The definitions provided below are intended to assist individuals to identify conduct which may constitute sexual assault, sexual harassment, harassment, bullying or discrimination.

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sexual act or behaviour that occurs without consent. Sexual assault occurs when a person indecently assaults another person or procures another person, without their consent, to commit a sexual act (Section 352 of the Queensland Criminal Code Act 1899).

What is rape?

Rape is a crime.  The Queensland Police Service advises that, 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.

What is consent?

Consent is permission for something to happen or agreement to do something. Consent must be freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to do so. Consent is not freely and voluntarily given if a person is:

  • forced to engage in the sexual act;
  • unconscious or asleep
  • under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • threatened or intimidated
  • in fear of bodily harm, or
  • under a mistaken belief that the person was their sexual partner.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of harassment and includes any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.  The behaviour does not have to be repeated for it to constitute sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unlawful under the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).

Conduct of a sexual nature includes making a statement of a sexual nature to a person, or in the presence of a person, whether the statement is made orally or in writing.

Sexual harassment occurs in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Reporting or disclosing sexual assault and sexual harassment

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 going to be offensive, humiliating or intimidating and may be sexual in nature or based on gender, race, disability, sexual orientation or a range of other factors listed in the Queensland Anti-Discrimination Act (1991).

What is bullying?

The Department of Education and Training Queensland defines bullying as repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons.

Bullying within a workplace 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).

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

What is discrimination?

Discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably than another person because of an attribute (direct discrimination), or when a requirement that is the same for everyone has an unfair effect on some people because of an attribute (indirect discrimination).

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

  • age;
  • race (includes colour, descent, ethnic origin, and nationality or national origin);
  • impairment (covers most physical and psychological conditions, and includes reliance of a guide, hearing, or assistance dog, wheelchair or other remedial device, as well as present and past impairments);
  • sex;
  • sexuality/sexual orientation (including but not limited to heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality);
  • gender identity (a person may identify as a member of the opposite sex, or is of indeterminate sex and seeks to live as a member of a particular sex);
  • pregnancy and breastfeeding;
  • family responsibilities and parental status (responsibility to care for or support a child or other member of immediate family, includes being a step-parent, adoptive parent, foster parent, or guardian);
  • political belief or activity;
  • relationship status (whether a person is single, married, married but separated, divorced, widowed, de facto partner, or civil partner);
  • religious belief or activity (includes not holding a religious belief, and not engaging in lawful religious activity); and
  • association with, or relation to, a person identified on the basis of any of the above attributes.