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Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide For Ontario’s Colleges and Universities

January 2013


This guide has been developed by the Ontario Women’s Directorate in collaboration with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, with input from subject matter experts and representatives of the following provincial organizations: Colleges Ontario, Council of Ontario Universities, the Ontario Association of College and University Security Administrators, Canadian Federation of Students - Ontario, the College Student Alliance, the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes, Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres, George Brown College Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate Program, METRAC (the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children), and Springtide Resources.

January 2013

Table of Contents

Message from the minister


Sexual violence is a serious problem in Ontario communities and our campuses are not immune Research shows that between 15 and 25 per cent of college and university-aged women will experience some form of sexual assault during their academic career.

Our government and Ontario’s colleges and universities share a commitment to providing all postsecondary students with a safe and fulfilling learning environment. We do not tolerate sexual violence in our communities We will not tolerate sexual violence on campus.

To that end, we are pleased to present this resource guide to assist universities and colleges in their ongoing efforts to prevent sexual violence on campus.

Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide for Ontario’s Colleges and Universities has its origins in our government’s Sexual Violence Action Plan. In developing the Action Plan, we traveled to communities across Ontario to consult with survivors, front-line service providers, and other experts on key issues related to sexual violence. That Plan, now in its second year, is mobilizing Ontarians to work together to prevent sexual violence.

Universities and colleges have done a lot of good work to make campus safety a top priority. This guide builds on their progress by providing practical tools to make our campuses even safer.

Our goal is an Ontario where everyone on and off campus knows that sexual violence is unacceptable, where victims receive the support they need and where perpetrators are held accountable. This guide offers advice on how to engage the entire campus community – administrators, faculty, staff and students – in achieving that goal.

We would like to thank everyone involved in the development of this guide and look forward to our continued work alongside Ontario’s colleges and universities to make our campuses even safer.

Laurel Broten
Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues

John Milloy
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities


Many Ontarians are not aware of the alarming statistics surrounding sexual violence and its prevalence in the lives of far too many women.Women represent over 93 per cent1 of all sexual assault victims, and female college and university students are particularly vulnerable.North American research suggests that anywhere from 15 to 25 per cent of college and university-aged women will experience some form of sexual assault during their academic career.2

Over the past two decades, Ontario colleges and universities have taken steps to prevent sexual violence by undertaking safety audits and increasing the physical safety of their campuses. Some have developed policies and protocols to prevent and respond to sexual violence. Others have introduced public education campaigns to raise awareness and engage the campus community in prevention efforts.

Formal policies and response protocols can play a critical role in creating an environment where everyone on campus understands that sexual violence is unacceptable, survivors receive the services they need and perpetrators are held accountable. Together with education and awareness activities, formal policies and protocols can make important contributions to increasing campus safety. Effectively responding to sexual violence requires a comprehensive approach that engages all members of the campus community.

The purpose of this resource guide is to assist Ontario’s colleges and universities in their ongoing efforts to prevent sexual violence and to respond effectively when incidents do occur. The guide provides information and resources that can be used by individual institutions to:

  • increase the campus community’s understanding of sexual violence; and
  • develop or enhance existing policies and protocols aimed at preventing and responding to sexual violence.

Ontario’s colleges and universities are at different stages in their work to address sexual violence and have varied resources and strategies for responding to the issue. This guide can help institutions that are just beginning to develop policies and protocols and others that are looking to expand or enhance their efforts.

About the Resource Guide

The development of this guide was informed by a review of current research on sexual violence, an examination of the literature on sexual violence in postsecondary settings and a review of practices across North American campuses.3

Section I provides information about the complexities of sexual violence and considerations for an inclusive policy and protocol. This section presents a definition of sexual violence, discusses commonly held myths and misconceptions, describes the role of alcohol and drugs, examines the experiences of survivors and identifies factors related to disclosing and formally reporting incidents of sexual violence.

Section II provides information to assist Ontario colleges and universities develop formal sexual violence policies and response protocols. It contains suggested content for policy statements and protocols, emphasizes a coordinated approach to responding to sexual violence and describes procedures for responding to incidents. Training, orientation activities and public education to support prevention efforts are also discussed.

Section III contains tools and resources to assist in the development or enhancement of sexual violence policies and protocols. It includes a template for a sexual violence response protocol and policy, and suggested roles for various campus groups in preventing sexual violence and responding to incidents. Section III also contains a glossary of terms, references relevant legislation and identifies resources that can help colleges and universities in their ongoing efforts to respond to the issue of sexual violence.

It is recognized that colleges and universities will consult with their legal counsel and give consideration to the implications of all statutory requirements including those under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) in the development and application of sexual violence policies and protocols.

A Comment on Scope and Terminology

The guide primarily focuses on the student population; however, it recognizes that anyone can experience sexual violence, and that everyone on campus has a role to play in its prevention.

The guide focuses on sexual assault of those who are age 16 and over. It does not address sexual abuse of those under the age of 16 or the unique needs of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.4

The use of the terms “survivor” and “victim” should also be noted Many use the term “survivor” to refer to someone who has experienced sexual violence Others, including the justice system, use the term “victim”. This guide uses both terms, depending on context.

Section I

Understanding Sexual Violence and the Campus Community

Students, like many others, often have a limited understanding of sexual violence, what it is and how to prevent it. College and university years are a time when many students are living away from home for the first time and the influence of peers increases. These are often years when attitudes about equality, diversity and sexuality further develop, and when an understanding of sexual violence can be shaped. Administrators, student leaders, staff and faculty can play important roles in influencing attitudes and behaviours that contribute to campus cultures that reject sexual violence.

Ontario’s colleges and universities are becoming increasingly diverse. Policies and practices that prevent and respond to sexual violence must be relevant to the diversity of the campus population. They should reflect an understanding that individuals experience sexual violence differently, including the risks they face and their access to services.

Violence against Aboriginal women is rooted in systemic discrimination and consequently issues of gender, race and cultural exclusion must be considered. 5.

Each person’s experience will be affected by many factors such as their sex, ancestry, race, ethnicity, culture, language, ability, faith, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Some acts of sexual violence are also acts of racism, ableism, homophobia or transphobia. Some individuals (for example, a racialized woman with a disability) are at higher risk of being targeted for sexual violence because they face multiple prejudices and stereotypes. They may not report an experience of sexual violence for fear of discrimination by those from whom they are seeking help.

These are critical considerations in developing an inclusive strategy that responds to the complex and layered nature of sexual violence on campus. Understanding that individuals face different levels of risk and different challenges in seeking help will contribute to policies and protocols that reflect the diversity of campus communities.

Defining Sexual Violence

Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives: Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan defines sexual violence as any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This includes sexual abuse, sexual assault6, rape, incest, childhood sexual abuse and rape during armed conflict It also includes sexual harassment, stalking, indecent or sexualized exposure, degrading sexual imagery, voyeurism, cyber harassment, trafficking and sexual exploitation. 7

Many people tend to think about sexual violence in narrow terms and focus exclusively on sexual assault However, campus members can be affected by many forms of sexual violence, including sexual harassment, stalking and cyber harassment. Ignoring any act of sexual violence can contribute to a campus culture where violence is perceived to be acceptable. Colleges and universities need to ensure their policies and procedures address sexual assault while acknowledging the evolving nature of sexual violence.

Understanding the Complexities of Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a gender-based crime Although sexual assault affects both men and women, over 93 per cent8 of reported adult victims are female and 97 per cent9 of accused are men.

Sexual assault is not about love, lust or unsatisfied sexual desire Sexual assault involves the use of power, force or control over the victim. In many cases, no overt physical force is used. Instead, the victim may be threatened with words, manipulated or pressured into doing something they do not want to do In other instances, the victim may be incapacitated and unable to provide consent.

Perpetrators may use persistent pressure by consistently asking for sex, claiming “everyone’s doing it”, using emotional blackmail or creating excuses to be alone with the victim.10.

Eighty-two per cent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows - a friend, acquaintance, date, teacher, family member, professor, advisor or coach Sexual assault often occurs in a private place, such as the residence of the victim or perpetrator, but can also take place at public functions such as a party or other social event. It happens in dating, acquaintance, common-law or married relationships. It can happen in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships.

Effective institutional policies and protocols respond to sexual violence perpetrated by both strangers and acquaintances, and to heterosexual and same-sex incidents.


Consent is central to sexual assault. The Criminal Code of Canada defines consent as it relates to sexual assault as the voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. An individual must actively and willingly give consent to sexual activity. Simply stated, sexual activity without consent is sexual assault.


  • Is never assumed or implied
  • Is not silence or the absence of “no”
  • Cannot be given if the victim is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or is unconscious
  • Can never be obtained through threats or coercion
  • Can be revoked at any time
  • Cannot be obtained if the perpetrator abuses a position of trust, power or authority

Consenting to one kind or instance of sexual activity does not mean that consent is given to any other sexual activity or instance. No one consents to being sexually assaulted.

Young people, like many others, often do not fully understand consent and can feel that the line between consensual sexual acts and sexual assault can be unclear. This is particularly true when an acquaintance or friend is the perpetrator. 11 It can be difficult to recognize behaviour as sexual violence in a relationship that is presumed to be based on mutual care and trust. Similarly, a student may question whether a friend who “hooked up” with someone was actually sexually assaulted. Some students also believe that consent is implied unless a clear “no” is given

A sexual violence policy should communicate in concrete terms the role and meaning of consent, and how to know when it has been given or refused.

Myths and Misconceptions

Social norms are one of the most powerful influences shaping attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. They shape our intuitive understanding of what is acceptable and what is not. Our social norms contribute to, and are reinforced by, a general misunderstanding of sexual violence.

