It's important to note that within the Australian community, various different terms are used to describe behaviour which involves a sexual assault. A term which is commonly used is rape.
Sexual assault is a crime. Under NSW and ACT law, sexual assault means engaging in certain sexual acts (such as intercourse and oral sex) with a person without their consent, when you know they don’t consent, or you don’t care whether they consent.
A person consents when they freely and voluntarily agree to behaviour, understanding what they are doing and who they are doing it with. A person can’t consent if they are:
- asleep or unconscious;
- significantly affected by drugs or alcohol;
- intimidated, coerced or threatened;
- held against their will, or
- tricked, or under a mistaken belief, about the identity of the other person involved.
A person also can’t consent if they lack the capacity to understand what is taking place because of a cognitive disability, or because they are under 16. It’s important to understand that a person might not consent to behaviour even though they were, or are, in a relationship with you
Where UNSW has information about a sexual assault that might assist the Police, by law UNSW must report it. Generally, UNSW will defer commencing, or suspend, any misconduct procedure while a Police investigation is underway. UNSW may however take interim steps to protect students or staff and these steps may, for example, involve excluding a student from campus or requiring a staff member to take leave while the investigation continues.
There is more guidance about what may amount to sexual assault available on the Justice NSW website.