BofG Receives Report On Sexual Violence At College

sexual violence report

Editor’s Note: As mandated by the provincial government, all postsecondary schools must (a) have sexual violence committees, policies and procedures in place (and well publicized), and (b) provide annual reports about incidents and programming associated with those policies.

St. Clair’s annual report on that subject was presented to the college’s Board of Governors during its May meeting.

Given the importance of the subject, we are republishing the report, in its entirety, here – including the graphic (above), which shows the number of incidents handled under the policy during the previous several years. “Incidents”, by the way, run the gamut from verbal harassment to threats to physical assaults.

BACKGROUND

Pursuant to subsection 17(7.1) of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act (MTCU Act), St. Clair College is required to provide an annual report to its Board of Governors for the 2019/2020 academic year on or before June 1st. This annual report must be publicly available and include the following information:

• Number of times supports, services and accommodations relating to sexual violence are requested and obtained by students enrolled at the college or university, and information about supports, services and accommodations.

• Number of incidents and complaints reported by students and about such incidents and complaints.

• Any initiatives and programs established by the college or university to promote awareness of the supports and services available to students.

St. Clair College has a stand-alone policy related to sexual violence entitled “Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy and Procedure.” There is also a webpage designed to specifically communicate supports, initiatives and reporting information so that students can easily access this information. This Policy is established under the Health and Safety umbrella and a Sexual Violence Lead was appointed to ensure a consistent approach.

Since 2017, the College has been tracking the number of sexual violence cases that are reported to Security, the College Resolution Office and the Sexual Violence Lead. Prior to 2019, disclosures to Health Centre staff, Counsellors, Faculty, student representatives or other areas may not have been fully represented if not communicated to any of the three key points of contact. In 2019, the practice was implemented that all disclosures must be reported and included in the subsequent chart.

In all cases, College representatives inform the victim of supports and services, internal and external, as well as, options for investigation.

It is also important to note that sexual assault can include a wide variety of sexual misconduct including inappropriate touching to rape. Therefore, when reporting sexual assaults, one must keep in mind that while all sexual assaults are illegal and prohibited, the severity levels do vary and are not differentiated for the purpose of reporting.

SUPPORTS

All students impacted by sexual violence are eligible for supports. Supports provided include a range of options and include the following at a minimum:

• Counselling – Social Worker on site (CMHA).

• Referral to Sexual Assault Crisis Centre.

• Medical follow-up with College Health Centre.

• Academic Accommodations through Student Services.

• Safety Plans.

• Interim measures (separation, change of course sections, etc.).

• Follow up by Sexual Violence Lead.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION COMMITTEE

The Sexual Violence Prevention (SVP) Committee is comprised of representatives from the following areas:

• Co-Chair, Associate Vice President, Safety, Security and Facilities Management.

• Co-Chair, Director, Student Services.

• One representative from outside the College community with expertise in sexual violence prevention (Sexual Assault Crisis Centre).

• One student representative from the Student Representative Council (SRC).

• One student representative from the Thames Students Incorporated (TSI).

• One student representative from the Student Athletic Association (SAA).

• Four to six students who are not executive members of a student association, including at least one Resident Advisor from each campus Residence.

• Two Academic Counsellors from Student Services - one from Windsor and one from Chatham.

• College Resolution Officer.

• Security Coordinator (third party).

• A management representative from the Residence.

• Director, Athletics.

• Manager, International Relations.

• A representative from Human Resources.

• Manager, Health, Safety and Wellness.

• A Nurse from the Health Centre.

The mandate of this team includes:

• Fostering greater awareness of sexual violence on campus through educational and awareness programs.

• Reviewing and proposing revisions to policy and procedures related to sexual violence and ensuring that the policy and procedures are reviewed annually.

• Remaining up to date on emerging best practices in the area of prevention and support and to make recommendations to the Senior Operations Group for the creation of new programs and/or services when the need arises, or research suggests.

• Ensuring ongoing and appropriate training for faculty, staff and student leaders.

• Developing strategies and introducing initiatives aimed at promoting a culture of respect and ending sexual violence on campus.

• Receiving and reviewing the Annual Reports from the College Resolution Officer related to sexual violence and including the following information:

- The number of times students requested or received services, support or accommodations following an act of sexual violence and details on the services, support or accommodation measures requested or received.

- Initiatives and programs introduced to promote awareness of services and support available to students.

- The number and types of incidents and complaints of sexual violence reported by students. Details of implementation and effectiveness of the Policies and Protocols around Sexual Violence.

The SVP Committee met monthly from August 2019 to March 2020 to review initiatives and suggestions towards ending sexual violence on campus. The following initiatives/ suggestions were implemented or are in the process of implementation:

• Reviewed the results of the Student Survey initiated by the Ministry and provided feedback.

Consent Team – A volunteer consent team was initiated through our partnership with the SRC. This team enhanced communications with students around sexual violence, initiated a poster campaign on consent, ran a “Consent Fair” on campus, developed programming for “Healthy Relationship” week, and brought a speaker on campus to talk about making healthy choices around sexual activity. They also made recommendations for changes to the sexual violence protocol and webpage, specifically around ease of student use and engaged in one on one conversations with students impacted by sexual violence.

• A Safe Walk program was initiated by the SRC to support evening classes at Windsor and Downtown campuses.

• TSI conducted a “What Does Consent Mean?” poster board which was facilitated by TSI and supported by our Counsellors to ensure proper and supportive messaging.

• The Sexual Violence and Sexual Assault Policy and Protocols are under review and recommendations are forthcoming. These recommendations are a result of lessons learned through investigating sexual violence incidents on campus and student and staff feedback from those impacted/involved.

• The webpage was modified to provide easier access to students.

• Counsellors were trained on reporting sexual violence disclosures without breach of confidentiality.

• Training was provided at the All Faculty meeting so that Faculty can direct students appropriately if a disclosure is made.

• Varsity teams and Resident Advisors completed training with the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre specific to their areas and interests.

• A consent video is shown to students at all Orientation sessions.

• Residence conducted several discussion forums and fun activities around healthy relationships and consent.

• Toolbox for Help and Resources to Increase Value and Empower Students (THRIVES) featured online training for new students has a module on Sexual Assault & Sexual Violence which deals with the issue of consent and disclosure of sexual assault, as well as, giving students internal and external resources for helping to deal with an assault.

• A Police Officer was brought in for informal discussions with International students on healthy relationships in Canada.

• Student Health 101 Online Student Newsletter has a self-care plan for survivors of sexual assault and harassment.

• Ongoing work for summer 2020

- Finalize changes to SVP policy and protocols.

- Finalize webpage updates.

- Develop a quick reference guide for students in crisis.

- Consideration to anonymous reporting.

- Engage a legal firm to assist with investigations.

- Updating the Consent Video.