Misconceptions about sexual assault are often referred to as “rape myths” although they apply to the broad scope of sexual violence. These myths downplay the seriousness of sexual violence and confuse our understanding of consent. They contribute to a social context in which survivors are reluctant to report, blame themselves for what happened and worry that they won’t be believed. They create a climate of victim blaming in which perpetrators are excused for their actions.

Rape myths have been deeply embedded in societal beliefs about the role that women play in sexual assault. These myths and misconceptions have evolved to reflect broader changes in society. They now also affect our perceptions about men who are victims of sexual violence and are applied to other forms of sexual violence, such as sexual harassment and cyber harassment.

Perhaps the most harmful of these myths are those that focus on victims and their perceived “role” in the assault. For example, focusing on what a woman was wearing or emphasizing that she was drinking or flirting suggests that she was at least partly to blame for the assault. Other myths wrongly portray certain groups as being more sexually provocative because of their race, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Myths are pervasive and influence how sexual violence is understood by victims, perpetrators, their families and friends, service providers and the broader public. Rape myths are reinforced through the media and are embedded in advertisements, television shows, movies, video games and the internet.12.

Some myths excuse the actions of the perpetrator. Many believe that a man has the right to sex if he buys a woman a drink, takes her to dinner, helps her with an assignment, or if a couple is dating, living together or married.

Other myths may cause people to question whether a sexual assault actually took place. Even a close friend may have doubts if the victim does not appear to be upset, has no obvious injuries, or knows the perpetrator.

Rape myths can also prevent people from stepping in when they witness behaviours that could lead to a sexual assault. For example, a friend may observe a roommate pressuring someone to have sex and do nothing to intervene.

The chart on the following page highlights many of the most commonly-held rape myths.

Training, student orientation activities and public education can help dispel these myths and build campus environments that recognize the realities of sexual violence. Campus leaders, including students, administrators, faculty and staff, can reinforce these efforts by modelling appropriate behaviours, speaking out when they hear individuals supporting rape myths, and intervening when they witness behaviour that promotes sexual violence.

The Role of Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol and drugs can be one of the most significant risk factors for sexual violence on college and university campuses. While not a cause, there is a strong relationship between sexual violence and the use of alcohol or drugs. In fact, over half of sexual assaults of postsecondary students involve alcohol or drugs.13

The use of alcohol or other drugs to intentionally incapacitate or sedate another person for the purpose of sexual assault is referred to as “drug-facilitated sexual assault”.

Alcohol is by far the most prevalent drug involved in drug-facilitated sexual assault. Alcohol is sometimes used in a deliberate strategy to impair the victim’s ability to provide consent. A perpetrator may use alcohol (in some cases mixed with other drugs) to intentionally incapacitate a victim. In other instances, a perpetrator might target a woman who is already visibly intoxicated.

A variety of other drugs may also be used to perpetrate sexual assault. Some are obtained by prescription, such as antidepressants and tranquilizers, while others, like motion sickness drugs, are available over-the-counter. Perpetrators may also use illegal drugs including marijuana, crack, cocaine and ecstasy. “Date rape drugs” such as Rohypnol have been found to be used very rarely.14

A victim who has been drugged may lose consciousness and suffer memory loss. Survivors are left confused and may not seek help. As a result, the short window to conduct evidence-related drug testing may pass.

Peers have significant influence on attitudes towards sex, sexuality and sexual violence. Research indicates that college students overestimate the level of sexual activity among their peers and that many overestimate their peers’ support for rape myths and rape-supportive behaviour.15

When alcohol and drugs are used to facilitate sexual assault, our perceptions about who is responsible can be influenced by myths and misconceptions. Victims are often perceived by others to be at least somewhat responsible for what happened to them. Many victims also internalize rape myths and blame themselves. The actions of an intoxicated perpetrator are often excused.

Raising awareness of the role of alcohol in sexual assault should be a key element of prevention efforts on campus. Education and training should debunk myths and help people recognize situations that could lead to drug- and alcohol-facilitated sexual assaults. Residence staff as well as owners and staff of local bars and restaurants can play important roles in these efforts.

Figure 1: Dispelling The Myths About Sexual Assault
Myth Fact
Sexual assault can’t happen to me or anyone I know. Sexual assault can and does happen to anyone. People of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are victims of sexual assault. Young women, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities are at greater risk of experiencing sexual assault.
Sexual assault is most often committed by strangers. Someone known to the victim, including acquaintances, dating partners, and common-law or married partners, commit approximately 82 per cent of sexual assaults.16
Sexual assault is most likely to happen outside in dark, dangerous places. The majority of sexual assaults happen in private spaces like a residence or private home.
If a woman doesn’t report to the police, it wasn’t sexual assault. Just because a victim doesn’t report the assault doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Fewer than one in ten victims report the crime to the police.17
It’s not a big deal to have sex with a woman while she is drunk, stoned or passed out. If a woman is unconscious or incapable of consenting due to the use of alcohol or drugs, she cannot legally give consent. Without consent, it is sexual assault.
If a woman didn’t scream or fight back, it probably wasn’t sexual assault. . When a woman is sexually assaulted she may become paralyzed with fear and be unable to fight back. She may be fearful that if she struggles, the perpetrator will become more violent. If she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, she may be incapacitated or unable to resist.
If a woman isn’t crying or visibly upset, it probably wasn’t a serious sexual assault. Every woman responds to the trauma of sexual assault differently. She may cry or she may be calm. She may be silent or very angry. Her behaviour is not an indicator of her experience. It is important not to judge a woman by how she responds to the assault.
If a woman does not have obvious physical injuries, like cuts or bruises, she probably was not sexually assaulted. Lack of physical injury does not mean that a woman wasn’t sexually assaulted. An offender may use threats, weapons, or other coercive actions that do not leave physical marks. She may have been unconscious or been otherwise incapacitated.
If it really happened, the woman would be able to easily recount all the facts in the proper order. Shock, fear, embarrassment and distress can all impair memory. Many survivors attempt to minimize or forget the details of the assault as a way of coping with trauma. Memory loss is common when alcohol and/or drugs are involved.
Women lie and make up stories about being sexually assaulted. The number of false reports for sexual assault is very low, consistent with the number of false reports for other crimes in Canada. Sexual assault carries such a stigma that many women prefer not to report.
It wasn’t rape, so it wasn’t sexual violence. Any unwanted sexual contact is considered to be sexual violence. A survivor can be severely affected by all forms of sexual violence, including unwanted fondling, rubbing, kissing, or other sexual acts. Many forms of sexual violence involve no physical contact, such as stalking or distributing intimate visual recordings. All of these acts are serious and can be damaging.
Women with disabilities don’t get sexually assaulted. Women with disabilities are at a high risk of experiencing sexual violence or assault. Those who live with activity limitations are over two times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than those who are able-bodied.18
Husbands cannot sexually assault their wives. Sexual assault can occur in a married or other intimate partner relationship.

Effect of Sexual Violence on Survivors

Sexual violence is a traumatic experience that can have significant and long lasting physical, emotional, psychological and academic consequences for students. Understanding the experiences and needs of victims can contribute to the development of informed policies and protocols.

Sexual assault can result in physical injuries as well as unwanted pregnancies, reproductive problems and sexually transmitted infections. Acute injuries are not always immediately evident and chronic health conditions may emerge over time.

The trauma of an assault can lead to chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Survivors may feel guilty or blame themselves for what happened. Shock, fear and embarrassment can all impair memory. Many survivors have difficulty concentrating or sleeping and may lose interest in activities that they formerly enjoyed. Others may struggle with intimacy or withdraw from their social networks. Some survivors may try to cope through substance use. Others try to minimize or forget the assault as a way of coping with the trauma.

The consequences of sexual assault can negatively affect a student’s academic career. The student may be unable to separate the experience of the sexual assault from the campus environment itself. An inability to avoid the perpetrator on campus can be especially distressing. Fears associated with common areas such as libraries and residences can affect academic performance. Difficulties concentrating may lead to lower or failing grades. As a result, students may be placed on academic probation. In other cases, they may choose to suspend their studies, transfer to another institution, or drop out all together. Smaller, contained campuses where “everybody knows everybody” may present additional challenges affecting a student’s ability to remain enrolled.

Victims who experience a violent sexual assault committed by a stranger are more likely to disclose to formal and informal supports. The existence of physical evidence, or the fact that the perpetrator was a stranger, makes the assault more “believable” in the eyes of the victim and others.19

Victims of cyber harassment, sexual harassment and stalking also experience emotional and psychological trauma. Sexual violence perpetrated through technology, such as harassing text messages, sharing or threatening to share intimate photographs, audio or video recordings, can publicly humiliate a victim. The psychological and emotional consequences of an assault can be compounded when social media is used to harass or discredit a victim.

Every survivor reacts differently to their experience of sexual violence. On-campus services should have the capacity to meet the needs of individual survivors and confidentially advocate for academic, housing and other accommodations. Teaching assistants, instructors and professors need to know how sexual violence can affect student performance. Training can help staff and others recognize and support a student who may have been victimized.

Disclosure and Formal Reporting

The vast majority of survivors do not formally report to authorities and many do not even disclose to someone they trust. A campus environment in which individuals feel comfortable coming forward helps ensure they receive the assistance they need and supports the institution in its efforts to identify and deal with perpetrators.

Survivors may be reluctant to report for fear that they will have to retell their experience a number of times to a number of different people. Retelling is essentially re-living the experience, which can cause survivors to feel re-traumatized.20

There are many reasons why students may be reluctant to disclose or formally report. Some are not clear about the types of behaviours that constitute sexual violence. Survivors may feel that something has taken place that “is not right” but not understand that they have been sexually assaulted. This can be particularly true when the perpetrator is a friend, a partner or an acquaintance.

Some survivors need more time to process what happened. They may need time to accept that they were a victim of sexual violence, to think about what it would be like to tell someone and how they would do this. They need to feel emotionally ready to deal with the incident.

