What is sexual assault and sexual harassment?

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent, including when they have withdrawn their consent. Sexual assault:

  • Is behaviour that the survivor has not invited or chosen.
  • Can be one-off events, or part of a pattern of violence.
  • May have a range of effects, including physical, emotional and psychological.

Sexual assault and other sexual offences are criminal offences.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is:

  • Any unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated.
  • Interaction, flirtation or friendship which is not mutual or consensual.


Whenever you have sex, you need to make sure that your partner is just as enthusiastic about having sex. In other words, that they give their full consent. 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 actually against the law.

Not only is sex without consent a crime, but being pressured or forced into a sexual situation you’re not ready for (also known as rape and sexual assault) can do lasting emotional damage. It’s not enough to just assume someone wants sex as much as you, you really have to ask.

Find out more about consent.

You can also check out this video for more information.

Serious safety concerns

In a life threatening situation contact the Police on “000” or dial “0 000” from an internal Curtin phone.

If you, or someone you know is sexually assaulted or sexually harassed, or you see something that shouldn’t be happening, contact the Curtin Safer Community Team. The Safer Community Team offer 24 hour service, every day of the year, to the Perth, Technology Park, Perth CBD and Kalgoorlie campuses. The Safer Community Team will help you get the right support, even if the incident occurred in the past and/or did not occur on a Curtin campus.

  • Phone +61 8 9266 4444
  • Contact the team online and we will be in touch.
  • If you are on the Perth Campus, use the SafeZone Security App to trigger an immediate response from the Safer Community Team without alerting an assailant.
  • If you are on University supported activities interstate or overseas, ring International SOS on +61 2 9372 2468 and quote Membership No. 12AYCA656047.
People talking, student getting assistance

Report a sexual assault or sexual harassment incident

If you are aware of, or have experienced an incident of sexual assault or harassment, see something that shouldn't be happening, or feel unsafe, please report it. Our Safer Community Team can be reached directly on +61 8 9266 4444, or through our online form. You can make an anonymous report if you choose. All reports are treated seriously and confidentially.

Report an incident

Information for students and staff

Studying and working at university can be a great experience, and we want to ensure you stay safe. Curtin has a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Find out more detailed information for students.

Find out more detailed information for staff.

Frequently Asked Questions.

External Support Services

The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) provides a 24-hour emergency service in Perth. It is a free confidential service that involves medical care, forensic examination and counselling support to people who have been sexually assaulted. SARC is not part of the police, but they support a person’s decision to involve the police. Information in other languages is available.

You can also seek further information and support from 1800Respect, the National Sexual Assault and Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service.

Free and confidential support at Curtin

A range of free and confidential services are also available to support you if you have experienced, or been affected by, sexual assault or sexual harassment:

Psychological and Counselling Services

Support for individuals who experience, or in some cases potentially those who might perpetrate, sexual, physical or verbal harassment/assault.

Contact Psychological and Counselling Services

Health Services

Comprehensive health service for Curtin students and staff.

Contact Health Services

Student Wellbeing

Assistance with personal crises and critical incidents, and comprehensive follow up.

Contact Student Wellbeing

Student Assist

An experienced and independent advocacy service of the Curtin Student Guild that is available for all Curtin students.

Contact Student Assist

Curtin Ally

Curtin Ally fosters a culture inclusive of sexual and gender diversity, and can offer support and advice.

Contact Curtin Ally

Contact Guild Queer Department

Student and staff rights & responsibilities

In addition to Australian and State legislation, which establish sexual harassment and assault as unlawful, all Curtin staff and students are expected to adhere to the following:

Sexual Health Information & Links

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) - information and testing

There are a variety of infections which can be spread through sexual activity. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Australia, particularly among sexually active teenagers and young adults under 30 years of age. It can have serious effects for both men and women

Most people don’t have any symptoms and without knowing, they continue to pass chlamydia on to their sex partners. If you’ve ever had unprotected sex (no condom or dam), you could be at risk. Fortunately, testing for chlamydia is easy and there is a simple treatment.

You can get reliable accurate information about STIs:

You can get an STI test by:

Contraception - information and advice

It’s important to find the contraceptive method which suits you. There are some great online and face-to-face resources to give you all the information you need!

LGBTIQ support

  • The Freedom Centre helps provides young people (under 26) to support each other and their communities to be informed, happy and healthy about their sexuality, sex and gender. The drop-in centres offer a safe space to hang out, have fun, meet and other LGBTIQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex, Queer, Questioning and otherwise diverse in their sexuality and/or gender) young people and get peer-support and info if you need it.
  • Living Proud – local events, advocacy, health and wellbeing and QLife telephone counselling
  • WA AIDS Council has a number of resources available on a range of sexual health issues
Universities Australia Respect Now Always logo

Respect. Now. Always.

Respect. Now. Always. is a national campaign to prevent sexual assault and harassment across the university sector. The campaign highlights the determination of Australia’s universities to ensure that our students and staff are safe from sexual assault and sexual harassment.

The campaign seeks to prevent sexual assault and harassment by raising awareness, supporting students and staff requiring assistance and giving bystanders the confidence to speak up. Everyone has a role to play in ensuring that our University is a place of respect – now and always.

Curtin fully supports Respect. Now. Always. and is committed to providing a safe and respectful learning and working environment. Curtin provides services and support to students and staff who need assistance, underpinned by policies, procedures and our values.

If you would like to learn more about Curtin's commitment to preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault, and the work being done to address this, please read our July 2019 Report on Progress.