Harassment and Discrimination Officer Network

Griffith recognises the right of all students and staff to study and work in a University environment where diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity are valued and promoted.

The Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officer Network is a group of University staff and students committed to ensuring easy access, as a first point of contact, to information about the resolution and support options available.

How we can help

Trained Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers (HDCOs) are located on each campus and are available to people who are, or feel that they may have been, the subject of bullying, harassment or discrimination at Griffith University. The role of the HDCO is to be a confidential point of contact to listen to concerns, explain University policies and procedures and provide information on resolution options.

What do we do?

  • Listen to the concerns of students and staff and discuss options for resolution
  • Support staff/students to access and understand relevant policies and resolution procedures
  • Allow staff/students to choose the option/s most suitable to them
  • Maintain confidentiality and be impartial

What don’t we do?

  • Tell staff/students what you should do
  • Take action on your behalf
  • Disclose your name to anyone, except where there is a real threat to personal safety

How can you contact us?

  • A list of trained staff HDCOs is available on the Griffith phonebook
  • Contact your student association (SRC, Student Guild, GUPSA or GCAP) for trained student HDCOs and other advocacy information
  • Role statement

Who are the Contact Officers?

Staff and students understand the importance of timely access to confidential support, and respect everyone’s right to determine their own preferred course of action, once they have all the relevant information.

Contact a Contact Officer

Safe Campuses

Other ways Griffith University can help


What is discrimination?

There are two types of discrimination:

Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person because of certain attributes; and Indirect discrimination occurs when a requirement that is the same for everyone has an unfair effect on some people because of an attribute, such as race, pregnancy, gender, disability (indirect discrimination).

The grounds under which discrimination is unlawful and on which discrimination in the university's policy is based are stated in the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991).

What is harassment?

Harassment is repeated behaviour that is directed at an individual or group of students or staff and is offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

The behaviour is often unwelcome and makes it difficult for effective work or study to be conducted.

Harassment occurs in circumstances where a reasonable person would have expected that the behaviour was offensive, humiliating or intimidating (Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991).

Harassment may be sexual in nature or based on gender, race, disability, sexual preference or a range of other factors listed in the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991).

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual Harassment is any form of unwelcome sexual attention that might offend, humiliate or intimidate the other person and may be experienced by women or men. Like harassment, sexual harassment occurs in circumstances where a reasonable person would have expected that the behaviour was offensive, humiliating or intimidating.

Examples of sexual harassment include uninvited touching or physical contact; looking/gazing or staring at a person or parts of their body; talking about your sex life or asking about anothers; sexual jokes or propositions; and offensive communications (face to face, phone, email or social media).

Sexual harassment is against the law whenever and wherever it occurs. It does not need to be repeated or continuous to be against the law.

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace Bullying is where an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work, and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety (Fair Work Act 2009).

Repeated behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can involve a range of behaviours over time. 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.

Behaviour includes all forms of communication including email, text messaging and social media.

Reasonable behaviour and reasonable management action

Except in the case of sexual harassment, a single incident of unreasonable or harassing behaviour does not, of itself, constitute workplace Harassment or Bullying.

Nethertheless, such behaviour is unacceptable at the University and may be in breach of the Code of Conduct or other University policy and lead to disciplinary procedures.

Reasonable management action taken in a reasonable way is not considered Workplace Bullying.

(Safe Work Australia, Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying, 2013)

What is sexual assault?

The Queensland Police Force states that sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sexual act or behaviour without consent. It covers a broad range of sexual activity. Sexual assault is a crime and occurs when an offender:

  • Without lawful reason indecently assaults you (eg groping, inappropriate touching of a sexual nature) or
  • Procures you, without your consent, to commit an act of gross indecency (eg you perform a sexual act on the offender).

What is rape?

The Queensland Police Force states that any offender who rapes another person has committed a crime.

Sexual intercourse without consent is rape. Oral sex without consent is rape.

In general terms an offender rapes you if –

  • The offender has sexual intercourse with you without your consent; or
  • The offender without your consent penetrates your vulva, vagina or anus to any extent with a foreign object or a part of the offender’s body that is not a penis (eg finger); or
  • The offender without your consent penetrates your mouth to any extent with his penis.