Fear and apprehension about the reactions of others can be significant barriers to disclosing or reporting. This can include:

  • Concerns about being believed or blamed
  • Feeling ashamed and guilty for what happened
  • Fear of institutional sanctions or a police investigation where underage drinking or the use of illegal drugs was involved
  • Fear of reprisal by the perpetrator or his friends
  • Peer pressure to not report, especially if the perpetrator has significant status on campus. .

Concerns about the formal reporting process can also discourage people from coming forward. Survivors may be worried about confidentiality and believe that reporting to authorities will open up their personal lives to public judgment and scrutiny. Some may feel a sense of vulnerability when thinking about the possible physical examinations and questions they may face.

Others may be anxious that by reporting they will “lose control” of what happens to them. Survivors may believe that they will be forced to press charges or take other actions dictated by the institution or the police and courts. They may be concerned that their parent(s) will be notified and that they will be pulled out of school or have their living arrangements changed. Some survivors may not report because they believe that nothing will happen to the perpetrator.

Research has shown that the process of disclosure is not linear or predictable.

Survivors disclose on their own time. For some this can be right after the incident. For others it may be weeks or months later. For many, the process is incremental. They may partially disclose, accidentally disclose, recant and then reaffirm.21

Cultural beliefs and values can also influence an individual’s decision to tell someone or formally report. Survivors may fear that contacting services will result in other community members learning about the assault. They may believe that a disclosure could result in being ostracized by family or friends.

Some people do not come forward because of previous experiences of racism, ableism, homophobia or transphobia. They may anticipate facing stereotypes and discrimination. Some may worry that personal information they wish to keep private, such as sexual orientation, will be revealed if they report or disclose. Others may not come forward because of a lack of access to, or awareness of, available services, especially those that are culturally sensitive. Male victims may not be aware of appropriate supports or may be reluctant to access them.

When students do choose to disclose, the first person they tell will likely be someone they trust such as a friend, family member, roommate, classmate, coach, staff or faculty member. The nature of that response can have a significant effect on the victim’s well-being and decisions about next steps.

Institutional policies and protocols can play a valuable role in creating campus environments where survivors feel safe coming forward and get the help they need.

Section II

Developing a Campus Response to Sexual Violence

A campus culture that fosters a shared responsibility for taking action on sexual violence contributes to an environment where students can pursue fulfilling academic studies and social lives. Promoting this shared sense of responsibility requires a commitment from administration, staff, faculty and student leaders, and the participation of the entire campus community.

There are many ways an institution can develop a response to sexual violence. Promising practices across North American campuses point to a transparent and inclusive approach that engages diverse opinions and interests in the discussion. Reaching out to the campus community in its entirety brings legitimacy and support. Commitment at the highest levels of the institution moves policy to practice and encourages new attitudes and standards of behaviour within the campus culture.

Formal policies and response protocols can play a critical role in creating an environment where everyone on campus knows that sexual violence is unacceptable, victims receive the services they need, and perpetrators are held accountable. Policies and protocols are particularly beneficial when combined with public education and prevention initiatives as well as ongoing improvements to the physical safety of the campus.

This section describes activities that can be undertaken by individual universities and colleges to develop or enhance their response to sexual violence, including:

  • Communicate a commitment to take action on sexual violence
  • Identify a sexual violence response team
  • Assess current policies and procedures
  • Develop or enhance a sexual violence policy and response protocol
  • Provide training and student orientation and engage in public education and prevention activities
  • Monitor and evaluate policies, protocols and practices.

Section III contains tools and resources to assist institutions in implementing these activities. These can be of assistance to institutions that are beginning to address the issue of sexual violence and others that are looking to enhance their response.

Communicate a Commitment to Action

A public commitment demonstrates leadership and acts as a catalyst to engage the entire campus community in taking action.

A statement by the President or Executive Head announcing that a sexual violence policy and protocol will be developed affirms this commitment. This statement can also include the identification of a project champion and team that will develop the policy and protocol and describe how students and others can become involved. Progress reports can be posted on the institution’s website.

A public commitment is critical to mobilizing the campus community. Student leaders, faculty and staff can help strengthen this commitment through their ongoing support.

A public commitment may result in individual disclosures of sexual violence and the need to support those who come forward. The name(s) and contact information of relevant services should be easily accessible on a project website.

Identify a Sexual Violence Response Team

There are various ways in which an institution may wish to structure its response to sexual violence. A sexual violence response team brings together the range of skills, expertise and experience needed to lead the institution’s efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence. The team approach effectively engages the campus community in all its diversity to develop policies and protocols that are relevant and accessible. It provides victims access to the range of services they may need and brings together service providers to work in a coordinated manner.

The team can fulfill two important responsibilities, specifically:

  1. The development or enhancement of a policy and response protocol. This includes:
    • Assessing current policies and procedures to determine the institution’s capacity to respond to sexual violence
    • Leading the development of a sexual violence policy and response protocol
    • Developing a plan for training campus members
    • Recommending evidence-based public education campaigns.
  2. The coordination of responses to individual incidents of sexual violence. This includes:
    • Coordinating timely, sensitive and appropriate responses
    • Helping survivors develop safety plans
    • Outlining options and referring survivors to longer term on-campus and community services
    • Advocating and facilitating academic and residence accommodations
    • Managing perpetrators and supporting interim disciplinary proceedings or police investigations
    • Taking steps, as appropriate, to ensure the safety of the campus community.

The size and composition of the team can be determined by each institution, in consideration of its particular needs and resources. Core team members should have experience working with survivors and/or knowledge of sexual violence. They can be drawn from areas such as student services, including student counselling and campus health; security; housing/residence life; peer supports; student organizations; diversity/equity offices; the registrar’s office; and faculties such as social work, psychology, and women’s and gender studies. A member of the team should be designated to coordinate the team’s activities and report to the institution’s responsible executive lead.

Team members can also be employees from other areas of the institution such as legal and human resources staff, or volunteers from the student population. Student leaders or representatives of student associations are an important link to the concerns of the broader student population.

Community services can provide expertise and resources to respond to the complex needs of survivors and offer advice on policies and response protocols. These organizations can also help develop and deliver training and public education on sexual violence. Community partners should include:

  • Local sexual assault centres
  • Hospital based sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centres
  • Local police forces
  • Violence against women prevention, education and support agencies
  • Local victim services agencies
  • Organizations that specialize in serving or representing specific communities of students (for example, those serving Francophone, Aboriginal, ethno-cultural, LGBTT2SIQQ communities, and people with disabilities).

Other community services that support survivors include community health services, mental health agencies, drug and alcohol treatment services, distress lines, counselling agencies, HIV/AIDS services, and legal aid services.

Assess Current Policies, Protocols and Practices

An assessment of existing policies, protocols and practices can help identify the institution’s current capacity to respond to sexual violence and provide a basis for moving forward.

The assessment should include, but not be limited to, a review of:

  • such as violence in general, harassment (including sexual harassment and cyber harassment), drugs and alcohol, equity, diversity and human rights
  • Other policies, measures or procedures required under relevant legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
  • Protocols for responding to incidents of sexual violence, domestic violence and dating violence including procedures for dealing with perpetrators where criminal charges have not been laid
  • Information and data currently collected on incidents of sexual violence
  • The safety of the physical environment (for example, lighting, grounds, sightlines, signage, security cameras) and procedures for ongoing monitoring and improvement
  • The availability and accessibility of both on- and off-campus resources and services
  • Public education and awareness activities, training programs (including academic courses) and student orientation activities that focus on sexual violence and related topics.

This assessment will help determine the extent to which current policies and practices support or conflict with the goals of a sexual violence policy and protocol. For example, sanctions against drug and alcohol use may deter victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault from reporting. It may be necessary to revise or enhance existing policies as a result of the assessment

The institution may wish to conduct a more comprehensive assessment that also collects information on:

  • The level of awareness, interest and understanding of sexual violence
  • Activities within the campus community that may inadvertently contribute to sexual violence
  • The campus climate and how safe people feel on campus
  • The accessibility and inclusiveness of campus services to the diversity of the campus population.

This review could be undertaken through internet-based surveys and/or focus groups. The confidentiality and anonymity of participants should be safeguarded throughout this process. Supports for survivors in the event of a disclosure are important when collecting information, as are considerations to ensure the assessment process is accessible and inclusive.

Some institutions may find it beneficial to have an independent third party conduct the assessment. A third party can provide both expertise and objectivity which, in turn, can promote confidence in the integrity of the process.

Student union representatives should be actively engaged in the assessment process so that the experiences and perspectives of students are fully considered.

Develop a Sexual Violence Policy

A sexual violence policy is the institution’s formal expression that sexual violence will not be tolerated, victims will be supported and perpetrators will be held accountable. The sexual violence policy sets expectations for behaviour and communicates the institution’s standards to everyone on campus. It also serves to raise awareness of sexual violence in the context of the campus community.

Developing a statement of survivors’ rights and incorporating sexual violence into an existing Student Code of Conduct can also be considered.

A template for a sexual violence policy is included in Section III (please see page 26).

Policy Statement

A formal policy statement, which could be issued by the President or Executive Head of the institution, sets the tone for the campus community by sending a message that sexual violence is unacceptable. It can also state that:

  • Survivors will be believed and respected as the final decision-makers about their own best interests
  • Individuals who have committed an act of sexual violence will be held accountable by the institution, and face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion
  • There is a formal procedure for responding to incidents of sexual violence
  • The institution will engage in public education and prevention activities
  • The statement applies to everyone who lives, works or studies on campus.

