Violence

We believe that all forms of violence are unacceptable – not just those that can be seen. We want to address unsafe and unwelcome behaviour that puts the health and wellbeing of others at risk.

Violence

La Trobe University recognises the following behaviours as constituting violence:

  1. physical violence
  2. sexual violence
  3. emotional, psychological and financial violence and intimidation
  4. intimate partner, domestic and family violence
  5. verbal abuse.

These behaviours may occur in person or via remote, digital or cyber means.

Physical Violence

The act of using physical force or violence by a person against another person may include:

  1. applied force or threats to apply force
  2. fighting, biting, spitting, scratching and kicking
  3. pushing, hitting, shoving, tripping and grabbing
  4. use or threatened use of a weapon (for example knives, guns and clubs).

Psychological Violence

Psychological violence can include a range of controlling behaviours and may occur face-to-face or via digital means.

Examples of psychological violence include:

  1. being threatened with injury, abandonment or death
  2. control of finances
  3. isolation from family and friends and/or confinement
  4. intentionally frightening or continual humiliation
  5. threats against children, family or pets
  6. any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity and self-worth (such as putdowns, ridicule and incessant monitoring of an individual’s movements).

Family, Domestic and Intimate-Partner Violence

Family violence is a broader term than domestic violence as it refers to violence not only between intimate partners, but also violence between family members. Family violence happens in all kinds of relationships, including (but not limited to):

  1. intimate: partners, lovers, husband and wife/spouses, ex-partners
  2. older people and their children (elder abuse)
  3. other family members, including children and step-parents
  4. parents and their children.

Family violence or abuse serves to establish and maintain power and control over another person (including children) and includes behaviours that cause physical, sexual or psychological harm to those within the family or relationship. Family violence encapsulates the broader issue of violence within extended families, kinship networks and community relationships, as well as intergenerational issues.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  1. violent, intimidating or threatening behaviour
  2. any form of behaviour that coerces or controls a family member or causes them to be fearful
  3. physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse
  4. any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity and self-worth.

Hazing

Refers to the practice of rituals, challenges, harassment, abuse or humiliation used as a way of initiating a person into a group including a new team or club. Students are not permitted to engage in any such behaviour regardless of the person’s willingness to participate.

The difference between hazing and bullying is subtle, which is why they are often used interchangeably. The same power dynamics are involved and the same intimidation tactics used.

The only real difference between hazing and bullying is that bullying usually involves singling out an individual at any time and bullying them as a means to exclude them. Hazing, on the other hand, involves including people by having them ‘earn’ their way into a group or onto a team.

Bullying is about exclusion. Hazing is about inclusion.

Hazing behaviours may occur in person or via remote, digital or cyber means.

Help for myself

If you have experienced violence, it is not your fault and you’re not alone. We’d like to help, if that works for you.

Are you in immediate danger? If you are in immediate danger or seriously injured, please call 000 (or 0 000 from University phones).

Find a place where you feel safe. If an incident has just occurred and a safe place cannot be located, consider contacting Campus Security (03 9479 2222) for assistance.

Consider contacting SafeSteps. If you have experienced family violence, consider accessing toll free assistance by calling 1800 015 188. They can assist with safety planning, risk assessment, crisis accommodation and ongoing support.

Consider contacting Speak Up. We will listen, believe, and support you in making decisions which are right for you. Contacting us does not mean you have to file a formal complaint or engage in a process – it can be strictly around support. You can remain anonymous, unless we believe there is a genuine threat to a person’s health and safety. Call us on 03 9479 8988, or click Connect with Speak Up below.

Consider contacting La Trobe’s Violence Prevention and Support Hotline. Staff and students can call 1300 687 399 to access free, confidential counselling support related to experiences of violence and unacceptable behaviour.

Help for someone else

If you’re worried about someone else, there are things you can do to help.

Are they in immediate danger? If they are in immediate danger or seriously injured, please call 000 (or 0 000 from University phones).

Find a place where they feel safe. If an incident has just occurred and a safe place cannot be located, suggest contacting Campus Security (03 9479 2222) for assistance.

Listen. Believe. Support. If someone discloses to you that they have experienced violence or unacceptable behaviour, it’s important to:

  • Reassure them that what has happened is not their fault;
  • Encourage them to talk, without putting words in their mouth. Let them express how they are feeling. (Be prepared – there may be long bouts of silence as they process their thoughts.);
  • Focus any questions on how they are feeling, and what they want to do next. It’s not up to you to gather information or pass judgment about the specifics of the incident(s);
  • Ask how you can help. The person may be overwhelmed and not know what to say - you could consider suggesting they contact someone they trust, or SafeSteps if the situation involves family violence.
  • Respect the person’s decisions. Family violence is incredibly complex, and it often takes multiple attempts for a person to leave due to a range of considerations and barriers. Only they can decide what is right for them. There are a lot of reasons why someone may feel unable to leave a family violence situation, and this should be respected.

Consider contacting Speak Up. We can help you provide reasonable support through recommending options and resources. You will not need to disclose the name of the person impacted to us unless we believe there is a genuine threat to their health and safety. Call us on 03 9479 8988, or click Connect with Speak Up below.

Consider contacting La Trobe’s Violence Prevention and Support Hotline. Staff and students can call 1300 687 399 to access free, confidential counselling support related to experiences of violence and unacceptable behaviour.

Additional information

Victimisation

La Trobe University prohibits retaliation against anyone involved in a notification or complaint of unacceptable behaviour.

Victimisation is subjecting or threatening to subject someone to a detriment because they have asserted their rights, made a complaint, helped someone else make a complaint, or refused to do something because it would be discrimination, sexual harassment or victimisation. Victimisation is against the law.

It is also victimisation to threaten someone (such as a witness) who may be involved in investigating a concern or complaint.

Victimisation is a very serious breach of policy and may result in formal discipline against the perpetrator.

Relevant Policies and Procedures

Anti-Bullying and Harassment (Students) Procedure

Responding to Violence (Students) Procedure

Student Behaviours Policy

Workplace Behaviours Policy

There are two ways you can report something:

Report anonymously or Connect with Speak Up

For emergency assistance, please call 000 or 03 9479 2222