Health and Wellbeing

EMERGENCY CONTACTS

If immediate assistance is required, please use these emergency contacts:

ON campus emergency (24/7)

Ph: (+61) 434 996 183

OFF campus emergency (24/7)

Ph: Triple Zero (000) for police, fire and ambulance.

EXTERNAL Counselling support and advice (24/7)

Ph: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 737) for the National Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Help Line.

Ph: 1800 424 017 for the NSW Rape Crisis Centre.

Ph: 1300 668 256 Life Resolutions Employee Assistance Program for free confidential counselling available to PIA staff and families.

SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Polytechnic Australia (PIA) is committed to furthering a positive learning and working environment and to the prevention of incidents of sexual misconduct.

PIA maintains zero tolerance of negative behaviours, including sexual misconduct. To achieve this, PIA is committed to:

  • Implementing ongoing education and training for students and staff;
  • Providing mechanisms for individuals to report any such behaviour to PIA, including anonymous reports;
  • Promptly assessing all reports of such behaviour and/or referring such reports to the appropriate authorities;
  • Applying the PIA Privacy and Personal Information Policy and the principles of procedural fairness and confidentiality to the investigation of such reports;
  • Acting on the outcomes of such investigations in a timely and sensitive manner;
  • Considering disciplinary action if a report is assessed to be vexatious or malicious.

 

PIA is committed to preventing sexual misconduct in its physical and online environments through ongoing education and training. This is achieved through education and prevention strategies, such as:

  • Orientation programs for all students.
  • Staff induction processes.
  • First responder training.

WHAT IS SEXUAL ASSAULT AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

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.

REPORT AND SUPPORT

Individuals who have directly experienced sexual misconduct involving PIA staff or students have the right to decide what information they disclose. Individuals have a number of options to consider:

  • Call PIA emergency number on (+61) 434 996 183;
  • Report to the Police by calling 000;
  • 1800Respect – National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service;
  • Talk to a PIA Designated Officer (first responder who is trained to provide an appropriate initial response, including advice about available PIA and external support services and the process for making a Report) or other PIA professional;
  • Ask someone to make a report on their behalf;
  • Take no action

Where a disclosure has been made to a PIA Designated Officer, where possible, PIA will respect an individual’s choice to not make a report and will keep the disclosure confidential. In exceptional circumstances, where required by law or where there is a risk of significant harm to that individual’s health and safety or another individual’s health or safety, PIA may notify third parties, such as the police or child protection authorities.

Access support

The safety and wellbeing of individuals who have been affected by sexual assault and sexual harassment are priorities of PIA. Individuals have a number of options of support:

  • Academic Support: Special consideration and other types of support are available to assist with study.
  • Employee Assistance Program: Free service that offers professional advice to PIA staff and their families.
  • Outside PIA: Staff and students may prefer to seek support from counselling services outside of the institution.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND RECORD KEEPING

All documentation relating to the incident of sexual assault or sexual harassment will be kept confidential and shall be disclosed only to those persons who have a right to the information by virtue of their role in the process, as required by law, or as determined by limits to confidentiality (e.g. risk of harm to person or persons).

Written records should contain such information as is necessary for others to gain a clear understanding of the grounds upon which a concern was determined and the actions taken to address it.

PIA will capture data on de-identified disclosures and formal complaints in order to monitor incidents, patterns of behaviour, monitor effectiveness of this policy, continuous improvement and to prevent reoccurrences of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

Further information can be found in PIA’s Policy in relation to sexual assault and sexual harassment, which is made available under Policies and Procedures.

EMERGENCY CONTACTS

If immediate assistance is required, please use these emergency contacts:

ON campus emergency (24/7)

Ph: (+61) 434 996 183

OFF campus emergency (24/7)

Ph: Triple Zero (000) for police, fire and ambulance.

EXTERNAL Counselling support and advice (24/7)

Ph: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 737) for the National Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Help Line.

Ph: 1800 424 017 for the NSW Rape Crisis Centre.

Ph: 1300 668 256 Life Resolutions Employee Assistance Program for free confidential counselling available to PIA staff and families.

 

Critical Incident Reporting

PIA has an obligation to ensure that its staff, students, contractors, visitors and other persons are, as far as reasonably practicable, not exposed to risks to their health and safety arising out of the Institute’s activities.

