UVic to start consultations on sexualized violence policy

The University of Victoria will begin consultations in May to develop a separate policy on sexualized violence that will build on current policies and practices and reinforce the university’s commitment to a safe campus where sexualized violence is unacceptable.

UVic President Jamie Cassels initiated the policy review earlier this year that will include widespread consultation, consider policies and practices at other institutions and learn from local, provincial and national conversations on how to respond to sexualized violence, which can have a profound and long lasting effect on survivors.

“Sexualized violence is a significant issue both on our campus and in the wider community and we have an important role to play as leaders, educators and community partners,” says Cassels.

While UVic has policies and programs that encompass the prevention and response to issues of sexualized violence including survivor support and provisions for a confidential, fair process when assaults are reported, it does not have a policy that focuses exclusively on sexualized violence.

Recent attention to sexualized violence on university and college campuses and the emergence of new educational and policy initiatives has provided a new focus. The BC government has also addressed the issue with new legislation announced April 27 requiring post-secondary institutions to establish sexual violence and misconduct policies.

“A working group with diverse members is undertaking this important work at UVic to recommend a campus-wide policy on sexualized violence,” says VP Academic and Provost Valerie Kuehne, the project’s lead sponsor.

Annalee Lepp, chair of the Department of Gender Studies, will chair the Working Group on Sexualized Violence Programs and Policy Development that has broad membership including students, faculty and staff. Widespread consultations begin in May.

Consultations will include survivors of sexualized violence and those most vulnerable to sexualized violence, groups on and off campus who have experience working with survivors, legal counsel and policy experts among others.

A progress report with possible interim measures is scheduled for the Fall and a draft policy is expected to be ready in early 2017 for review and further input. A proposed policy that would apply to all members of the university community will go to the Board of Governors for approval in Spring 2017.

UVic will continue to consider and implement ways it can strengthen its campus-wide work related to sexualized violence while the new policy is being developed.

The university has been part of a provincial initiative underway since last December to provide a framework for post-secondary institutions on sexual violence. The working group will review BC’s new Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act and related guidelines and principles as it deliberates on a policy for UVic.

More information is available at http://www.uvic.ca/info/sexualizedviolencepolicy/.


Media contacts

Denise Helm (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-7656 or dhelm@uvic.ca

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Keywords: sexualized violence, administrative

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