Sexual misconduct includes incidences of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Sexual harassment. While the definition of sexual harassment varies across Australian (and other) jurisdictions, it generally involves an unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which, in the circumstances, a reasonable person, aware of those circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person would feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated.
Examples of sexual harassment include:
- staring, leering or unwelcome touching
- suggestive comments or jokes
- unwanted invitations to go out on dates or requests for sex
- intrusive questions about a person’s private life or body
- unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person
- emailing pornography or rude jokes
- displaying images of a sexual nature around the workplace
- communicating content of a sexual nature through social media or text messages.
Sexual assault includes a range of behaviours, all of which are unacceptable and constitute a crime. Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced or tricked into sexual acts against their will or without their consent, including when they have given their consent. Sexual assault is often called other names such as: Sexual abuse, rape, indecent behaviour, indecent assault, sexual molestation, incest, child sexual abuse, child sexual assault, touching, ‘feeling up’, sexual harassment.
Examples of sexual assault may include (but are not limited) to:
- Two people in a relationship start engaging in sexual activity but Person A changes their mind and asks to stop. Person B refuses to stop and forces sexual activity.
- Person A has sexual intercourse with Person B when Person B does not not want to or is unable to consent.
- Person A knows Peron B does not want to or cannot consent, or has no reasonable grounds to believe Person B consented.
- A teacher manipulates a student to engage in sexual acts in exchange for better marks.
Consent. Whilst definitions for consent to sexual activities also vary between jurisdictions, consent is essentially an agreement between people to engage in a sexual activity. Other important elements of consent are that it is mutual, freely given, informed, certain and clear, enthusiastic, reversible, specific and required throughout the activity.