluntary agreement to conduct or acts given by a person with the cognitive capacity to do so. Consent cannot be given by a person under 16 years of age or by a person that is:
Consent can be withdrawn at any point, including during the conduct or acts in question. A lack of resistance to the conduct or acts, or a failure to verbally object to the conduct or acts, does not constitute Consent. Consent to prior conduct or acts does not constitute Consent to future conduct or acts.
Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably, including in their employment or education because of a personal characteristic or attribute, whether real or imputed, including the setting of a requirement, condition or practice that is unreasonable and that people with a particular attribute cannot meet. Discrimination based on any of the Personal Characteristics is prohibited. Personal Characteristics are any of the following characteristics/attributes:
The following conduct does not constitute Discrimination within the meaning of this Policy:
|Duty of Care||The University’s duty of care requires all Staff, Affiliates and Students to take reasonable care in order to avoid reasonably foreseeable harm that may arise. The safety and wellbeing of Staff, Affiliates, Students, volunteers and visitors is the first priority in any situation.|
|Enterprise Agreement||Enterprise Agreement means the James Cook University Enterprise Agreement 2016 and any subsequent enterprise agreement which replaces that agreement.|
|Equity Contact Officer(s)||An individual(s) appointed by the University to provide information and referral options for both Students and Staff regarding the Discrimination, Bullying, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, and related procedures.|
|Harassment||Harassment is conduct directed towards a person, or a group of people on the basis of one or more Personal Characteristics that is done with the intention to offend, humiliate or intimidate that person or group or which a reasonable person would anticipate would offend, humiliate or intimidate that person or group.|
|Hazing||Any action or situation, with or without the consent of the participants, which recklessly, intentionally, or unintentionally endangers the mental, physical, or academic health or safety of Staff or Students. Hazing can include the practice of rituals, challenges, and other activities as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new residential college, team, or club.|
|The Incident Register is a confidential register that is maintained by the Chief of Staff. All Reports and Complaints of Sexual Misconduct are recorded on the Incident Register to enable the University to identify patterns in behaviours, or high risk University activities or premises, and to monitor progress in eliminating Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment.|
|Investigation Report||Investigation Report means a report provided to the Director Human Resources or Director Student Services as appropriate making a recommendation as to whether an allegation letter should be issued to a Respondent. The Report should contain reasons for the recommendation and include documentary evidence relied upon in arriving at the recommendation, including for example relevant documents, transcripts of witness interviews and/or witness statements.|
|Natural Justice/Procedural Fairness|
Procedural fairness is concerned with the procedures used by a decision-maker, rather than the decision that the decision-maker reached. It requires fair and transparent processes be used when making a decision. These processes will include:
Precautionary Measures are reasonable and proportionate measures, actions, or directions which the University may make on an interim-basis in relation to a member of the University Community who is alleged to have engaged in Sexual Misconduct in breach of the Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Precautionary Measures include, but are not limited to:
They may be implemented at any stage of a Report or Complaint process including before a final decision is made by an internal or external decision maker.
|Report (for Sexual Misconduct)|
Information provided to the University about an incident or suspected wrongdoing that the person making the report believes to be Sexual Misconduct. A Report can be anonymous, and the person reporting may, but does not have to, identify the other person/people involved.
The University can provide support to a person making the Report (if they have identified themselves) including Accommodations and Precautionary Measures, and advice about making a Complaint.
Reports are processed through the completion of a Sexual Misconduct Report Form and are recorded on the Incident Register.
Representative (or Support Person)
|A Representative (also referred to as a Support Person) is a person who is permitted to accompany and support a Complainant, Respondent or interviewee in their participation in matters relating to this policy and supporting procedures. A Representative may be a friend or family member of a Staff member, or a delegate or Staff member of a union that is a party to the JCU Enterprise Agreement. A Representative must not be a practicing solicitor or barrister or a person named in the Complaint.|
|Respondent(s)||A person(s) responding to a Complaint.|
Any sexual act or behaviour without Consent. It includes but is not limited to:
Any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is done with the intention to offend, humiliate or intimidate another person, or which a reasonable person would anticipate would offend, humiliate or intimidate another person.
