Institutions held accountable for policies with new sexual violence survey

A survey will be conducted by CCI Research on sexual violence within Ontario’s post secondary institutions. The survey will be conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development. Post-secondary students will receive an invitation to the survey in their emails between February and April, allowing for them to improve their institutions’ knowledge on what’s happening on their campuses.

This survey was created as a way of holding institutions accountable for the amendments that were made back in March 2016 to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act and the Private Career Colleges Act to include and require post-secondary institutions to have comprehensive sexual violence policies. Additionally, these institutions will also have to report to the Minister or Superintendent on the effectiveness of these policies.
The survey itself consists of questions on four categories: beliefs and knowledge, education and prevention, institutional support services and experiences.

This survey will be a way to hold institutions accountable, and will allow for policies to be updated with information that will better serve students, like more proactive policies as opposed the predominant retroactive ones.
Additionally, the information provided by students’ experiences will further information on campus sexual violence and assault across Ontario.

“We already know that sexual violence statistics are extremely high. If you have only one or two incidences that are reported then that means such a small percentage of people felt comfortable enough to use that route,” says Samantha MacAndrew, a graduate of Brock University’s Social Justice and Equities Graduate program, currently working in Peterborough. “At the same time, if they don’t want to report that’s more than their right to not have to report if they don’t want to, they don’t have to go through the school system. Maybe they want to go through the police instead. Maybe they don’t want to do anything. Having the options again is really important.”
While statistics of sexual violence and assault on campus are especially important, all students are encouraged to participate even if they have not experienced sexual violence.

This project, which will allow for a confidential look into how sexual violence policies are currently operating, will further the incentive for institutions to do better, especially with sexual violence still being a predominant part of campus culture across Canada.

“Sexual assault unfortunately is something that is very predominant on campuses,” said Lydia Collins, member of the Social Justice Center and Brock Press employee in an interview in September of 2017 when discussing sexual violence policies and prevention at Brock University. “We want to make sure that students are protected and that they know their rights so that we can prevent it from happening and ensure that they have the necessary tools if they’ve unfortunately been through it.”

The survey has already been administered to private career colleges and will be administered to universities between February 26 to March 26. Colleges will have the opportunity to fill out the survey between March 5 to April 6.
The survey will include full-time post-secondary students within colleges and universities and it will not include part-time students due to the size of the project. Participation in the survey is voluntary and one does not need to answer all of the questions in the survey, however there is a gift card provided to those participating if they answer at least 65 per cent of the questions.

For more information on the CCI Research’s Sexual Violence Prevention Survey, or if you haven’t received an email about the survey and would like to participate, please visit their website at info-sv-vs.ca
Results of the survey will be shared with each institution during the summer of 2018.

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