Discussion of Sexual Violence

The sexual violence policy also provides an opportunity to communicate the complexities of sexual violence and how it affects individual lives and the campus community. It defines sexual violence, discusses consent and the role of alcohol and drugs and examines rape myths and issues with respect to disclosures and reporting. The information presented in Section I of this guide can serve as a resource.

References to other relevant policies (for example, the institution’s alcohol policy) and legislation (for example, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Criminal Code of Canada) can also be included.

Statement of Survivors’ Rights

A statement of survivors’ rights acknowledges that the survivor is at the centre of the institution’s policy and protocol. It can help create and reinforce an environment in which survivors feel comfortable coming forward. Survivors have the right to:

  • Be believed
  • Be treated with sensitivity and compassion
  • Be treated with dignity and respect
  • Be informed about on- and off-campus services and resources
  • Decide whether or not to access available services and to choose those services they feel will be most beneficial
  • Decide whether to report to campus security and/or local police
  • An on-campus investigation with the institution’s full cooperation
  • A safety plan
  • Have reasonable and necessary actions taken to prevent further unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator(s).

Student Code of Conduct

Some colleges and universities have a Student Code of Conduct that stipulates the standard of behaviour expected of students. Codes of Conduct typically include sanctions that will be imposed for transgressions (up to and including expulsion) and outline disciplinary procedures. For those institutions that have a Code of Conduct, incorporating a statement prohibiting sexual violence sends a strong message that sexual violence is unacceptable. For example:

“No person shall commit an act of sexual violence against any other person or threaten another person with sexual violence. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or video without consent, cyber harassment and cyber stalking.”

Develop a Sexual Violence Response Protocol

A clear and transparent protocol outlines the institution’s formal procedure for responding to incidents of sexual violence. It clarifies responsibilities so that individuals across campus groups see themselves as having an active role in the institution’s response to sexual violence. The protocol also helps survivors, and their advocates, understand their options should they choose to disclose or report an incident.

Some people react negatively to a survivor’s disclosure. These reactions can leave the survivor feeling hurt or isolated. Negative reactions include:

  • avoiding the survivor or treating them differently than before
  • discouraging them from talking about the incident
  • taking control – making decisions for them
  • blaming them for what happened
  • over-reacting and not allowing the survivor to express their own feelings.22

Response to a Disclosure

A victim may choose to confide in anyone about an act of sexual violence – a student, professor, instructor, teaching assistant, coach, or staff from housing, health, counselling, housekeeping or security. Everyone on campus should have access to basic information on how to provide a compassionate and reassuring response. A supportive response involves:

  • Listening without judgement and accepting the disclosure as true
  • Communicating that sexual violence is never the responsibility of the victim
  • Helping the survivor identify and/or access available on- or off-campus services, including emergency medical care
  • Respecting the survivor’s right to choose the services they feel are most appropriate and to decide whether to report to police or security
  • Recognizing that disclosing can be traumatic and a survivor’s ability to recall the events may be limited
  • Respecting the survivor’s choices as to what and how much they disclose about their experience
  • Making every effort to respect confidentiality and anonymity.

The protocol should outline how a ‘first responder’ can contact a member of the sexual violence response team for support and guidance and provide information about campus and community services. Individuals should not go beyond their comfort level or expertise when responding to a disclosure. It is important to be supportive while also referring survivors to the right person who can provide the help they need.

First responders should be made aware that receiving a disclosure can, itself, be traumatic and that supports are available to help them cope. Opportunities for debriefing and self-care after receiving a disclosure can be facilitated through the sexual violence response team.

The team can support the campus community by maintaining and distributing a list of on- and off-campus services, including contact information as well as a description of services offered. The list should highlight services available on a 24/7 basis including the local sexual assault crisis line and, where available, the hospital-based sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centre. The list may be particularly useful for survivors who choose not to disclose or report the incident. A template is provided in Section III (please see page 27).

Response by a Member of the Sexual Violence Response Team

Victims may disclose an incident of sexual violence at any time. This disclosure may come right after the incident or days, weeks or even months later. The team will need to be prepared to respond to both immediate and delayed disclosures and to incidents perpetrated by acquaintances or strangers.

The first task for the team member is to ensure that the victim is safe and receives necessary medical attention and crisis support. In cases of a recent assault, the survivor should be informed that medical evidence must be collected within 72 hours after a sexual assault. If a victim is unsure of involving the police, evidence can be collected and stored at a sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centre for up to six months. Victims should be informed that there is a short time frame within which to conduct drug testing in the case of a suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Primary functions for the team also include:

  • Helping the victim decide whether to formally report the incident. This should include an explanation of the criminal justice system proceedings or the institution’s disciplinary process
  • Helping the victim develop a safety plan
  • Providing referrals to counselling, peer groups and other campus and community services
  • Supporting a requested change in residence or campus housing
  • Facilitating academic considerations, such as extensions on assignments, a request to drop a class or continue studies from home.

If requested, the team member may also assist the survivor in contacting family members or friends.

Safeguarding the confidentiality of the survivor is critical throughout this process. Referrals to services or requests for accommodations should not be dependent on survivors disclosing the details of the incident.

Roles and Responsibilities of Campus Members

While everyone on campus has a role to play in responding to incidents of sexual violence, some will have more defined roles:

  • On-campus counsellors to provide psychological and emotional support, assist with safety planning and make referrals to other services
  • On-campus health clinic staff to provide, or refer to, medical treatment
  • Course instructors and professors to facilitate appropriate academic considerations, such as extensions on assignments or supporting a request to continue studies from home
  • Advisors in the registrar’s office to help facilitate academic accommodations, such as dropping courses, and other academic needs of the survivor
  • Residence staff to organize a requested change in living arrangements
  • Student operated sexual violence services to provide peer supports.

Suggested roles and responsibilities for staff and other campus groups are discussed further in Section III (please see page 24).

Security Response

Each institution has its own security procedures for responding to violence on campus. These procedures may differ depending on whether campus security has special constable status.

The security department/campus police may:

  • Conduct internal investigations to gather evidence and present findings to the appropriate adjudication body. In some circumstances, the investigation can only be pursued by a bona fide police service
  • Follow or implement measures to manage the alleged perpetrator while an investigation is taking place. This may be done with the guidance of the local police service
  • Put in place measures to protect the victim, where possible, from the alleged perpetrator (for example, ‘no contact orders’)
  • Cooperate with local police in their investigations.

A campus culture that fosters a shared responsibility for preventing sexual violence may help increase the institution’s ability to hold perpetrators accountable.

In Canada, fewer than 10% of sexual assaults are reported to police.23Even fewer come before the courts. Less than 4 in 10 cases of sexual assault and sexual offences that come before the courts result in a conviction.24

Depending on the circumstances of the particular incident, security may also issue a campus safety alert. Alerts should be issued immediately so that community members can make informed decisions and take action with respect to their safety. A swift campus response also sends a clear message to the perpetrator that he will not be able to take advantage of a delayed response at the potential expense of more victims. Issuing alerts through multiple communications vehicles in accessible formats will help reach the broad campus populations.

Campus alerts should provide sufficient information to safeguard the campus while respecting the confidentiality and anonymity of the victim. They should be screened to ensure there is no suggestion of victim blaming. A template for a campus alert is included in Section III (please see page 28).

Outlining these procedures will help clarify the process of investigations for survivors and those who receive a disclosure. Many students, and others on campus, rarely come into contact with security personnel or the campus police. Consequently, they are unaware of measures that are implemented in response to a crime or other forms of misconduct on campus. Including the security response in the protocol will help victims, first responders and others understand the processes that will be, or could be, implemented should they report an incident to security. This transparency will help survivors make informed decisions about reporting.

Training and Student Orientation

Training and orientation provide an opportunity to bring the issue of sexual violence into the open and get people talking about it. Complementing training with public education fosters a shared responsibility for responding to and preventing sexual violence.

Training should include common content and be tailored to address the needs of various campus groups. For some, activities to raise awareness of sexual violence and the institution’s policies and protocols may suffice. Others may require more specialized and ongoing training to promote competencies and skills development. The design and delivery of training will be at the discretion of the individual institution in consideration of its resources and current training and professional development practices.

Effective training is led by those with expertise in sexual violence and adult education. This expertise can be drawn from a variety of areas including student groups and leaders, faculty members and instructors, researchers, staff members and community agencies.

Training for Staff, Administration, Faculty and Student Leaders

Staff, administrators, faculty and student leaders can all play important roles in encouraging discussion about sexual violence and speaking out against negative attitudes that promote rape myths.

The training should aim to:

  • Dispel myths, foster an understanding of the complexities of sexual violence and explain why victims do not report
  • Provide a basic level of understanding about victim impacts and how to respond to a disclosure
  • Communicate expectations about modelling appropriate behaviour and how to speak out against behaviours that may perpetuate sexual violence
  • Inform participants of the institution’s policies and protocols.

Consideration can be given to a variety of opportunities to deliver the training, including professional development and in-service sessions, ‘lunch and learns’ and web-based modules. Seminars and discussion groups are effective ways for reaching student leaders, residence life staff, student associations/clubs and other influential student groups. A “train-the-trainer” approach, in which individuals with expertise in sexual violence and adult education are trained to deliver the training, can be an efficient approach. On-campus trainers can be drawn from counselling services, diversity/equity offices, student groups, faculty and researchers, health, housing, campus security, and others.

Training for the Sexual Violence Response Team

Regular training and professional development helps build knowledge and expertise to respond to sexual violence on campus.

Training for team members should cover:

  • Best practices for supporting survivors and responding to incidents
  • Emerging issues in sexual violence
  • Innovations in sexual violence prevention
  • Promising practices in the development of sexual violence policies and protocols

Training can facilitate knowledge-sharing among team members and between the team and community services. Involving students in delivering training offers the opportunity to discuss campus-specific issues and student concerns about the effects of sexual violence on the campus. Creating opportunities for sharing information between institutions will further build team expertise.

