Next Month, Provincial Survey Seeks Sexual Assault Info

sexual assault survey



In March (until early April), college students across Ontario will be asked to participate in the on-line “Student Voices on Sexual Violence” survey, initiated by the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD).

Here’s all of the info about the rationale for the massive study (also involving private college and university students), and the process, taken from the study's website at

The Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey will give postsecondary students in Ontario the opportunity to provide feedback on the topic of sexual violence on and around their campuses, which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation.

By participating, you can improve your institution’s knowledge of the current climate of sexual violence at your campus.

Sexual violence affects everyone.

This survey will ask questions on sexual violence and for your input on: beliefs and knowledge, education and prevention, institutional support services, and experiences.

The survey results will help you and your institution identify and address issues, improve services, build awareness, and update policies and processes related to addressing issues of sexual violence.

The survey will provide you, your institution, and the Ontario government with information about students’ perceptions and experiences of sexual violence. The survey includes questions on the following themes:

• Knowledge of sexual violence supports, services and reporting procedures;

• Perceptions of consent;

• Experiences of sexual violence;

• Satisfaction with institutional responses to sexual violence;

• Behaviour of bystanders.

Provincial legislation defines sexual violence broadly as “any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation.”

The survey will include full-time undergraduate and graduate university, college, and private career college students who are 18 years of age and older.

When the survey becomes available, eligible postsecondary students will be sent an email inviting them to participate in the survey. For college students, that will occur between March 5 and April 2. The invitation will include a link to the survey landing page, with more information about the survey. From the landing page, you can access the survey directly.

You can complete the survey on a mobile device, such as a smartphone, as long as an internet browser is available on the device.

Each survey question will give you a set of responses to choose from. Sometimes you will be asked to select one response and, at other times, you will be asked to select all responses that apply. The survey does not ask for any written responses.

The survey is estimated to take an average of 15 to 20 minutes to complete, depending on your experiences.

Participation in the survey is completely voluntary.

You can choose which questions you want to answer, and you are not required to complete the survey once you start it. However, you need to answer at least 65 percent of the questions to receive a $5 gift card.

“Can I participate if I have not experienced sexual violence?” Yes. Each student’s voice is important for this survey. It is important that a variety of students share their views to improve an understanding of campus cultures and support safer campuses.

You can contact the Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey telephone number at CCI Research to request that your responses be removed. The telephone number is 866-450-4907.

The survey will be repeated once every three years. We believe this gives your institution sufficient time to review the results and to make necessary changes where gaps may have been identified.

As a token of thanks, you will be provided with a $5 electronic gift card if you submit an online survey (completing 65 percent of it). After the survey is submitted, you are asked for your email address so that the electronic gift card can be sent to you.

CCI Research, the private-sector company engaged by the MAESD to conduct this survey, is obligated to protect the privacy of students and keep your responses to the survey confidential. To ensure this, your survey responses and the information you provide to receive your incentive will be kept completely separate. CCI Research will conduct this survey in a manner that protects your identity. Your name, student ID and email address will never be saved with your survey responses. Results will only ever be reported in a format that preserves confidentiality.

If at any time during the survey you feel upset or experience anxiety, the following options will be available to you through the online survey:

• Quick Exit Button: This will take you out of the survey. You can choose to re-enter the survey later. If you do not go on to complete the survey by pressing the “Submit” button at the end of the survey, then your responses will not be used;

• Support Button: This will provide you with information about the support services available at your institution or in the province;

• In addition, the public information site for this survey,, will provide information about support services available.

The online survey is consistent with web accessibility guidelines and is compatible with computer-assisted reading support systems such as read&write, Zoomtext, Kurzweil, JAWS, NVDA, and Orca. If you require another format, please contact your institution (typically, its Disability or Accessibility Services Office).

The survey results will be shared with your institution in the summer of 2018.

Results will only ever be reported in a format that preserves confidentiality. To protect the identity of students, the following rules will be applied by CCI Research before providing data and results to your institution:

• No data file will be provided to an institution if there are not at least 300 responses from that institution;

• No campus or other location, faculty or clustering of programs, will be identified in the data file if there are not at least 100 responses for that group;

• No breakdown of information by individual program of study will be provided in the data file;

• No personal demographic information will be provided by campus, faculty or other location or program clustering in the data if there are not at least 20 respondents included in each response item (excluding “Not Applicable” and “Don’t Know” responses);

• Institutions will receive institution level results which will not identify any individual.

The survey was developed in consultation with an expert panel made up of representatives from student groups, private career colleges, colleges and universities, including researchers working on sexual violence. The panel examined a number of existing Sexual Violence Campus Climate Surveys developed or administered by institutions and organizations. Using existing surveys as reliable models, the expert panel made recommendations regarding the sections and questions that should be included in the Ontario survey. CCI Research was then contracted to refine the survey for use in pre-testing, focus groups and a pilot in the fall of 2017. The ministry’s Sexual Violence Reporting Advisory Committee was formed in 2015 and has been providing advice to the ministry related to this survey, and more broadly on measuring and reporting the prevalence of sexual violence at Ontario postsecondary education campuses. There are representatives on the Advisory Committee from: the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, the College Student Alliance, Violence Against Women Researchers, Violence Against Women Community Partners, universities, colleges, the Council of Ontario Universities, Colleges Ontario, Career Colleges Ontario, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, the Ontario Ministry of the Status of Women.

In March of 2016, the government required institutions to have sexual violence policies, and report to the Minister or the Superintendent on the effectiveness of those policies. To support these changes, the ministry developed this survey as one of two reporting mechanisms. The ministry is working on two projects intended to take a survivor-centric approach to data collection: this Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey, and a set of Common Institutional Metrics.

Institutions will analyze the results to enhance their understanding of students’ perceptions of and experiences with sexual violence. The information will be used to assess the effectiveness of institutions’ sexual violence policies and supports in consultation with students. The information will help colleges and universities build awareness of sexual violence issues, improve their sexual violence policies and processes, and improve their services and supports for survivors.