If you have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment or family & domestic violence
Help and support is always available at Notre Dame.
The University does not tolerate sexual assault or sexual harassment. We are committed to providing dedicated support services for students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence to support their wellbeing and continued engagement with studies.
In an emergency, telephone 000.
If you need immediate assistance on campus, call Campus Security
- Fremantle: 0438 923 955 or the 24-hour security patrol call (08) 9433 0123 (extension 2123).
- Broadway: 0403 458 011 or dial the pre-programmed number on an office phone.
- Darlinghurst: 0406 318 213 or dial the pre-programmed number on an office phone.
- Broome: 0475 985 197
University Respect Officers
Notre Dame has Respect Officers on each campus to help and support students who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence.
If you have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence and you would like to talk to someone, you are warmly encouraged to contact a Respect Officer or any other member of staff. Our Respect Officers have been specially trained and they will:
- respond with compassion and understanding
- coordinate practical academic support for you as needed, to help you continue with your studies
- help you to access University support services (e.g. Counselling, Chaplaincy) and external support services
- provide information about formal reporting options
Who should contact a Respect Officer?
Any student or staff member who has experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence is encouraged to contact a Respect Officer. This is part of Notre Dame’s commitment to supporting its students and staff, and so that the University can take steps towards eliminating sexual assault and sexual harassment.
If something has happened, sometimes it can be hard to make sense of the situation. Talking the matter through with a Respect Officer can help – they have specialist experience and they are not connected with the people involved, so they can bring some objectivity and help you to work through the experience(s) you’ve had. The Respect Officer will listen to you, respond with empathy and understanding, and they will believe you. They are not going to judge you. Sometimes students will get in contact because they’ve been out on the weekend and something has happened, or they might have had an experience on public transport or online, or it might concern a family situation that’s happening now or in the past. There are no limits on who can contact a Respect Officer.
If you think you might need help, please reach out and the Respect Officer will be there for you – even if you just want to talk through a situation and don’t want it to go any further.
Reasons why a person might worry about seeking help
There are many reasons why a person might worry about seeking help if something has happened. It is not unusual for people who have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence to be concerned about what might happen if they reach out for support. Common reasons include:
- Confusion, guilt, or shock about what has happened
- Fear they will not be believed
- Not recognising what they have experienced as sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence
- Belief that they are to blame for what has occurred
Sometimes a person might be worried about losing control of a situation if they tell someone what has happened. They might be worried that everyone will find out, or that talking about the matter will lead to formal action being taken (whether they want this or not). Sometimes a person may be concerned about what will happen to any confidential information they provide.
University Respect Officers understand that you may have some or all of these concerns, if something has happened to you. The Respect Officer will listen to you with empathy and respect, and they will not judge you. Whatever you disclose to a Respect Officer, they will treat you with understanding and kindness.
The University recognises there is a difference between making a disclosure and making a formal report. You might want to talk about an experience you’ve had, to get some support and try to work through what has happened – this is regarded as a disclosure. You will never be required to go further and make a formal report, which could lead to a formal investigation and consequences, unless you wish to. When speaking with a Respect Officer, you remain in control, and you make all the decisions about what happens next.
Any confidential information you provide will be treated confidentially by the Respect Officer. The Respect Officer will not disclose any personal information unless you give consent, or unless the law imposes an obligation on the University to report the information (this tends to occur in very limited circumstances – for example, if the sexual abuse of a child is disclosed). While Respect Officers are required to report within the University on the nature and number of disclosures they receive, no personal or identifying information is included regarding the person making the disclosure, or the alleged offender. The purpose of reporting is to help the University identify any general trends regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment, and to identify any required improvements to University processes and/or sexual harm prevention or response initiatives. If you have any concerns about what will happen to information you provide, you are most welcome to discuss your concerns with the Respect Officer.
What will happen if I contact a Respect Officer?
If you contact a Respect Officer to discuss sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence, the Respect Officer will offer to meet with you, and will treat you with compassion, empathy, understanding and respect. The Respect Officer will help to tailor a coordinated response that is appropriate to your circumstances, to help you continue with your studies.
Amongst other things, the Respect Officer will provide you with information about how you can access support within the University (including Counselling and/or Chaplaincy) and how to access external support options (such as police and health services). The Respect Officer will also provide information about the University’s formal reporting mechanisms for sexual assault or sexual harassment, so that the incident can be formally investigated (if appropriate) in accordance with the University’s misconduct and disciplinary processes.
If an international or incoming Study Abroad student makes a disclosure or a formal report that they have experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or family and domestic violence, if will not affect the student’s visa. If you have any concerns about this, you are encouraged to have a confidential discussion with a University Respect Officer (see below).
Podcast interview (July 2020) regarding the role of the Respect Officer – including who can contact a Respect Officer, and what will happen if you make contact:
How to contact a Respect Officer
Notre Dame sexual assault and sexual harassment policies and procedures
External support services for people who have experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment