Safety and Wellbeing Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sexual activity without a person's consent.

Assault occurs when a person:

  • Touches another person inappropriately without their consent – groping is a form of sexual assault
  • Forces another person against their will to commit an act of gross indecency – a sexual act that does not involve penetration, for example a person forces another person to touch their genitals
  • Forces another person to see an act of gross indecency, for example the person masturbates in front of the other person.

Rape is the most serious form of sexual assault – forcing someone to have sexual intercourse without his or her consent. Rape includes forcing someone to perform oral sex, digital penetration, and inserting any object into the vulva, vagina or anus of another person without their consent.

Sexual Misconduct Officers

Sexual Misconduct Officers provide a single point of contact at JCU for a person who has been subject to Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault, or to the manager or person supporting that person. Sexual Misconduct Officers can assist people to access support, and/or make a Report or Complaint.

Sexual consent is where a person has the ability and freedom to agree to sexual activity. It's important that you are 100% sure that the person you're with is happy and willing because non-consensual sexual activity (even kissing and touching) is against the law.

One of the best ways to determine if someone is uncomfortable with any situation, especially with a sexual one, is to simply ask. People always have the right to say 'no' and always have the right to change their mind at any time regardless of how far things have gone.

Drugs and alcohol can affect people's ability to make decisions, including whether or not they want to be sexual with someone else. This means that if someone is drunk or under the influence of drugs, they cannot give consent.

The Thames Valley Police, in the UK developed a short video in 2015 to demonstrate what constitutes consent by demonstrating sexual consent is as straightforward as making a cup of tea:

Are you safe?

For immediate assistance of police or ambulance call 000. For on campus security call 1800 675 559.

It's never your fault

It is never your fault. You are not responsible for other people's behaviours. You have a right to be treated with dignity and respect. You have a right to privacy, and confidentiality, you can refuse to answer any questions. You have a right not to be judged based on your age, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity and/or cultural background. You have a right to ask questions and get answers. You have a right to decide what happens.

Connect with specialist sexual assault services

The sexual assault services provide specialist, free, confidential support (24 hours by phone Australia-wide, and 24 hours in person response in Townsville and Cairns).

The Specialist Sexual Assault Services have support workers who can meet you and can offer ways to help you manage the physical and emotional affects you may be experiencing. They can explain and assist with legal and medial options, including any emergency health care of forensic examinations, and, any decisions about reporting to police.

The Specialist Sexual Assault Services can also advise and assist you to access support from JCU to continue studying or working if you wish. They will ensure your decisions are communicated and respected. JCU Sexual Misconduct Officers can also assist you to connect with the specialist services.


1800 RESPECT – 24-hour sexual assault and domestic violence support 1800 737 732
Queensland Statewide Sexual Assault Helpline – 7:30am-11:30pm 1800 010 120

Specialist Sexual Assault Services

Townsville Sexual Assault Support Service 07 4775 7555
Connect with service after hours via the Sexual Crimes Unit: 07 4759 9743
Cairns Sexual Assault Service 07 4031 3590
Connect with service after hours via Cairns Hospital:
07 4226 0000
Tablelands Sexual Assault Service 07 4091 4036

Queensland Health Services

Mackay Sexual Health and Assault Service 07 4968 3919
Mount Isa Sexual Assault Service 07 4744 4447
Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital Sexual Assault Response Team 07 3646 5207

Assistance to continue with study and work

JCU has dedicated Sexual Misconduct Officers who provide a single point of contact. The Sexual Misconduct Officers can assist you with working out what support you need to continue your study or work, regardless of who perpetrated the assault. Support includes, for example, safety plans, short term emergency housing, or changes to class scheduling, assessment, or work reporting lines. Support can be provided without identifying the other person/people involved.

Listen and be supportive - Listen without interrupting. Do not ask for additional details. Do not ask ‘why’ questions - these questions carry blame. Do not get angry on their behalf - they have enough to deal with without worrying about you. Do not assume you know how they feel - everyone experiences assault differently.

Believe them - Validate the person’s experience by acknowledging their distress. Saying ‘I am sorry for what has happened’ is heard as ‘I believe you’; saying ‘What happened is a crime’ is heard as ‘This is not your fault’, saying ‘I will do what I can to find help’ is heard as ‘You are not alone’.

Maintain confidentiality - Treat what is shared with you confidentially, do not share with others without permission. (Note: you can report an incident to JCU that someone has disclosed to you without breaching confidentiality - see instructions below).

Assist the person to access the specialist Sexual Assault Services. Allow them to make their own decisions.

Look after yourself - It can be difficult and confronting to support someone impacted by sexual violence. You can call the Helplines or Specialist Services listed to confidentially debrief. Students can also speak to a counsellor at Student Equity and Wellbeing (Townsville 4781 4711 or Cairns 4232 1150), and staff can contact Benestar 1300 360 364.

The following resource will provide guidance if you are supporting someone who has been sexually assaulted.  Guidelines for responding to disclosures of sexual assault (PDF, 109 KB)

Reporting an Incident of Sexual Misconduct to JCU

For emergency situations that require immediate and urgent assistance including Police, Fire Service or Ambulance:  Call 000

University Security is available 24/7 for on-campus help or to report any incident or behaviour:

  • Townsville – phone 4781 5555 or 1800 675 559
  • Cairns – phone 4232 1293 or 0419 677 874

Anyone can report incidents of sexual assault to JCU.

Support is available to guide you through this process. Sexual Misconduct Officers provide a single point of contact at JCU for a person who has been subject to Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault, or to the manager or person supporting that person.

Sexual Misconduct Officers will assist people to access support, and/or make a Report or Complaint in line with the JCU Sexual Assault Procedure (PDF, 208 KB).

REMEMBER:  You can report a sexual assault to the Queensland Police, at any time.

Making a report is different to making a complaint. Reports are used to track incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault impacting on JCU staff and students – and, if the identity and contact details of the person subjected to the harassment or assault are known, to facilitate information provision and support.

The University will act in line with the wishes of the person who has been subjected to sexual harassment or sexual assault (if identified), except in exceptional and very limited circumstances, for example, where there is an immediate and serious risk to others. Please note, if the person who is the victim/survivor is under 18 years of age, JCU has legal mandatory reporting obligations, please contact a Sexual Misconduct Officer for immediate advice.

The Report will only be accessed by the Sexual Misconduct Officers. Information provided in this form will be confidentially managed, stored and archived in accordance with JCU’s Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Policy, Record Management and Information Privacy Policies.

Making a report is different to making a complaint. A Complaint may involve an investigation, and University disciplinary processes may be taken against a Respondent. Sexual Misconduct Officers can advise and provide options about making a  Complaint as set out in the Sexual Harassment Procedure, and Sexual Assault Procedures

You are able to make an anonymous report but the actions that are possible in response to anonymous reports are limited.

Who can make a Report

Report an incident that you have been subjected to. You are able to, but do not have to, identify yourself or the other people involved in the incident. You are able to provide as much or as little information as you feel comfortable to share.

Report an incident that someone has disclosed to you. You should advise the person who has disclosed to you that you are providing a report.  You must NOT provide details that could identify the person unless you have their consent to do so.

Report an incident that you are aware of through other means, for example, you were a bystander, or have been made aware of indirectly, (such as sexual harassment that happened to someone else in a lecture that you attended, or a sexual assault being shared on social media) you can provide any details without approaching or contacting the people who are directly impacted or involved.