British Columbia

B.C. government invests in measures to prevent sexual violence on campuses

The provincial government announced it will invest over $700,000 in the prevention and response to sexual violence on campuses across BC. The government will work with students, post-secondary institutions and community organizers to co-ordinate resources and best practices and to provide access to training.
Approximately one in five women will experience sexual violence while studying at a post-secondary institution, according to the government. (Robb Douglas/CBC)

The provincial government announced Tuesday it will invest more than $700,000 to prevent and respond to sexual violence on campuses across B.C.

"Sensitive and serious issues, such as sexual violence, will require some honest conversations and commitment for change," Melanie Mark, B.C.'s minister of advanced education, said in a news release.

"Students have been clear they want all stakeholders in post-secondary education to take action to address sexual violence."

About one in five women will experience sexualized violence while studying at a post-secondary institution, according to the news release. 

The announcement was made by Melanie Mark, pictured in this file photo. Mark is B.C.'s minister of advanced education, skills and training. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

The announcement was made at a forum called Moving Forward Together: Building Capacity to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Violence on Campus.

The closed-door event includes about 125 participants and runs through Wednesday. 

The government said it will work with students, post-secondary institutions and community organizers to co-ordinate resources and best practices and to provide access to training. 

In 2018, the province launched a $200,000 social media awareness campaign that included ads on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as posters on campuses.

The campaign ran from September to January as roughly two-thirds of sexual assaults on campus occur in the first eight weeks of school, the news release said. 

The funding will also support plain language policies and processes regarding sexual violence and misconduct.

Since 2017, the province has required all 25 of B.C.'s public post-secondary institutions to have sexual violence and misconduct policies.

The new initiative also includes campus surveys meant to get a better sense of students' experiences and perceptions, and to help focus future efforts.