Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH)

When participating in an overseas program, all participants must comply with all university policies and standards. This includes a commitment to preventing sexual assault and harassment, and promoting positive respectful relationships. Western Sydney University has agreed to participate in the development of a respectful relationships education program to be implemented across the Australian University sector. Through the Respect.Now.Always. campaign, the University has implemented a number of initiatives and strategies to affirm that sexual assault and harassment is not tolerated at this University. All commencing students now complete compulsory online training. For further information about these initiatives visit:

Project leaders managing New Colombo Program projects, must ensure that participants and stakeholders are compliant with the Australian Government’s Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) policy. The policy sets out expectations and requirements for all delivery partners to manage SEAH risks and incidents. This includes a risk assessment to PSEAH Minimum Standards and a contract with all downstream partners. WSU and partners must assess the level of risk for SEAH occurring and apply the PSEAH Minimum Standards. When completing a Risk Assessment project leaders are required to list the controls that are in place.

Key definitions

The SEAH Policy uses the following descriptions of sexual exploitation, sexual abuse and sexual harassment, which combine international and Australian definitions:

Sexual exploitation: Any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes. It includes profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual abuse: The actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. It covers sexual offences including but not limited to: attempted rape (which includes attempts to force someone to perform oral sex); and sexual assault (which includes non-consensual kissing and touching). All sexual activity with someone under the age of consent (in the law of the host country or under Australian Capital Territory law [16 years], whichever is greater) is considered to be sexual abuse.

Sexual harassment: A person sexually harasses another person if the person makes an unwelcome sexual advance or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, or engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.

Sexual harassment can take various forms. It can be obvious or indirect, physical or verbal, repeated or one-off and perpetrated by any person of any gender towards any person of any gender. Sexual harassment can be perpetrated against beneficiaries, community members, citizens, as well as staff and personnel.

Risk Assessment

If there is no risk of SEAH during the delivery an overseas project, then you must document this in the Learning Abroad Risk Assessment and monitor for any changes throughout the activity.

If a SEAH risk is identified during the delivery of your overseas project, the level of risk (low, medium, high or very high) must be established based on the likelihood and consequence of that risk occurring. To determine the risk of SEAH, see the GUIDANCE ON ASSESSING THE RISK OF SEAH.

This information must be added to the final Learning Abroad Risk Assessment including what will be established to mitigate the risks (see Risk Management in Learning Abroad).


Staff managing a program are not permitted to work with overseas partners or providers that have not passed the due diligence process:

Report Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment

Staff and partners must report any alleged incident of sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment related to the delivery of a project within 2 working days of becoming aware of an alleged incident.

Staff and partners must report any alleged policy non-compliance; for example, failure to adhere to the PSEAH Policy Minimum Standards or principles within 5 working days of becoming aware of an alleged incident.

In the instance, suspicion or allegation of SEAH:

  • 1. Report the incident to key staff – see WSU Critical Incident Guidelines
  • 2. Use the Western Sydney University Sexual Offences Reporting Portal (for students and staff)
  • 3. Staff and partners must report any alleged incident of sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment related to the delivery of a project within 2 working days of becoming aware of an alleged incident.

What if the people involved in the alleged incident do not want to report it to DFAT?

While DFAT applies a zero tolerance for inaction in cases of SEAH, the Policy applies a “do no harm” approach by prioritising the wishes, needs and rights of survivors, victims and whistle-blowers, including by respecting their privacy.

All incidents must be reported under the PSEAH policy. (DFAT requires enough information to identify what the allegation is, the DFAT program it relates to and the action that will be taken by the relevant DFAT partner.) However, if the victim does not give consent, the institution should note this when providing information relating to the incident.  DFAT does not require personal or identifying information about the people involved.  Reports from the institutions remain confidential at all times andDFAT’s PSEAH unit will not share identifying details further.  If universities have questions, we encourage you contact the DFAT PSEAH Team for advice (see contact details below).

How soon after an incident occurs should it be reported?

Mandatory reporting must occur within TWO working days of becoming aware of an alleged incident of sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment related to the delivery of DFAT business.  Mandatory reporting must occur within FIVE working days by all staff and DFAT partners in the case of any alleged Policy non-compliance.

If you have any questions, or have an incident you need to report and are unsure of the best way to do so, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at or call +61 2 6178 0500.

Further information about mandatory reporting can be found on the Preventing Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) Policy webpage.

Compulsory Training

The University has implemented a number of initiatives and strategies to affirm that sexual assault and harassment is not permitted at this institution or during the participation of overseas activities. All staff and commencing students are required to undertake compulsory training on Respectful Relationships. further information can found on the Mental, Health, and Wellbeing website

First Responder Training

Western Sydney University offers First Responder Training for staff and students who may be the first point of contact for students or staff needing assistance with sexual assault or sexual harassment-related issues. The training is delivered by the Gendered Violence Research Network (UNSW) and facilitated by Western's Respect. Now. Always. campaign. For further information or queries, please contact or visit