Concerning, threatening or inappropriate behaviour
We want everyone who works or studies at RMIT to be safe, comfortable and respected.
If you have experienced threatening or concerning behaviour, we can:
- talk to you about support options
- help you with safety planning
- connect you with practical support services at RMIT and within the community (e.g. housing, financial, legal assistance and police).
Find out more
Bullying is a pattern of repeated physical, verbal, psychological or social aggression that is directed towards a person by someone more powerful and is intended to cause harm, distress and/or fear.
Bullying might involve repeatedly:
- hurting someone physically
- leaving someone out
- abusing someone verbally or in writing
- insulting, belittling or intimidating someone
- using offensive language
- spreading nasty rumours or cruel teasing
- displaying offensive material
- threatening to commit violence
- committing harmful or offensive initiation practices
- behaving hostilely regarding someone’s gender or sexuality
- teasing or making someone the brunt of pranks or practical jokes
- encouraging others to participate in bullying behaviour
- interfering with someone’s materials, equipment or personal property.
Bullying may be perpetrated by a student towards a University staff member or vice versa. It can also occur between staff members or between students.
A person can be bullied about their:
- home or family
- race or culture
- physical and mental state
What is not bullying?
Bullying is not:
- single incidents
- providing constructive criticism
- mutual conflict
- social rejection or dislike
- differences of opinion
- interpersonal conflicts.
Cyber bullying can take many forms, including:
- posting hurtful comments and embarrassing photos on social media
- sending abusive messages or images through mobile phones and on the internet
- sending emails that vilify, demean or cause humiliation to a person or group
- setting up hate websites and blogs to vilify someone
- using chat rooms, instant messaging and gaming areas to harass someone.
Sexual assault is sexual activity that a person has not consented to. It can refer to a broad range of sexual behaviours that make someone feel:
Sexual assault can include:
- indecent assault
- child sexual assault
- sexual molestation.
What is consent?
Consent is an agreement freely and voluntarily given by a person with the cognitive capacity to do so. Consent is not freely and voluntarily given if you:
- are being forced
- are unconscious or asleep
- are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- are under threat or intimidation
- are in fear of bodily harm
- are unable to understand what you are consenting to due to your age, language barriers, intellectual or cognitive incapacity
- have a mistaken belief that the offender was your sexual partner.
Silence does not mean consent.
If a person does not protest, physically resist, or suffer injuries, this does not mean they freely agreed to sexual activity. Watch this video to find out more about sexual consent.
Consent conversations: online module
Learn more about important concepts around consent, communication and respect and how you can intervene safely in difficult situations.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited behaviour of a sexual nature, which makes a person feel:
Sexual harassment can include:
- staring or leering
- unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against someone or unwelcome touching
- suggestive comments or jokes
- insults or taunts of a sexual nature
- indiscreet questions or statements about your private life
- displaying images of a sexual nature
- sending sexually explicit emails or text messages
- inappropriate advances on social media
- accessing sexually explicit internet sites
- requests for sex or repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates.
It’s not ok to behave this way. It’s not ok to be treated this way.
Stalking is when a person does something repeatedly that causes another person harm or to fear for their safety. A person can stalk someone by:
- following them
- repeatedly contacting them
- posting things about them on the internet
- hanging around outside their home or work
- acting offensively towards them, their family or friends.
The Stalking Risk Identification Checklist developed by UK Researcher Laura Richards can help you understand what risk there might be to you or if you believe you are at risk. This can be used if you know your stalker, as well as if you do not. For information on cyber stalking and harassment visit the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria website.
Unlawful discrimination is treating, or proposing to treat, someone unfavourably because of a personal characteristic.
In Victoria, it is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because of a characteristic that you have, or that someone assumes you have. These personal characteristics include:
- carer and parental status
- disability (including physical, sensory and intellectual disability, work related injury, medical conditions, and mental, psychological and learning disabilities)
- employment activity
- gender identity, lawful sexual activity and sexual orientation
- industrial activity
- marital status
- physical features
- political belief or activity
- pregnancy and breastfeeding
- race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and ethnic origin)
- religious belief or activity
- personal association with particular people.
Victimisation is subjecting, or threatening to subject, someone to something detrimental because they have:
- asserted their rights under equal opportunity law
- made a complaint
- helped someone else to make a complaint
- refused to do something because it would be discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation.