PIA is committed to complying with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, and applicable codes of practice and Australian standards as far as possible.

PIA will ensure that the health and wellbeing of all staff is valued, enhanced and protected through all work practices, the work environment and workplace culture. To this end, PIA fosters a safe and positive learning and work culture by:

  • promoting a learning and work environment that encourages mutual respect and cultural sensitivity;
  • supporting people in the PIA community who are experiencing mental ill-health;
  • providing an environment that encourages staff and students to seek support early if they have declining mental health, and, as appropriate, provide support and adjustments suitable to their work or study needs;
  • providing secure access to physical and virtual environments;
  • protecting personal information unless there is a legal requirement to disclose it;
  • communicating its commitment to student wellbeing and safety;
  • maintaining zero tolerance of negative behaviours, such as bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct;
  • applying the principles of procedural fairness to the investigation of complaints, grievances, appeals and alleged misconduct;
  • monitoring and evaluating health, safety and wellbeing activities and performance to ensure these are effective and continually improved.

PIA enacts these principles through a number of related policies and procedures that may be specific to students and staff:

  • Critical Incident Policy and Procedure
  • Disability Policy and Procedure
  • Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedure
  • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Framework
  • Incident Reporting and Investigation Procedure
  • IT Usage Policy and Procedure
  • Privacy and Personal Information Policy
  • Risk Management Policy
  • Staff Grievance Policy and Procedure
  • Staff Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures
  • Student at Risk and Early Intervention Policy and Procedure
  • Student Grievances Handling Policy and Procedure
  • Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures
  • Student Support Framework

These policies and any associated procedures are made accessible to students via the rsepctvoe policy portals for staff and students.

The Work Health and Safety Officer (WHSO)

PIA has a dedicated Work Health and Safety Officer who performs WHS checks and also acts as a first aid officer and fire warden if qualified to do so or will delegate those positions to qualified on site permanent staff.

Staff Responsibilities

All workers undertaking work at/for or on behalf of the Institute are responsible for:

  • understanding their responsibilities
  • complying with safe work practices, with the intent of avoiding injury to themselves and others
  • and damage to facilities
  • taking reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and others
  • complying with any direction given by management for health and safety
  • reporting incidents and any unsafe conditions or issues that come to their attention
  • immediately to their supervisor and/or manager

completing all WHS training as required

Student Responsibilities

All students of the Institute are responsible for:

  • taking care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons
  • following directions from their lecturers and/or the WHS officer on WHS issues
  • completing their work in the safest manner as possible

complying with Institute Policies and Procedures and reporting any hazards, risks or incidents as they are identified.

Critical Incident Team

The Critical Incident Team is responsible for managing PIA’s response to any critical incident which is considered to have a severe or significant level of risk or, in some cases a moderate level of risk.

This team is convened by the most senior member of staff available at the time of the incident and will convene as soon as possible to plan an immediate response. Once the team is convened, the most senior staff member available (e.g. Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer or Registrar becomes the Head of the Critical Incident Team, or assigns a suitable alternative to head the team.

The team wherever possible will include the following members of staff:

  • Dean (or delegate);
  • Registrar or delegate (where staff are impacted); and
  • other members of staff as deemed appropriate by the Head of the Critical Incident Team (e.g. IT Systems Officer or Finance Officer).

Terms & Definitions

Critical incident: A critical incident is a sudden or developing event which causes disruption to an organisation, creates significant danger or risk and which creates a situation where staff and/or students feel unsafe, vulnerable and/or under stress. Critical incidents require immediate attention and decisive action to prevent or minimise any negative impact.

Designated Officer: Any PIA staff member who is either a witness to, or first to be informed about, an actual or potential critical incident.

Hazard: A source or a situation with a potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill-health, damage to property, damage to environment, or a combination of these.

Procedural fairness means that the investigation of complaints will:

  • be based on evidence,
  • provide a person who may be adversely affected by a decision an opportunity to present his or her case;
  • require a decision-maker not to have an interest in the matter to be decided and not to appear to bring a prejudiced mind to the matter.

Safety is defined as the control of recognised hazards to achieve an acceptable level of risk.

Wellbeing is characterised by physical and mental health, positive, constructive and engaging relationships, work satisfaction and work-life balance.