Student Orientation

Student orientation provides an ideal opportunity to communicate the institution’s sexual violence policies and protocols and outline acceptable behaviour on campus. Student orientation can also support sexual violence public education and awareness initiatives.

There are many ways for trained student leaders to reach out to new students during orientation. Examples include:

  • Holding small group discussions that provide a forum to discuss issues related to sexual violence
  • Staging a play about sexual violence
  • Including sexual assault as a part of alcohol awareness activities
  • Drawing attention to the issue by giving away free items, such as pens, fridge magnets, stress balls, and Frisbees, with crisis numbers and facts about sexual violence
  • Organizing for future community events, such as “Take Back the Night,” performances of the Vagina Monologues, anti-violence weeks, the White Ribbon Campaign, or a “Draw the Line” day.

Public Education and Engagement Activities

Public education can increase awareness and understanding of sexual violence and promote behavioural change. Over time, public education may also contribute to changes in attitudes that perpetuate sexual violence. Effective public education fosters change at a number of levels: social norms, community attitudes, organizational practices and behaviours of bystanders and potential perpetrators.

Some Ontario colleges and universities have begun to introduce “bystander campaigns” that empower men and women to take individual and collective responsibility for preventing sexual violence. These campaigns address fears or hesitation about getting involved. They teach people the skills they need to recognize and intervene when they witness behaviours that may lead to sexual violence. In bystander training, role models demonstrate interventions and participants practice skills to safely intervene.

Effective sexual violence prevention actively engages men and boys as allies, leaders and mentors. They play a critical role in reducing and preventing sexual violence by influencing the attitudes and behaviours of other men.25

Launched in 2012, Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF) and the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC) developed an Ontario-wide, bilingual public education campaign. The “Draw the Line/Traçons les Limites” campaign aims to raise awareness of sexual assault and the role bystanders can play in prevention.

A number of institutions have augmented bystander programs with social marketing campaigns and community engagement activities. Social marketing campaigns in Canada have been implemented to communicate messages about consent, the role of peers, and the role of men in ending sexual violence. Some institutions combine alcohol awareness campaigns with those on sexual assault.

Community engagement activities can reinforce the messaging of public education campaigns and help build community norms that promote positive behaviours. Examples include:

  • Coalition building among students, staff, faculty, administration, and community leaders to raise awareness and prevent sexual violence (for example, through events such as “Take Back the Night”)
  • Engaging men in awareness raising and prevention efforts
  • Guerrilla marketing activities. These are often low-budget, interactive activities that engage people in unexpected places. Guerrilla marketing creatively promotes thought-provoking concepts with the goal of generating buzz within the community. An example would be having a flash mob on campus
  • Using social media such as sending out tweets about sexual violence statistics and public education messages or creating a Facebook group that discusses healthy sexuality and relationships.

Some universities and colleges have incorporated discussions about sexual violence into the curricula of disciplines such as psychology, social work and women’s studies. Promoting an awareness of sexual violence in other disciplines, such as engineering, trades and technology, could be done by including it as a topic in workshops and discussions about the workplace.

Consideration should be given to evaluation results and best practices when selecting public education campaigns. The 2011 report, “Key Best Practices for Effective Sexual Violence Public Education Campaigns: A Summary” by Lori Haskell (Ph.D), identifies a number of best practices for the development and delivery of sexual violence public education campaigns.

Monitoring and Evaluation

A systematic approach to monitoring and evaluation can help ensure that policies, protocols and practices are up-to-date and responsive to evolving campus needs.

Mobile apps can help people connect with friends and emergency services when they feel unsafe on campus.

Regular safety audits identify, and mitigate, potential campus safety risks. Physical audits focus on the grounds and buildings by assessing elements such as lighting, sight lines and accessibility for people with disabilities. Safety features are examined to ensure they work properly, reflect current best practices and take advantage of up-to-date and accessible technology. Audits can also be used to assess the campus climate by examining attitudes and concerns about sexual violence on campus.

Safety audits can be supplemented by periodic evaluations of the institution’s sexual violence policy and response protocol and associated training and public education activities. Surveys, focus groups and interviews can be used to assess the influence of these activities on the campus community’s attitudes towards sexual violence and in meeting the needs of diverse campus populations.

Collecting campus-specific data can help track the rates and types of sexual violence incidents, including those that involve drugs and alcohol. This data will be useful in planning and evaluating campus sexual violence initiatives, including policies and protocols, training and public education.

Section III

Resources to Support a Campus Response to Sexual Violence

This section contains tools, templates and resources to support colleges and universities in their ongoing efforts to respond to sexual violence on campuses:

  • Sample Statement of Roles and Responsibilities for Campus Groups
  • Template for Sexual Violence Policies and Protocols
  • Template for Local Services Listing
  • Template and Sample Campus Safety Alerts
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Relevant Legislation
    • Criminal Code
    • Occupational Health and Safety Act
    • Human Rights Code
    • Child and Family Services Act
  • Provincial Services and Service Associations
  • Examples of Public Education Campaigns
  • Resource Guides and Best Practices for Developing Policies and Protocols
  • General Sexual Violence Resources and Materials.

Sample Statement of Roles and Responsibilities for Campus Groups

Everyone in the university or college community has a role to play in preventing and responding to sexual violence. There are common responsibilities that are shared by all, and unique roles for specific campus groups. The following exhibit provides examples of these roles.

Common Roles
  • Model positive behaviours and attitudes by:
    • Demonstrating respectful behaviour in personal relationships
    • Valuing diversity
    • Resolving conflicts in constructive and non-violent ways
    • Speaking out against negative attitudes and intervening when comments are made that promote rape myths, sexual violence, and discrimination
  • Have open discussions with peers about sexual violence on campus
  • Respond in a sympathetic, non-judgemental and supportive way when a sexual assault or other act of sexual violence is disclosed
  • Be a supportive listener when survivors wish to discuss their experiences
  • Respect survivors’ privacy and how much information they choose to disclose
  • Promote confidentiality of the survivor and the accused and discourage rumours and allegations
  • Be aware of the response protocol and how to contact the sexual violence response team
  • Willingly participate in investigations
  • Participate in training and public education initiatives on sexual violence
Unique Responsibilities
Senior Administrators (e.g. President/Executive Head, Vice President, Chancellor, Provost, Vice Provost, Deans.)
  • Play a leadership role in raising awareness about sexual violence
  • Endorse a formal sexual violence policy
  • Initiate and support the development of a sexual violence response protocol
  • Allocate resources for training campus members on the policy and protocol
Faculty and Teaching Staff (e.g. professors, instructors, lecturers, researchers, teaching assistants.)
  • Provide survivors with appropriate academic considerations, such as extensions on assignments or supporting a request to drop a class or continue studies from home
  • Make students aware of opportunities to attend campus-wide training, lectures, workshops or events relating to sexual violence
  • Recognize that many campus members have authority over students, and it is necessary to maintain appropriate relationships
  • Look for opportunities to include sexual violence in teaching materials, curriculum, and course content
Residence Staff and Campus Housing
  • When the victim and perpetrator live in the same residence, organize a change in living arrangements, preferably of the perpetrator, so the victim can maintain peer support
  • Encourage students living in residences to organize and participate in sexual violence awareness activities
  • Be aware of any changes in behaviour by individual students
Campus Health
  • Create an atmosphere where victims feel comfortable disclosing and seeking help
  • Follow established medical procedures for responding to students who have experienced sexual assault, and make referrals where appropriate
  • Conduct medical testing, or refer to the nearest sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centre, for the following:
    • Sexual Assault Evidence Kit
    • Drug and alcohol-facilitated assaults
    • Sexually transmitted infections
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Pregnancy
  • Participate in continuing education on sexual violence
Counselling Staff
  • Create an atmosphere where victims feel comfortable disclosing and seeking help
  • Participate in continuing education on sexual violence
  • Offer short-term and long-term counselling and peer group supports for victims of sexual violence
  • Refer to other campus and local services (for example, hospital services, sexual assault centres, peer supports, emergency shelters, mental health services, community health centres)
Campus Security/Police
  • Issue a campus safety alert after a disclosure, when it is determined that the campus may be at risk
  • Conduct internal campus investigations
  • Offer the victim the opportunity to be interviewed by security or police of the same gender, if the victim chooses
  • Work with local authorities and cooperate with their investigations
  • Implement institutional procedures for dealing with the alleged perpetrator while an investigation is taking place
  • Follow best practices in creating campuses that are physically safe
  • Assess the physical safety of the campus through regular safety audits
  • Track incidents to identify commonalities between reported incidents, such as a similar location, residence, or perpetrator description
  • Engage the campus community in periodic reviews of security procedures, where appropriate
Registrar and Academic Advisors
  • Assist with academic accommodations, petitions (for example, requests for the waiver of an academic regulation, degree requirement or academic deadline when a student has experienced
Student Associations, Fraternities and Sororities
  • Engage in awareness activities to promote a better understanding of sexual violence and the institution’s policies and protocols
  • Provide feedback on institutional policies, resources, and protocols
  • Participate in campus sexual violence awareness activities
  • Follow the Student Code of Conduct
  • Provide feedback on institutional policies, resources, and protocols

Template for Sexual Violence Policies and Protocols

Please note that these items can be presented as stand-alone documents, or as a single document. Sample content for this protocol can be obtained from Section II of the Resource Guide.

(INSERT INSTITUTION’S NAME) Sexual Violence Policy and Response Protocol
Last revised: (INSERT DATE)
Applicability: This policy and protocol applies to all faculty, staff and students.

