Anonymous Online Reporting FAQ

What is the reason for online anonymous reporting?

For a variety of reasons, individuals may not always feel comfortable making a formal complaint to the University about behaviour that includes bullying, harassment and assault. Factors can include not viewing what happened as serious enough to warrant a formal complaint, wanting the behaviour to stop but also not wanting the perpetrator to get into trouble, feeling embarrassed or ashamed, or being fearful of not being believed. Online anonymous reporting helps to alleviate many of these factors by empowering people to report on any incidents safely through anonymity. 

What is the information used for?

The information is used to help the University:

  • better understand the nature of incidents experienced by students and staff at UC
  • undertake actions such as education and training aimed at reducing the occurrence of bullying, harassment, discrimination and assault.

On its own, anonymous information cannot be used to support or initiate disciplinary proceedings against staff or students. Using the form does not constitute a formal complaint to the University. You can learn more about the formal complaints process here

Who can use the reporting tool?

The form is intended for students, staff, visitors and members of the public. Please note that if you are reporting about something that happened to someone else, you should not provide any information which reveals the identity of that person.

How is anonymity maintained?

The form does not ask for identifying personal details of the user, and IP addresses and other potentially identifying technical information are not recorded or stored by the reporting tool. Strict access controls and data handling protocols mean that raw data will only be accessible by four individuals within the Registrar and Student Success portfolio areas. 

If the University holds information elsewhere that gives context to data received in a report, and which as a result may enable the identification of a reporter, the University will respect the individual's privacy and desire for confidentiality, and will not contact them about it or reveal their identity within or outside the University.

What happens if a staff member is named?

The University cannot undertake a formal investigation or disciplinary process on the basis of anonymous reports alone. This is because the subject of an allegation is entitled under the principles of natural justice to know the identity of a complainant.

If a specific outcome is desired, complainants are encouraged to submit a formal complaint. This can lead to investigations, which occur under the processes set out in the 'Personal Conduct' tab of the University's HR Toolkit for staff. The investigation would be conducted in a sensitive and objective manner, respecting the rights of all parties involved.

If a staff member is named in numerous reports, or if the nature of the anonymous report is serious, the University reserves the right to talk informally with the named staff member and alert them as to the existence of those reports. However, no formal investigation or disciplinary process will be undertaken unless the complaint has been lodged under the formal complaints process or there is independent corroborating evidence.

What happens if a student is named?

The University will not undertake a formal investigation or disciplinary process on the basis of anonymous reports alone. Any formal investigation that does occur following a formal complaint will follow the ‘Raise a concern’ process detailed on the website. This would include the application of the principles of natural justice and appropriate support from the University and/or UCSA.

If a student is named in numerous reports, or if the nature of the anonymous report is serious, the University reserves the right to talk informally with the named student. However, no formal investigation or disciplinary process will be undertaken unless the complaint has been lodged under the formal complaints process.

How is the information managed?

Anonymous information is held securely and can be directly accessed only by a limited number of staff in key areas with responsibility for administering the tool. All reports are treated as confidential and are managed in alignment with the requirements of the Privacy Act 1993 and the University’s Privacy Policy. Responsibility for reporting on aggregated data and trends to the Central Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee (CEDAC) sits with the Director, Student Success.

What about information concerning sexual assault?

Because the system is designed to protect the anonymity of reporters, no further action will be able to be taken on reports of sexual assault. For this reason, it is strongly recommended to report sexual assault directly to the police. Information involving allegations of sexual assault may be provided to the Police if the University is assisting the Police in their investigations, or believes there is a risk to the safety of others. This occurs through the University’s Privacy Officer, Mr Jeff Field, in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Privacy Policy.

Do I have to report an incident of sexual assault to the Police?

No, you don't. While the Police encourage victims to report sexual assault to them, it is up to every individual to decide if they wish to. The Police can be contacted over the phone or by going into a police station, and can link victims to appropriate support organisations and arrange a medical examination. You can find out more on the NZ Police website. UC also provides a range of support services

Who investigates cases of sexual assault?

Criminal investigations into sexual assault can only be conducted by the Police, not by the University. In such cases, the University would provide support and refer the individual to the Police if they would like to take it further. Sexual assault, like other forms of sexual harassment, may be investigated by the University as an employment matter if the alleged perpetrator is a staff member and if a formal complaint is made.

What are some examples of what could happen from making an informal anonymous report?

The University wants to understand the incidence and types of inappropriate behaviours affecting students and staff. UC is committed to providing a safe and supportive learning experience and community. Information received through the Report It tool will inform decision making to improve safety and wellbeing on campus. This may include changes in facilities, security services, or provision of education to staff and students.

Can I learn if someone has made an anonymous report about me?

Yes, if you have been named in a report. Under the Privacy Act, individuals have a right to request access to information that is held about them. All such inquiries should be made to the Information and Records Management team

What if someone makes a false anonymous report about me?

Deliberately making a false report is a malicious act that has the potential to harm not only the individual being falsely accused, but also genuine victims who may face increased difficulty being believed because of the incidence of false reporting.

If following a request for information, you are identified as the subject of a malicious complaint, you can request to have a cover note attached to the file to document your disagreement/correction.