How To Adult | Self Defence

by Jessica Luu (Accounting Intern)

The Law on Self-Defence in NSW 

You are not criminally responsible for an offence if it constitutes self-defence in NSW law. In s418 of the Crimes Act 1900, a person carries out self-defence if: 

  • to defend himself or herself or another person, or
  • to prevent/terminate the unlawful deprivation of his or her liberty or the liberty of another person, or
  • to protect property from unlawful taking, destruction, damage or interference, or
  • to prevent criminal trespass to any land or premises or to remove a person committing any such criminal trespass, and the conduct is a reasonable response in the circumstances as he or she perceives them. 

Reporting Violence 

Reporting Sexual Harassment

If you choose to address sexual harassment, it is important to:

  • Talk to someone to get support and advice

  • Tell the offender (verbally orin writing) that their behaviour is unacceptable, and you want it to stop

  • Informally discuss the behaviour with your university/work supervisor

  • Keep a written record of everything that happened, and the names of people involved or who saw what happened 

  • Make a formal complaint to your employer or to the university (through the Student Conduct and Integrity Unit)

  • Make a formal complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, or the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board. It is free to make a complaint at either organisation, and you can make a complaint within 12 months after the harassment occurred. 

  • Note, you cannot lose your student visa or right to study at UNSW for reporting an incident.  

Reporting Sexual Assault

If you've experienced sexual assault, there are various steps you can take to address it. You can: 

  • Make a formal report to the police by contacting your nearest police station 

  • Make an informal (and anonymous, if preferred) report to the police through the Sexual Assault Reporting Option (SARO) where you fill out a questionnaire, which will be directly sent to the Sex Crimes squad. You can choose whether you want to provide personal details.  

  • Get in contact with support services, including medical support, counselling, and/or legal advice  

If the incident is related to your workplace or university, you can also: 

Support Services:  

Medical support is recommended if you have experienced violence or sexual assault. UNSW Health Services is located on the Ground Floor, East Quadrangle Building, Kensington Campus. 

Counselling services that you can reach out to when you're in need include:  

Legal Advice

If you are a UNSW student, you can contact Arc Legal for free legal help or information.

Campus Security Safety Escorts 

If you ever feel unsafe on campus, you can request a security escort from campus to your parked car, bus stop etc. It is a free 24 hours a day service. You can request a safety escort by calling 9385 6000 or 1800 626 003 or from any Help Point on campus.

UNSW First Responders

Whilst they are not counsellors, UNSW First Responders are trained to provide an appropriate initial response to your concerns and guide you to the right services if you have experienced sexual assault