It includes but is not limited to:
|Sexual Misconduct||Sexual Misconduct means Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault.|
|Sexual Misconduct Report Form||The Sexual Misconduct Report Form can be used to Report an incident of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment to JCU. It is available at https://www.jcu.edu.au/safety-and-wellbeing/sexual-harassment-and-sexual-assault and through the JCUSafe app.|
|Sexual Misconduct Officers||An individual(s) appointed by the University to provide a single point of contact for a person who has made a Report or Complaint. These University officers can facilitate Accommodations and Precautionary Measures. Designated Sexual Misconduct Officers at the University include the Chief of Staff, and are appointed by the Chief of Staff.|
|Trauma-Informed||Trauma-Informed Approach means processes and practices that emphasise the physical, psychological and emotional safety of, and the importance of trust, choice and control for, persons who have experienced trauma, including trauma caused by experiencing or witnessing Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment.|
|University Community||University Community means the members of the Council, the Staff, the Students and Affiliates of the University, as well as those who use the University's campuses or facilities for working, studying, living and socialising, or other authorised activity.|
|Vilification||Vilification is a public act that incites hatred towards, serious contempt for, or severe ridicule of, a person or group of persons on the ground of the race, religion, sexuality or gender identity of the person or members of the group. Examples include a threat of harm to a person or their property, or inciting others to threaten harm to a person or their property.|
A complaint is deemed to be vexatious if it is:
1. All members of the University Community have the right to work, research, study, live and socialise (as relevant) in an environment that is based on inclusivity and respect and is free from Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct.
2. JCU is committed to supporting all members of the University Community who have experienced or witnessed Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct.
3. JCU acknowledges that, with respect to Sexual Misconduct in particular:
- The University’s response to Sexual Assault is integrated with the specialist Sexual Assault Support Services. The University has referral protocols in place with the Sexual Assault Support Services and works together with the Services to meet the needs of Staff and Students. The University will provide additional and complementary support services.
- Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment may be perpetrated or experienced by people of any sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or transgender status and may be a single incident or a persistent pattern of unwelcome behaviour.
- Gender inequality provides the underlying social conditions for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault. Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men, and women are overwhelmingly the victims.
- It is important to recognise that certain groups may be particularly vulnerable including:
- young women
- older women
- Indigenous women
- people from non-English-speaking backgrounds
- people with disabilities
- LGBTQIA+ people
- people working or learning in non-traditional areas
- women working in isolated areas.
- Sexual Harassment often occurs in relationships of unequal power or authority, although it may also take place between peers.
- JCU takes a Trauma-Informed approach to dealing with Reports and Complaints regarding Sexual Misconduct. The University supports any person to make a decision about making a Report or Complaint to the University. The University understands the decision to make a Complaint can be complex. The University will ensure that there are single points of contact whenever possible. Individual wellbeing and the reduction of re-traumatisation and further harm are key drivers in any response to Sexual Assault.
4. Prohibition of Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct
4.1 Members of the University Community must not engage in conduct that constitutes Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct:
4.1.1 directed towards another member of the University Community; or
4.1.2 which otherwise has the potential to affect their suitability to continue as a member of the University Community having regard to the wellbeing and safety of other members of the University Community.
4.2 Engaging in such conduct is a breach of this Policy.
4.3 Sexual Assault of a child (an individual under 18 years of age) is Child Sexual Abuse and constitutes a criminal offence with mandatory reporting requirements. All disclosures involving people under 18 years of age must be referred directly to the Chief of Staff immediately for reporting to Child Safety. Certain staff at the University also have mandatory reporting obligations as part of their professional practice (eg doctors, registered nurses, teachers).
5. Prevention Measures
5.1 JCU uses educative approaches for the prevention of Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct to inform members of the University community of their rights and responsibilities, to encourage the reporting of behaviour, practices or publications that contravene this policy, and ensure the University’s systems and processes are not discriminatory. These educative approaches include the mandatory completion of the JCU Respect online module as follows:
- New members of Council, Staff and Affiliates must complete the module as part of their induction process (and no later than three months after their commencement).
- Ongoing staff must complete the module every three years.
- Students must complete the module before the end of their first study period of enrolment.
5.2 Completion of the JCU Respect online module is a condition of employment or enrolment as relevant.
5.3 Cohorts at higher risk of sexual harassment and sexual assault – ie on campus residents and Higher Degree by Research (HDR) candidates and HDR supervisors – are also required to complete a Respectful Relationships workshop.
5.4 A confidential exemption process, managed by the Sexual Misconduct Officers, is in place for those unable to complete the module or workshops.
6. Addressing Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment
6.1 JCU encourages any person who has experienced or witnessed Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment by, or directed towards, a member of the University Community to report the incident through the relevant Complaint process.
6.2 For Staff and Affiliates, Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment matters are addressed through the Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure for Staff and Affiliates.
6.3 For Students, Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment matters are addressed through the Student Complaints Policy and Procedures.
6.4 For members of Council, Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment matters are referred to the Chancellor.
7. Addressing Sexual Misconduct
7.1 JCU encourages any person who has experienced or witnessed Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault by, or directed towards, a member of the University Community to make a Report of the incident.
