- QNetNews.ca - http://www.qnetnews.ca -

Schools need a sexual-assault policy says students’ federation

By Bevan Hamilton [1] and Suzanne Coolen [2]

BELLEVILLE – The lack of a sexual assault policy at Loyalist College and Ontario’s other 23 colleges is unacceptable, says Anna Goldfinch, the Ontario representative for the Canadian Federation of Students.

“It’s important for schools to have a specific sexual assault policy,” said Goldfinch. “The rate of sexual violence – especially towards women – on Canadian colleges and universities is an enormous problem and one that we need to be doing more work on.”

Goldfinch says the federation developed a template of a sexual assault policy that would help universities adopt a better policy that is geared towards students. She says this should be the standard for Ontario post-secondary institutions.

“I think it makes sure that they have recourse should they choose to want to use it in a way that ensures anonymity, confidentiality, and amends what has happened and that’s not something we normally see because we see a lot of victim blaming or people being too worried about going to administration to be able to tell them what’s happened.”

Canadian Federation of Students Sexual Assault Policy Template [3]

Goldfinch says a specific sexual assault policy also helps to ensure that students report on-campus sexual assaults.

“If someone did want to come forward and there was not a very good sexual policy, that might change their mind. So for those people who do wish to come forward, the sexual assault policy is absolutely necessary.”

The Toronto Star reported [4] last week that only nine of more than 100 Canadian universities and colleges polled have a specific policy in place to address sexual assault. All nine institutions are universities. None of Ontario’s 24 colleges have specific sexual assault policies, including Loyalist.

Loyalist College [5] has a violence-prevention policy and a student code of conduct,  but does not currently have a policy specifically related to sexual assault.

If you were sexually assaulted on campus, would you know who to go to?

QNet News is looking into this story. More to come.