Tackling sexual assault and sexual harassment

In order to offer higher education courses of study, providers must be registered with TEQSA and meet the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework (HES Framework). The HES Framework includes specific requirements regarding student wellbeing and safety, which include the need for:

  • a safe learning environment to be promoted and fostered
  • support services for students who need assistance with personal circumstances which may be having an adverse effect on their education
  • formal complaints handling policies and procedures.

We continue to work with stakeholders from across the sector including students, providers, advocacy groups and the Australian Government, to ensure our response to this issue is based on the best available information.

How is TEQSA ensuring higher education providers are complying with these requirements?

Regulatory assessments

All Australian higher education providers are required to apply to TEQSA to renew their registration at least once every 7 years. During this process, TEQSA assesses providers’ operations to ensure they are meeting the requirements of the HES Framework. The requirements include but are not limited to, supporting student wellbeing and safety.

Providers who are found to be in breach of standards face regulatory actions that range from requesting information to placing conditions on registration and, in the most serious of cases, cancelling registration.

Our regulatory decisions regarding Australian higher education providers can be found on the National Register of Higher Education Providers.

Sector guidance

We have worked with the sector, students, and advocacy groups to produce guidance material on what we will expect to see when assessing providers’ compliance with student wellbeing and safety requirements of the HES Framework during our regulatory assessments.

Work is presently underway to further update these resources.

Where can I seek help?

University students

Universities Australia initiative lists the contact details for counselling and support services at Australian universities. You can access this list from Universities Australia’s Where to seek support at your university webpage.

Higher education provider students

All higher education providers should provide access to student support services.

ReachOut.com also provides support to survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment and has compiled a list of state-based support services. This list can be accessed from ReachOut.com’s Sexual assault support webpage

Complaints to TEQSA

TEQSA accepts complaints about higher education providers’ compliance with the legislation we administer.

However, TEQSA is not a complaints resolution body and typically does not have a role in addressing individual complainants’ request or grievances. Under the TEQSA Act our function and powers prioritise broader systemic issues.

If you need to make a complaint about the way in which a provider has responded to an incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment, please complete our online complaint form.

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