7.2 Sexual Misconduct matters are addressed through the Sexual Misconduct Procedure.
7.3 In all cases involving Sexual Misconduct, the University does not expect nor suggest that the person who is subject to Sexual Misconduct needs to address the behaviour directly with the alleged perpetrator. Processes related to Alternative Dispute Resolution, such as conciliation or mediation which may be used in response to Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment are not considered appropriate in cases of Sexual Misconduct.
7.4 There is a difference between making a Report and making a Complaint to the University for Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault. As detailed in the Sexual Misconduct Procedure, the University will provide options to victims of, and witnesses to, Sexual Misconduct who wish to notify the University of the event(s),.
7.5 Sexual Misconduct Officers are an integral part of the University’s response to Sexual Misconduct, supporting any person subjected to the Sexual Misconduct, who has received a disclosure of Sexual Misconduct, or who may have observed Sexual Misconduct, and can facilitate Accommodations in response to a Report or Complaint. Accommodations may be amended or removed at any time.
7.6 The Director, Student Services, Director, Human Resources, Chief of Staff, or a Sexual Misconduct Officer, may implement Precautionary Measures in response to a Report or Compliant, and these may be amended or removed at any time.
7.7 All Reports and Complaints of Sexual Misconduct are recorded on the Incident Register managed by the Chief of Staff to enable JCU to identify patterns in behaviours, or areas of the University, and to monitor progress in eliminating Sexual Misconduct.
8. Support services and resources
8.1 The following support services and resources are available to members of the University Community who experience Sexual Assault and/or Sexual Harassment.
8.2 Specialist Sexual Assault Support Services
If you have been Sexually Assaulted and have not accessed the nearest hospital emergency department or Police, please contact the service that is local to you.
Full details of specialist Sexual Assault Support Services are maintained on the JCU Safety and Wellbeing website or the JCUSafe App.
8.3 University Support. The University understands that if a member of the University Community presents having experienced Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment and requires crisis and ongoing care, it is best practice for the University to assist the person to access the specialist Sexual Assault Support Services.
8.4 The University provides immediate support services, and these may be complementary to the specialised service delivery provided by the Sexual Assault Support Services.
- University Security is available 24/7 to report any immediate security incident or behaviour via the JCUSafe App or 07 4781 5555, and they can coordinate any emergency services responses as necessary (Police, Ambulance).
- Sexual Misconduct Officers provide a single point of contact at JCU for a person who has been subjected to Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment, or to any person supporting them. Sexual Misconduct Officers will facilitate access to the specialist Sexual Assault Services and can arrange Accommodations and Precautionary Measures so that a person is able to continue with their studies or work. Sexual Misconduct Officers also support anyone to make a Report, or Complaint to the University, and their full contact details at: https://www.jcu.edu.au/safety-and-wellbeing/sexual-harassment-and-sexual-assault/sexual-misconduct-officers or via the JCUSafe App.
8.5 The University has a range of support services for staff and students, particularly those in residential accommodation on campus, to support this Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policy including:
- Staff Counselling. Staff are able to seek confidential and free counselling service support from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) available to continuing and fixed term JCU Staff and immediate family. Contact: 1800 604 640 or via Lifeworks.
- Student Counselling. Students are able to seek general confidential counselling services and support from the Student Equity and Wellbeing staff. The services operate between the hours of 9am – 4pm. Contact 1800 246 446 or via [email protected].
- Equity Contact Officers (ECOs). Staff and students are able to contact an ECO to discuss options for internal and external support and making a Report or Complaint to the University on Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment. ECOs also provide information and guidance on University policies and procedures. The list of ECOs can be found here or at https://www.jcu.edu.au/safety-and-wellbeing/support-services/equity-contact-officers-list.
- JCU Student Association Advocates. Students are able to contact a JCU Student Association Advocate and Welfare Officer who can provide free information, advocacy and referral on a range of issues relating to students. Contact: 1800 330 021.
- Residential College staff including the Principal, Deputy Principal, Manager Halls of Residence, Support Officers or Residential Assistants can provide pastoral care, support, and referral and also guidance on University policy and procedure.
8.6 JCU’s Safety and Wellbeing website provides a range of online resources to students and staff in relation to safety and wellbeing, including information on consent, sexual assault, and pathways to Report or make a Complaint to the University.
9. Accountabilities and responsibilities
9.1 Every member of the University Community is responsible for taking reasonable care of their own health and safety and the health and safety of others.
9.2 Any member of the University Community who observes Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination, Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault, if they are able to, and it is safe to do so, should intervene to seek to prevent the conduct.