Policy Statement (see page 15)

  • Include language such as:
    • Sexual violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated
    • Survivors will be believed and respected as the final decision-makers as to what is in their own best interest
    • Individuals who have committed an act of sexual violence will be held accountable by the institution, and face disciplinary action up to and including expulsion
    • There is a formal procedure for responding to incidents of sexual violence
    • The institution will engage in public education and prevention activities
    • The statement applies to everyone who lives, works or studies on campus

Discussion of Sexual Violence (see page 15)

  • Communicate information on sexual violence including definitions, consent, the role of alcohol and drugs, rape myths and issues with respect to disclosures and reporting
  • Reference other relevant policies and legislation relating to sexual violence

Statement of Survivor’s Rights (see page 15)

  • Validate the survivor’s rights, including the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to be believed, to be informed about on- and off-campus services and resources, to decide whether or not to access available services and to choose those services they feel will be most beneficial, to decide whether to report to campus security and/or local police, to have an on-campus investigation with the institution’s full cooperation, to have a safety plan, and to have reasonable and necessary actions taken to prevent further unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator(s)

Sexual Violence Response Protocol (see page 16)

  • Describe how to respond appropriately to a disclosure of sexual violence
  • Outline the institution’s procedure for responding to sexual violence, such as:
    • Response by a member of the sexual violence response team
    • Roles and responsibilities of campus members
    • Security response

Optional Attachments

  • Local services listing: list and describe all on-campus and off-campus resources that are available to help victims of sexual assault (see page 27)
  • Who to contact about this protocol: list contact numbers of the campus’s sexual violence response team members, and other relevant staff
  • Relevant sections of Student Code of Conduct

Template for Local Services Listing

Service Type (specific names to be inserted by each institution) Brief overview of services Contact Information (phone and email)
Sexual Violence Response Team
Campus Sexual Assault Centre
Campus Security
Campus Health Services
Campus Counselling Services
Campus Housing
Registrar’s Office (for academic considerations)
Any additional services that relate to your campus
Community Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre (including crisis line)
Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres (based in community hospitals)
Emergency Medical Services
Emergency Shelters
Community Health Centres
Mental Health Services
Counselling Agencies
Victim Services
Distress Line
Services and advocacy groups that serve specific communities, such as:
  • Aboriginal
  • Francophone
  • Ethno-specific
  • Immigrant and refugee
HIV/AIDS services
Language Interpreter Services (including ASL)
Legal Services (e.g. Legal Aid Clinics)
Any additional services that relate to your community

Template and Sample Campus Safety Alerts


On (insert date and time, and authority who received the report) was notified of a sexual assault/act of sexual violence that occurred in (insert location).

(Insert non-identifying facts about the incident, including the involvement of drugs or alcohol, if relevant).

Optional: (insert context, e.g. if there has been a repeated pattern of incidents).

Sample 1:

On September 15 2012, Campus Security and the local Police Department were notified of a sexual assault that had occurred late on September 13, 2012 or early morning of September 14, 2012 in the campus residence hall.

The suspect is an acquaintance of the victim and has been identified. Police continue to investigate the assault.

Sample 2:

On January 24, 2012 at approximately 6:00 a.m., a female student reported to Campus Security that she was sexually assaulted by a known male acquaintance in the residence hall on the east side of campus. Campus Security is continuing to investigate the incident.

Anyone with information regarding any crime is encouraged to call Campus Security.

Glossary of Terms

Acquaintance sexual assault: Acquaintance sexual assault, sometimes called “date rape,” is sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend, or acquaintance.

Age of consent for sexual activity: The age of consent is the age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity. In Canada, children under 12 can never legally consent to sexual acts. Sixteen is the legal age of consent for sexual acts. There are variations on the age of consent for adolescents who are close in age between the ages of 12 and 16. Twelve and 13 year-olds can consent to have sex with other youth who are less than 2 years older than themselves. Youth who are 14 and 15 years old may consent to sexual involvement that is mutual with a person who is less than 5 years older. Youths 16 and 17 years old may legally consent to sexual acts with someone who is not in a position of trust or authority.

Bystander: For the purposes of sexual violence prevention, a bystander is anyone who is neither a victim nor an offender, but who could potentially get involved to make a difference. It refers to anyone who is in a position to intervene before, during or after the act.

Campus climate: A campus climate may be defined as the sum total of all of the personal relationships and social norms within a school. When these relationships are founded in mutual acceptance and inclusion and modeled by all, a culture of respect becomes the norm. A situation that disrupts or negatively affects the culture of respect on campus can be considered to be one that negatively impacts the campus climate.

Consent: Consent is the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Cyber harassment/cyber stalking: Often used interchangeably, cyber harassment and cyber stalking are defined as repeated, unsolicited, threatening behaviour by a person or group using cell phone or Internet technology with the intent to bully, harass, and intimidate a victim. The harassment can take place in any electronic environment where communication with others is possible, such as on social networking sites, on message boards, in chat rooms, through text messages, or through email.

Date rape: The term “date rape” is interchangeable with “acquaintance sexual assault”. It is sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend or acquaintance.

Disclosure: For the purposes of this document, a disclosure is made to any individual other than the police or other judicial official.

Drug-facilitated sexual assault: Drug-facilitated sexual assault involves the perpetrator making use of alcohol and/or drugs (prescription or non-prescription) to control, overpower or subdue a victim for purposes of sexual assault.

Gender-based violence: Gender-based violence is any form of behaviour—including psychological, physical, and sexual behaviour—that is based on an individual’s gender and is intended to control, humiliate, or harm the individual. This form of violence is generally directed at women and girls. It reflects an attitude or prejudice at the individual or institutional level that aims to subordinate an individual or group on the basis of sex and/or gender identity.

Intersectionality: Intersectionality is defined by the Ontario Human Rights Commission as “multiple forms of discrimination occurring simultaneously.” An intersectional analysis recognizes that each individual will experience sexual violence differently based on compounding forms of discrimination, such as their gender identity, culture, race, language, disability, Deafness, religion, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and others. These intersecting identities may leave some groups more vulnerable to sexual violence, and will inform what services a survivor will seek.

LGBTT2SIQQ: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, 2-spirited, intersex, queer and questioning.

Rape: Rape is a term used to describe vaginal, oral or anal intercourse, without consent. Although no longer used in a legal sense in Canada, it is still commonly used and widely understood.

Rape myths: Rape myths complicate society’s understanding of sexual assault. These myths blame or shame the survivor of sexual assault, instead of holding the perpetrator responsible for his actions.

Safety planning: Safety plans typically contain a set of objectives and strategies identified by the victim to help promote ongoing safety and prevent future incidents (for example, how to build a network of supports and crisis contacts, what to do when a class is shared by the perpetrator, what to do about a residence that can be accessed by the perpetrator). These objectives and steps will typically relate to academic, housing, social and recreational life on campus. The plan also includes actions the victim will take in the event of an immediate physical or emotional threat. Safety plans should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are up-to-date.

Sexual assault: Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to.

Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual attention directed at an individual by someone whose conduct or comments are, or should reasonably be known to be, offensive, inappropriate, intimidating, hostile, and unwelcome. Sexual harassment often occurs in environments in which sexist or homophobic jokes and materials have been allowed.

Sexual violence: Sexual violence is a broad term that describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This violence takes different forms including sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, incest, childhood sexual abuse and rape during armed conflict. It also includes sexual harassment, stalking, indecent or sexualized exposure, degrading sexual imagery, voyeurism, cyber harassment, human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Social marketing: Social marketing is an approach that applies marketing principles and techniques to create change for social, environmental and public health problems. The idea is to attempt to influence individuals to act in more socially responsible ways. As such, the social marketing approach seeks to move individuals beyond becoming aware of a problem to actual behaviour change.

Victim blaming: Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or an accident is held responsible — in whole or in part — for the crimes that have been committed against them.

Relevant Legislation

Criminal Code


Relevant Sections:

  • Section 264: “Criminal harassment”
  • Section 265: “Assault”
  • Section 266: “Assault”
  • Section 267: “Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm”
  • Section 268: “Aggravated assault”
  • Section 271: “Sexual assault”
  • Section 272: “Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm”
  • Section 273: “Aggravated sexual assault”
  • Section 273.1: “Meaning of “consent””

Sections Relating to Adolescents under Age Sixteen:

  • Section 150: “Sexual offences” (including close-in-age variations on age of consent for adolescents in Canada)
  • Section 151: “Sexual interference”
  • Section 152: “Invitation to sexual touching”
  • Section 153: “Sexual exploitation”

Section Relating to Adolescents under Age Eighteen:

  • Section 159: “Anal intercourse”
  • Section 163.1: “Child Pornography”

Occupational Health and Safety Act


Relevant Section:

Part III.0.1: “Violence and Harassment”

Human Rights Code


Relevant Section:

Section 7: “Sexual Harassment”

Child and Family Services Act


Relevant Section:

Section 72: “Duty to Report”

Provincial Services and Service Associations

Please note that these services are listed in alphabetical order.


ASO411 provides information about HIV related services offered at AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) and other organizations in Canada. ASO411 is for people who need services and for service providers.

Association of Ontario Health Centres

This site provides information on local community health services including Community Health Centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres and Community Family Health Teams.

Assaulted Women's Helpline


 1-866-863-0511 (toll-free)

1-866-863-7868 (TTY)
416-863-0511 (Toronto)

#7233 on your Bell Mobility phone

This confidential, 24-hour province-wide helpline offers crisis counselling, emotional support, safety planning, and referrals for women needing a shelter, legal advice or other supports. This service is free and is available in over 100 different languages including 17 Aboriginal languages.


ConnexOntario provides free and confidential health services information for people experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, mental health or gambling.

Distress Centres Ontario

Distress Centres Ontario provides a listing and links to local distress and crisis lines. Distress centres are community-based agencies that provide suicide prevention and emotional support services.

