Sexual violence is a serious and systemic issue that impacts the individual, community, and society as a whole. Ontario universities are committed to ensuring student safety and supporting anyone on campus who has experienced sexual violence.
Sexual Violence: Support, Prevention, Education
All Ontario universities offer several common supports for people who have experienced sexual violence: a response team, a variety of support services, on and/or off campus counselling, a system of referrals, a complaints process and prevention education.
Universities have committed to reviewing their existing policies, and making these policies and supports easier to find by posting a special web page prominently on their sites.
Universities stand behind the Ontario government’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Act, passed in March 2016, and are working with students to develop stand-alone policies on sexual violence and harassment.
The COU Reference Group on Sexual Violence, established in 2014, is working to increase awareness of sexual violence, improve prevention education initiatives and share research and effective practices in the university sector regarding the prevention of, and response to, sexual violence.
Universities came together to discuss sexual violence in 2015 at a conference hosted by the Ontario Committee on Student Affairs at York University, and on behalf of universities, COU worked closely with the Ontario government to help shape the Premier’s Action Plan on Sexual Violence.