University of Alberta releases report on sexual assault
University of Alberta Sexual Violence Review Group makes 46 recommendations after review of university’s prevention, education and response to sexual assault.
By NEWS STAFF
The University of Alberta will begin implementing recommendations from a new report aimed at enhancing the campus community’s response to sexual assault.
The Sexual Violence Review Group examined the activities, supports and services the U of A provides to prevent, educate about and respond to sexual assault. The group’s report, Review of the University of Alberta’s Response to Sexual Assault, identifies 46 recommendations in six areas:
- Formal Complaints
- Tracking and Statistical Reporting
“The University of Alberta takes seriously its obligation to provide a safe and secure working and learning environment through effective policies that support those who have disclosed a sexual assault,” said Steven Dew, provost and vice-president (academic).
“Though the Review of the University of Alberta’s Response to Sexual Assault shows we have many robust supports and services already in place to help survivors of sexual assault, there is still more to be done, and each one of us has a role to play in addressing this important issue.”
Convened in November 2014 by interim vice-provost and dean of students Robin Everall, the Sexual Violence Review Group included members from the office of Student Conduct and Accountability, Office of the Dean of Students, U of A Sexual Assault Centre, U of A Protective Services and Residence Services, in consultation with students’ associations, student groups, faculty and staff.
Many of the 46 recommendations aim to increase awareness and understanding across the academy and improve co-ordination between units to ensure survivors have the support they need to make safe disclosures of sexual assault.
At the direction of the provost, the Office of the Dean of Students will lead a new working committee to immediately act on recommendations outlined in the report, including a top 10 that can be implemented within one year. One of the first priorities is the creation of a stand-alone sexual assault policy and set of procedures (page 49) to clearly outline expected behaviour, practices and standards for the university community.
Dew said enhancing the U of A’s system of supports and services for survivors of sexual assault “begins today,” with the report’s release. Every effort will be made to improve education and awareness and reduce misconceptions about sexual assault, he said, pointing to initiatives such as a five-part educational video series created by the campus Sexual Assault Centre and a new how-to-help online resource created by the Office of the Dean of Students.
“Together, we can ensure that the U of A is a community where sexual assault is not tolerated and where victims can be assured that, here, they will be heard, believed and helped.”