Queen's University releases new sexual assault protocol
School is consulting with students, other groups before final version in April
Queen's University in Kingston has launched an interim sexual assault protocol that puts its efforts toward preventing attacks and supporting victims into writing.
The 12-page protocol came into effect last month and covers all members of "the university community," including staff, students and faculty, but also visitors to campus.
It lays out the services available to people who have been sexually assaulted and describes the university's commitments for victims, such as to "be provided with non-judgmental and empathic support," "be treated with compassion, dignity, and respect" and "be the final decision-makers about their own best interests."
"The greatest value that is going to be added with the policy is the awareness raising piece, around some of what we are doing," said Arig al Shaibah, Queen's assistant dean of student affairs.
"We think it is really important to have these things on paper and have practices and policies that allow people to report and get the help they need," said Andrea Gunraj, who works for METRAC, an organization working to end violence against women.
Queen's said it will continue to consult with students and work on health promotion and awareness campaigns around sexual assault before releasing its final protocol in April.
The school has had a "sexual assault prevention and response working group" of students, staff and faculty since June 2013.
Ottawa universities working on their plans
Other universities in Ottawa said they’re also looking at the issue.
The University of Ottawa said in an email that it has a harassment and discrimination policy and a violence prevention policy.
It also launched a "task force on respect and equality" after allegations of sexual assault against members of its men's hockey team that resulted in two players being charged.
"The Task Force is completing its work and should be able to submit its report to the President soon," the statement said.
"The University is committed to making the changes necessary to ensure a campus culture that prevents harassment and discrimination, encourages respectful conduct, and maintains a safe learning and teaching environment."
Carleton University said it's looking into adding to its human rights policy and services provided by its sexual assault support centre.
"Carleton is investigating a stand-alone policy on sexual assault," the university said in an email.
"We are currently researching the policies of other universities across Canada as a result of the Ontario government's input on the issue."
Carleton’s email said they don't know when this process will be complete.