Femaide: Crisis Line for Women who are Victims of Violence

1-877-FEMAIDE or 1-877-336-2433 (toll-free)

1-866-860-7082 (TTY)

This confidential, 24-hour province-wide crisis and support number automatically connects the caller to a crisis line for French-speaking women who are victims of violence. It offers emotional support, safety planning and referrals for women who need shelter, counselling or other support.

French Language Services for Victims of Violence

Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes offers a list of French-language and bilingual services for women experiencing violence.

Kids Help Phone

Kids Help Phone provides bilingual over-the-phone or web-based counselling for sexual assault, as well as other crisis situations, on a 24 hour per day basis.

Language Interpreter Services

The Language Interpreter Services program delivers spoken language interpretation to help victims of domestic and sexual violence access social, healthcare and legal services. Services are available in over 60 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The website provides a list of local service providers.

Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario promotes access to justice throughout Ontario for low-income individuals. The website provides information on the types of services available. Legal Aid Ontario can be reached toll-free at 1-800-668-8258 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) provides information on child protection services. Information on the duty to report and how to contact your local CAS is available through this site.


Settlement.org provides information and resources to newcomers to help them settle in Ontario. A list of local services for newcomers is provided.

Sexual Assault/ Rape Crisis Centres

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centres offer a wide variety of services to victims and survivors of sexual violence, 16 years and over. Services include a 24-hour anonymous crisis/support telephone line, individual and group counselling, court, police and hospital accompaniment, information on the legal system, and community referrals. Francophone services are available in designated areas.

Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres

A network of hospital-based sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centres provides 24/7 emergency care to women, children and men who have been sexually assaulted or who are victims or survivors of domestic violence. Services include emergency medical and nursing care, crisis intervention, collection of forensic evidence, medical follow-up and counselling and referral to community resources. Information on local services can be accessed through the site.

Victim Support Line
1-888-579-2888 (toll-free)
416-314-2447 (Toronto)

The Victim Support Line is a free, province-wide, multilingual information line that provides a range of services to victims of crime. Victims may speak directly with an information and referral counsellor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, about supports and services that are available in their community.

Violence Against Women Shelters
Dial 211

Violence against women shelters provide emergency accommodation, food, counselling, support, and referrals for women and their children. Ontario 211 provides a directory and contact information for domestic violence women’s shelters in Ontario. It also provides information on other community and social services in the province.

Examples of Public Education Campaigns

Public Education Campaigns: On Campus

Ask First Campaign
University of Toronto

Bringing in the Bystander™ Program
University of Windsor

“Enhanced Assess, Acknowledge, Act Sexual Assault Resistance education program” for University Women
University of Windsor

Everybody’s Business
University of Ottawa

Green Dot Campaign
University of Toronto

“I Know Someone” Campaign
University of Western Ontario

Men Against Violence
University of Toronto

“No Means No” Campaign
Canadian Federation of Students

Respect Campaign
Conestoga College
Fleming College, Frost Campus

Silence Isn’t Consent Campaign
Cambrian College
Centennial College
Fanshawe College

Women’s Safety Awareness Campaign
Cambrian College
Centennial College

Public Education: Ontario-wide Campaign

Draw the Line

“Draw The Line” is an interactive campaign that aims to engage Ontarians in a dialogue about sexual violence. The campaign challenges common myths about sexual violence and equips bystanders with information on how to intervene safely and effectively.

Public Education: Community Initiatives

Take Back the Night

Take Back the Night is an event held to raise awareness of the issue of violence against women. The event often begins with a rally at a set location, then proceeds with a march through the town or city. The event began as a protest against the anxiety women face walking alone at night.

The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Eve Ensler that discusses female sexuality. It has been performed in various cities and college and university campuses throughout North America. It has inspired a grassroots movement called “V-Day” that aims to end violence against women.

The White Ribbon Campaign

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women (VAW). Campaigns are led by both men and women, even though the focus is on educating men and boys. Campaigns currently exist on many campuses throughout Ontario.


SlutWalk is an international movement of rallies to raise awareness about victim-blaming and sexual violence.

Public Education: American Campaign

1 is 2 Many Campaign

The 1 is 2 Many Campaign focuses on reducing violence against women, specifically on teens and young women ages 16-24. The campaign aims to change attitudes that lead to violence and educate the public on the realities of abuse in an effort to stop violence against women before it begins

Public Education: Research

Conceptualising the Prevention of Sexual Assault and the Role of Education. Melbourne, Vic.: Australian Centre for the Study of Sexual Assault, Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2009.
Moira Carmody

“Emancipatory Sexuality Education And Sexual Assault Resistance: Does The Former Enhance The Latter?”
Psychology of Women Quarterly 35, no. 1 (2011): 72-91.
Charlene Y. Senn, Stephanie S. Gee, and Jennifer Thake

"Rape Against Women: What Can Research Offer to Guide the Development of Prevention Programs and Risk Reduction Interventions?"
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24 (2008): 163-177.
Bonnie S. Fisher, Leah E. Daigle, and Francis T. Cullen

Key Best Practices for Effective Sexual Violence Public Education Campaigns: A Summary
Lori Haskell

Resource Guides and Best Practices for Developing Policies and Protocols

The American College Health Association’s Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence

California Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s (CALCASA) Campus Violence Prevention Resource Guides
Resource guides can be ordered through the organization’s link: www.calcasa.org

Indiana Campus Sexual Assault Primary Prevention Project

U.S. Department of Justice’s Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities are Doing About It

General Sexual Violence Resources and Materials

Government Action Plan and Statistical Reports

Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives: Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan

Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006
Statistics Canada: www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-570-x/85-570-x2006001-eng.pdf

Sexual Assault in Canada 2004 and 2007
Statistics Canada: www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85f0033m/85f0033m2008019-eng.pdf

Resource for Campus Safety Audits

Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence against Women and Children (METRAC) Campus Safety Audit

General Resources

A Safer Campus: A Guidebook for Prevention and Response to Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking for Ohio Campuses
Ohio Board of Regents, University System of Ohio, 2010

A Strategic Framework to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women
Ontario Native Women’s Association and Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres

“A Survey of Online Harassment at a University Campus”
In Journal of Interpersonal Violence 19, no. 4 (2004): 468-483.
Jerry Finn

CampusSurvey.PDF." A Survey of Unwanted Sexual Experiences among University of Alberta Students”
University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre.
T. LoVerso

“Acquaintance Assault”

Acquaintance Rape of College Students
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Police Services, 2008.
Rana Sampson

“Alcohol and Sexual Assault”
In Alcohol Research and Health: The Journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 25, no.1 (2001): 43-51.
Antonia Abbey, Tina Zawacki, Philip O. Buck, A. Monique Clinton, and Pam McAuslan

« Agression sexuelle facilitée par l’alcool et la drogue »
Consommation et agressions sexuelles : évaluation d’une intervention préventive en milieu collégial. Dans Drogues, santé et société 7, no. 2 (2008) : 161-189.
Nicole Perreault, Huguette Bégin, Danielle Bédard et Isabelle Denoncourt

“Barriers to Reporting Sexual Assault for Women and Men: Perspectives of College Students”
In Journal of American College Health 55, no. 3 (2006): 157-162.
Marjorie R. Sable, Fran Danis, Denise L. Mauzy, and Sarah K. Gallagher

Bringing in the Bystander—Establishing a Community of Responsibility: Bystander Intervention and Sexual Violence
University of New Hampshire

Building Prevention: Sexual Violence, Youth and Drinking
Ottawa: Ottawa Coalition to End Violence against Women, 2011.
Holly Johnson and Jenna MacKay

Campus Sexual Assault: How America's Institutions of Higher Education Respond
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service [distributor], 2002.
Heather M. Karjane, Bonnie Fisher, and Francis T. Cullen

Canadian Campus Survey 2004
Toronto, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Edward M. Adlaf, Andrée Demers, and Louis Gliksman (Eds.)

“Chapter 7: Promoting Safety and Nonviolence on College and University Campuses”
In Toolkit to End Violence against Women. National Advisory Council on Violence against Women; Violence against Women Office

“Consent” I Know Someone…
University Students' Council, University of Western Ontario, Sexual Assault Centre London, and Changing Ways

“Counseling Tools for the Prevention and Reduction of Post-Traumatic Stress Reactions”
California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA).
Annabel Prins

“Cyber-Bullying” Stopbullyingnow.ca
Centennial College

“Dating Violence and the Health of Young Women: A Feminist Narrative Study”
In Health Care for Women International 28, no. 5, 453-77.
Farah Ismail, Helene Berman, and Catherine Ward-Griffin

“Defining Sexual Assault”
University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre

“Developing a University-Wide Institutional Response to Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence”
In Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community 36, no. 1-2, 2008.
Lauren F. Lichty, Rebecca Campbell & Jayne Schuiteman

“Dispelling the Myths about Sexual Assault”
Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres

A play written and performed by Meaghan Gardiner

« Drogues du viol et agression sexuelle : perception de jeunes en milieu collégial »
Dans Drogues, santé et société 4, no. 2 (2005) : 177-209.
Nicole Perreault, Huguette Bégin, Josée Michaud et Isabelle Denoncourt

Factors Associated with Suspected Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault
In Canadian Medical Association Journal 180, no. 5 (2009): 513-519.
Janice Du Mont, Sheila Macdonald, Nomi Rotbard, Eriola Asllani, Deidre Bainbridge, Marsha M. Cohen

Ending Violence One Green Dot at a Time
Green Dot Campaign

Guide de Formation : Prévention des agressions sexuelles et les drogues du viol
Montréal : Écho des Femmes de la Petite Patrie, 2005.
Lyse Cloutier et Martine Leroux

Issue Brief: Engaging Men and Boys to Reduce and Prevent Gender-based Violence
White Ribbon Campaign, Status of Women Canada, 2011.
Todd Minerson, Humberto Carolo, Tuval Dinner, and Clay Jones

« La violence subie par les adolescents et adolescentes dans le contexte des relations amoureuses : Une revue des écrits »
Montréal : Directeur de santé publique de Montréal, 2002.
Mylène Fernet

“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Sexual Violence”
UMM Violence Prevention Centre

“Negative Social Experiences of University and College Students”
In The Canadian Journal of Higher Education 38, no. 3 (2008): 57-75.
Paul F. Tremblay, Roma Harris, Helene Berman, Barb MacQuarrie, Gail Hutchinson, Mary Ann Smith, Susan Braley, Jennifer Jelley, and Kristen Dearlove

Online Harassment-Enough
University of Toronto

Overcoming Barriers and Enhancing Supportive Responses: The Research on Sexual Violence against Women: A Resource Document
Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children: Western University, 2012.
Linda L. Baker, Marcie Campbell, and Anna-Lee Straatman

“Personal Empowerment through Self Awareness”

The University of Montana requires all students to take an online tutorial on sexual violence within the first six weeks of classes. There are seven videos in the tutorial and a supplementary quiz. Students are to complete the tutorial and score 100% on the quiz in order to enrol in their spring semester courses.