Safer Community can connect you with specialist support options.
There are a wide variety of support options available to you at RMIT and from external agencies. Part of what we do at Safer Community is talk you through your options and help you get the most useful support for your situation.
Support at RMIT
Below is a list of support services available to you at the University. Use these services if you are concerned about the behaviour of someone in the RMIT community. If necessary, these services might contact Safer Community for case management and advice.
- Counselling Service: if you want to talk about personal, study, mental health or wellbeing concerns.
- Student Support Advisors: offer practical help, advice and support, mainly in the areas of accommodation, legal and money advice, as well as making cultural and social adjustments to life in Melbourne and studying successfully.
- Student Legal Service: offers students free, confidential legal advice.
- Chaplaincy: a team of trained multi-faith spiritual advisers who are available in any crisis situation.
- Campus Safety and Security: if your safety or security concerns require urgent attention i.e. if you witness criminal activity on campus – contact Security. You can also request Campus Safety and Security to accompany you to a University car park or the nearest public transport.
RMIT policies and statements
- Students Complaints Policy
- Student Conduct Regulations
- Sexual Harassment Policy - (a revised version is under development - 2021)
- Child Safety Standards Statement of Commitment (PDF 189kb) - (a Child Safety Policy is under development – 2021
RMIT University Student Union (RUSU)
RUSU also provides the following support services:
- RUSU Compass service: for information and referrals to services if you’re experiencing challenges and want to know where to go to resolve them.
- RUSU Women’s Department: a safe space for female students. A Women’s Officer is also available to provide advice on support options available.
- RUSU Queer Department: a safe space of students that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex. A Queer Officer is available to provide advice and support on dealing with homophobic bullying, name-calling, or any other behaviour that makes for an unsafe environment.
- RUSU Student Rights: Student Rights Officers provide independent advice and advocacy.
- Beyond blue: provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
- Drummond Street Services: a not-for-profit family support agency that provides counselling and support to LGBTIQ+ people, young people and their families.
- eheadspace: provides a confidential, free and secure space where young people 12 - 25 or their family can chat, email or speak on the phone with a qualified youth mental health professional
- Lifeline: provides crisis support if you are finding it hard to cope with an event or experience in your life. Access support by phone (13 11 14) or online chat.
- QLife: a national telephone (1800 184 527) and web counselling service for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people, families and friends.
- Say Something: an anonymous online reporting system for crimes within Victoria with a downloadable App.
- Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission: provides a phone service offering free information on discrimination, victimisation, sexual harassment, racial or religious vilification, equal opportunity and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.
Sexual harassment and assault
Sexual Assault Crisis Line
Provides an after-hours, confidential telephone crisis counselling service for victim/survivors of both past and recent sexual assault.
- Phone: 1800 806 292 (crisis line, 24/7)
Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)
CASA provides specialist, sexual assault counselling and advocacy throughout Victoria.
- Phone: 9635 3600 (CASA House, Melbourne)
- Phone: 9497 1768 (Northern CASA, Bundoora)
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service
- Phone: 1800 737 732
- Website: www.1800respect.org.au/
Multicultural centre against family violence providing crisis support for people from culturally diverse backgrounds
- Phone: 9413 6500 (10am-4pm, Monday-Friday)
- Website: intouch.org.au/
Provides peer support for lesbian, gay, bixsexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people and their friends families and allies.
- Webchat: qlife.org.au (3pm-12am, 7 days) (Anonymous peer support and referral via telephone and webchat)
Provides culturally safe and accessible services to Aboriginal people seeking support.
- Phone: 1800 105 303
- Website: djirra.org.au/
Women’s Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Provides free support, referral and information on any issue for all Victorian women, non-binary and gender diverse people.
- Phone: 1300 134 130
- Website: www.wire.org.au/
Telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns including issues of violence.
- Phone: 1300 789 978
- Website: www.mensline.org.au
Men’s Referral Service
Telephone advice and counselling for men who need support for family violence.
- Phone: 1300 766 491
- Website: ntv.org.au/get-help/
Personal Safety Intervention Order
- Victoria Legal Aid: advice on applying for a personal safety intervention order which is an order made by a magistrate to protect a person from physical or mental harm caused by someone who is not a family member.
If you or someone you know has been assaulted, or has experienced concerning, threatening or inappropriate behaviour, support and advice is available from Safer Community.