Formal report (complaint)

You can make a formal complaint about behaviour you consider sexually harmful where the person who is the subject of the complaint is a student or staff member.

A formal complaint should be in writing and should specify in detail:

  • the particular incident or incidents you wish to complain about including the person your complaint is about;
  • when the incident(s) occurred;
  • the particular behaviour that you consider amounts to sexual assault or sexual harassment;
  • whether there was a direct witness to the incident(s), who they are, and whether they have agreed to be contacted to provide further information about the matter(s), if required;
  • who else (if anyone) you have spoken to about the incident;
  • whether you have, or are intending to make a complaint to the Police, or to any other external agency
  • what action you would like the University to take to resolve the situation from your perspective.

If you are a student you can submit your complaint to studentinterest@vuw.ac.nz

Process of making an formal report

The complaint will then be referred to the appropriate area of the University, in consultation with you. Further consideration, investigation (if appropriate) and action on your complaint may then be taken. For example, if the complaint is about behaviour by a staff member, then it may be referred to Human Resources.

You will be provided wellbeing and academic support as needed (see resource for survivor/victims for more information on the range of supports available).

If you would like to access assistance with putting together and submitting a formal complaint you can contact the:

A formal complaint about behaviour by a student that might amount to sexual assault or sexual harassment may be dealt with informally or formally according to processes under the Student Conduct Statute. The complainant’s views will be considered before determining which type of process might be appropriate.

A formal complaint about behaviour by a staff member that might amount to sexual assault or sexual harassment may be dealt with informally or formally according to processes under the Staff Conduct Policy and the associated Guidelines for Resolving Alleged Misconduct. The complainant’s views will be considered before determining which type of process might be appropriate

If a complaint is made to the Police (or another external agency) and also to the University, we will liaise with the Police (or external agency) to ensure that any process followed by the University does not interfere with any external investigation or process that may be underway. On some occasions, if a Police investigation and/or criminal process occurs, this may require the University to place its own process on hold until the conclusion of those external matters.

It is important that you are aware that, in order for a complaint to be dealt with by the University under a formal process, the contents of your complaint will need to be provided to the person who your complaint is about, in line with natural justice requirements.

Our response to a formal report (complaint)

When misconduct or serious misconduct is found to have occurred under a formal process, the University may impose penalties and take measures that are proportionate to the level of wrongdoing that is found to have occurred.

These seek to censure behaviours that are found not to be consistent with the University’s core ethical values and applicable conduct Polices/statutes; address harms identified; and promote accountability and repair harm.

Further details about the sorts of penalties and other measures that can be imposed in relation to students can be found in the Student Conduct Statute. In relation to staff members, details on those penalties are contained in staff members’ employment agreements.

All penalties imposed are monitored for compliance and should further, similar behavioural issues be identified, this may result in further appropriate action being taken.

A person who had made a formal complaint is entitled to know whether or not their complaint has been upheld.