“Prevalence and Factors Associated with Physical and Sexual Assault of Female University Students in Ontario.”
In Health Care for Women International 19 (1998): 155-164.
Brenda Newton-Taylor, David DeWit, and Louis Gliksman

Preventing Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence against Women: Taking Action and Generating Evidence
Geneva: World Health Organization, 2010.
Alexander Butchart, Claudia Moreno, and Christopher Mikton

"Rape Myth Beliefs and Bystander Attitudes among Incoming College Students"
In Journal of American College Health 59, no. 1 (2010): 3-11.
Sarah McMahon

“Rape Myths: History, Individual and Institutional-Level Presence, and Implications for Change” In Sex Roles 65 (2011): 761-773.
Katie M. Edwards, Jessica A. Turchik, Christina M. Dardis, Nicole Reynolds and Christine A. Gidycz

“Reasons for not Reporting Victimizations to the Police: Do they Vary for Physical and Sexual Incidents?”
In Journal of American College Health 55, no. 5 (2007): 277-282.
Martie Thompson, Dylan Sitterle, George Clay, and Jeffrey Kingree

“Reducing Barriers to Students Reporting Sexual Assaults”
In Women in Higher Education, 20 (2011): 7-8.
M.L. Santovec

"Reducing Sexual Violence on Campus: The Role of Student Leaders as Empowered Bystanders"
In Journal of College Student Development 50, no. 4 (2009): 446-457.
Victoria L. Banyard, Mary M. Moynihan, and Maria T. Crossman

“Relationship Violence in Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/ Transgender/Queer [LGBTQ] Communities: Moving Beyond a Gender-Based Framework”
In MINCAVA Electronic Clearinghouse.
Janice Ristock and Norma Timbang

“Reporting Sexual Victimization to the Police and Others: Results from a National-Level Study of College Women”
In Criminal Justice and Behavior 30, no. 1 (2003): 6-38.
Bonnie S. Fisher, Leah E. Daigle, Francis T. Cullen, and Michael G. Turner

Responding to Victims/Survivors of Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault: Protocol Development, Implementation, and Evaluation DFSA Study: A report prepared for the Ontario Women’s Health Council
Janice Du Mont, Sheila Macdonald, Nomi Rotbard, Deidre Bainbridge, Eriola Asllani, Marsha Cohen

Sexual Assault Happens and Is Deeply Damaging. Ask for Help
Government of Quebec

“Sexual Assault in the Transgender Communities” http://my.execpc.com/~dmmunson/Nov99_7.htm
In FORGE Newsletter on DV (1999).
Arlene Istar Lev, and S. Sundance Lev

Sexual Assault of the Disabled Happens and is Damaging. Let’s Be Vigilant
Government of Quebec

Sexual Assault: Victim Service Worker Handbook
Justice Institute of British Columbia, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division, 2007

Support for Survivors: Training for Sexual Assault Counselors
California Coalition against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), 2008

Supporting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Survivors of Sexual Assault
California Coalition against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), 2010.
Jennifer Valles

Supporting Sexual Assault Survivors with Disabilities.
California Coalition against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), 2010.
Wendie H. Abramson

The Campus Sexual Assault (CSA) Study Final Report: Performance Period: January, 2005 through December 2007
Washington: National Institute of Justice, 2007.
Christopher B. Krebs, Christine H. Lindquist, Tara D. Warner, Bonnie S. Fisher, and Sandra L. Martin

“The Incidence and Prevalence of Woman Abuse in Canadian University and College Dating Relationships"
In The Canadian Journal of Sociology 18, no. 2 (1993): 137-159.
Walter DeKeseredy and Katharine Kelly

Violence and Accessibility— Increasing Safety for Women with Disabilities On Campus
Springtide Resources, 2012.
Terri-Lynn Langdon

Violence and Sexual Orientation: Fact Sheet
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Workshop Toolkit for Facilitators: Consent”
Dalhousie University, Office of Human Rights, Equity, and Harassment Prevention


1 Statistics Canada, Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006 (Ottawa: Ministry of Industry, 2006), 37

2 Lauren F Lichty, Rebecca Campbell and Jayne Schuiteman, “Developing a University-Wide Institutional Response to Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence,” Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community 36, no 1-2 (2008): 6;
Brenda Newton-Taylor, David DeWit and Louis Gliksman, “Prevalence and Factors Associated with Physical and Sexual Assault of Female University Students in Ontario,” Health Care for Women International 19 (1998): 155-164;
American College Health Association, Shifting the Paradigm: Primary Prevention of Sexual Violence. Linthicum, MD: 2008

3 Much of the research that has been done on best practices is from the United States where under the federal Clery Act, colleges and universities are required to keep and report information about crime, including sexual violence, on and near their campuses

4 Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act provides that anyone who has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child or young person under the age of 16 has been sexually molested or sexually exploited, by the person having charge of the child or by another person where the person having charge of the child knows or should know of the possibility of sexual molestation or sexual exploitation and fails to protect the child, or there is the risk that the child is likely to be sexually molested or sexually exploited, must report the details to the local Children’s Aid Society. The institution may wish to contact legal counsel and the local Children’s Aid Society to develop policies related to the sexual assault/abuse of those under the age of 16.

5 Ontario Native Women’s Association and Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, A Strategic Framework to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women (2007), 8.

6 Sexual assault is a crime that is recognized in the Criminal Code of Canada. The Criminal Code refers to three levels of sexual assault. Level 1 is any form of sexual activity (e.g., kissing, fondling, oral sex, vaginal or anal intercourse) forced on someone else resulting in minor physical injuries or no injuries to the victim. Level 2 is sexual assault with a weapon, threats, or causing bodily harm. Level 3 is sexual assault that results in wounding, maiming, disfiguring or endangering the life of the victim. (Source: Shannon Brennan and Andrea Taylor-Butts, Sexual Assault in Canada in 2004 and 2007 (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2008).

7 Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives: Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan (Toronto: 2011), 6.

8 Statistics Canada, Measuring Violence Against Women: Statistical Trends 2006 (Ottawa: Ministry of Industry, 2006), 37.

9 Brennan and Taylor-Butts, Sexual Assault in Canada, 13.

10 Linda L. Baker, Marcie Campbell, and Anna-Lee Straatman, Overcoming Barriers and Enhancing Supportive Responses: The Research on Sexual Violence against Women: A Resource Document (Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women and Children: Western University, 2012), 10.

11 Holly Johnson and Jenna MacKay, Building Prevention: Sexual Violence, Youth and Drinking (Ottawa: Ottawa Coalition to End Violence against Women, 2011), 37.

12 Baker, Campbell, and Straatman, Overcoming, 12-15.

13 Antonia Abbey et al., “Alcohol and Sexual Assault,” Alcohol Research and Health: The Journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 25, no.1 (2001), 44.

14 Janice Du Mont, Sheila Macdonald, Nomi Rotbard, Eriola Asllani, Deidre Bainbridge, Marsha M. Cohen (2009). Factors associated with suspected drug-facilitated sexual assault. Canadian Medical Association Journal, p.516.

15 Johnson & MacKay, Building, 30.

16 Brennan & Taylor-Butts, Sexual Assault, 13.

17 Ibid., 8.

18 Statistics Canada, Criminal Victimization and Health: A Profile of Victimizations Among Persons with Activity Limitations or Other Health Problems (Ottawa: 2010), 8. .

19 Baker, Campbell, and Straatman, Overcoming, 20.

20 Ibid., 22.

21 Holly Johnson, “Limits of a Criminal Justice Response: Trends in Police and Court Processing of Sexual Assault,” in E. Sheehy (ed.) Sexual Assault in Canada: Law, Legal Practice, and Women’s Activism (Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press, 2012), 633-654.

22 Baker, Campbell, and Straatman, Overcoming, 25.

23 Brennan & Taylor-Butts, Sexual Assault, 8.

24 Statistics Canada, Measuring Violence, 52-53.

25 Todd Minerson et al., Issue Brief: Engaging Men and Boys to Reduce and Prevent Gender-based Violence (Status of Women Canada: 2011), 2.

If you have any comments about this guide or suggestions for additional content, please contact the Ontario Women’s Directorate at 416-314-0300 or owd@ontario.ca.

The material contained in this document is for information and reference purposes only and is not intended as legal or professional advice. The adoption of the practices described in this document may not meet all the needs of individual institutions. Consult your legal advisors as to how these practices or measures may affect your institution. These resources and links were up-to-date as of November, 2012. Inclusion or omission of any particular resource or link should not be considered as a recommendation or comment on the quality of the resource. No endorsement of any of the resources by the Ontario Women’s Directorate should be inferred.