9.3 Managers and Supervisors: Members of the University Community in management or supervisory positions at the University should:
- ensure they take appropriate action to address or remedy the situation expeditiously, including making a Report, when an instance of Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct is brought to their attention;
- ensure that other members of the University Community under their supervision, are familiar with and understand their obligations under the University’s policies and procedures, and undertake mandated training where required;
- monitor workplace behaviours to ensure compliance with policies; and
- seek the advice of the Sexual Misconduct Officers if an incident of Sexual Misconduct is identified, or HR Business Partner or the Equity Contact Officers for Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment.
9.4 Director, Human Resources (HR): The Director, HR will facilitate the provision of education and information to discourage Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct for Staff; and monitor the effectiveness of this Policy for staff.
9.5 Director, Student Services: The Director, Student Services has accountabilities and responsibilities under the Student Code of Conduct and Student General Misconduct Procedure where the Respondent to a Complaint of Bullying, Discrimination or Harassment is a Student, and under the Sexual Misconduct Procedure, where the Respondent is a Student.
9.6 Dean, Centre for Education and Enhancement (CEE): The Dean, CEE will facilitate the provision of education and information to discourage Bullying, Discrimination, and Harassment for Students including supporting Residential Assistant training within the Residential Colleges, the JCUSA Advocates and contracted security staff; and monitor the effectiveness of this policy including through counselling services provided by Student Equity and Wellbeing.
9.7 Chief of Staff: The Chief of Staff, will facilitate consistent provision of education, information and response across the staff and student domains for Sexual Misconduct, appoint and support Sexual Misconduct Officers, manage key relationships with specialist sexual assault support services and residential colleges, and ensure quality, consistency and coherence in the implementation of the University’s prevention measures.
9.8 Equity Contact Officers: Equity Contact Officers (ECO) are appointed by the Director HR. Support provided by ECOs relates to Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment. If an issue relates to Sexual Misconduct, the ECO should refer to a Sexual Misconduct Officer. ECOs may include assisting Staff and Students to clarify the outcome/s they are seeking to the problem and provide information and/or referral to informal and formal resolution processes available; providing Staff and Students with copies of the relevant University policies and procedures and the options available in those documents, including taking no further action; and advising or assisting either the Complainant or the Respondent, but not both. An ECO cannot:
- advocate, investigate, mediate or provide any resolution for a Complainant or Respondent;
- assist Staff or Students where they may have an actual or perceived conflict of interest; and
- provide advice of a legal nature to any person.
9.9 Sexual Misconduct Officers: Are responsible for provision of support matters to any staff or student relating to Sexual Misconduct, and support for a person who has made a Report or Complaint of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault, or who may be responding to an allegation of Sexual Misconduct, and has other responsibilities set out in this Policy and the Sexual Misconduct Procedure, for both Staff and Students.
10. Record keeping
10.1 Matters relating to Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct are confidentially managed, stored and archived in accordance with this Policy, Records Management and Information Privacy Policies. Matters are kept strictly confidential except in exceptional and very limited circumstances, where there is an immediate and serious risk to any individual’s health or safety, or where disclosure is required by legislation.
Related Policy Instruments
Related Documents and Legislation
Queensland State Laws
|Policy Domain||Corporate Governance|
Date for next Major Review:
|23-2||06/09/2023||Vice Chancellor||06/09/2023||Minor amendment to definition of Discrimination, and to Principle 3 to better capture intent to include ethnicity, immigration status and transgender status.||Sustainability Officer; Chief of Staff|
|23-1||05/05/2023||Council||12/05/2023||Amendments to incorporate the responsibility of Chief of Staff to facilitate consistent university prevention and response work in the domain of Sexual Misconduct, the requirement to attend Respectful Relationships workshops, and other minor changes.||Chief of Staff|
|20-1||08/05/2020||Council||11/06/2020||Full approval by Council. Amendments to incorporate the completion of the JCU Respect Online Module as compulsory requirement of ongoing enrolment and employment and to incorporate requirements of Council members.||Chief of Staff|
|20-1||03/02/2020||Acting Vice Chancellor||04/02/2020||Interim approval granted by Acting Vice Chancellor.Amendment to incorporate the completion of the JCU Respect Online Module as a compulsory requirement of ongoing enrolment and employment.||Chief of Staff|
|18-1||17/08/2018||20/08/2018||Major review including increase in definitions, identification of procedures for sexual harassment and sexual assault and new roles of Sexual Misconduct Officers||Chief of Staff|
Minor amendment to clause 1.1, changed ‘respondent’ to ‘complainant’
Chief of Staff
Changes to definition of Sexual Harassment as approved by Council 07/09/2017
Chief of Staff
Major review, changes made to Discrimination and Harassment Policy including name change and change of policy domain.
Chief of Staff
|Keywords||bullying, discrimination, harassment, misconduct, serious misconduct, sexual harassment, sexual assault, vilification, respondent, complainant, equity|
|Contact person||Chief of Staff|