For some survivors of sexual assault or harassment, reporting the incident/s is an important step which helps them to process what happened. Sexual violence is never the survivor’s fault but many people feel hesitant to come forward for fear they will be stigmatised or won’t be taken seriously. If you would like to report an incident of sexual assault or harassment to UWA there are a number of routes you can take and services to support you.
You have the choice of either reporting in person or online. The online form allows you to enter as much information as you feel comfortable sharing. After you complete it you will be contacted by someone from the Complaints Resolution Unit of the university to discuss what kind of options you have. The form can also be completed anonymously, though there are limits to the kinds of actions that can be taken as the result of an anonymous submission.
If you are more comfortable disclosing in person, you can make an appointment with the Complaints Resolution Unit. They are very experienced and trained in responding to disclosures of sexual assault and harassment.
For meetings with the Complaints Resolution Unit you are allowed to have a support person with you such as a friend or family member. If you wish, you can have a Guild Student Assist Officer with you as a support person. The Student Assist team includes social workers and a counsellor. They are employed by the Guild to support students on an independent basis so this means they are independent from the university, and this service is completely free and confidential. They have a wealth of experience supporting students through the complaints process and they can be a great starting point for support and advice about the process of making a complaint if you’re unsure if you want to report.
There is no single correct way to deal with being the survivor of sexual violence. For some, reporting it is an important step in getting justice and coming to terms with what happened. Not all survivors want to go through a discipline process however and this is just as valid. If you let the university know what has happened however there are ways that you can be supported without going through the complaints process, for instance rearranging timetables to not be in classes with the perpetrator.
If you have any questions about reporting assault or need some help, I’m more than happy to chat in person or via email (email@example.com).
SARC (Sexual Assault Resource Centre) offers free counselling to survivors
UWA Counselling – offers 6 free counselling sessions to students
Robin Winkler Clinic – offers low cost, on campus, psychologist services
Yorgum – counselling for Aboriginal people who have been impacted by sexual abuse
MAITRI Mental Health Services (Culturally & Linguistically Diverse service)
QLife (counselling for LGBT+ people)
Written by Hannah Matthews – UWA Women’s Officer
Posted on May 4, 2017