Niagara College has taken an important step towards its goal of providing campuses that are free from sexual assault and sexual violence.
The college introduced today a stand-alone policy and protocol on sexual assault and sexual violence and it is now publicly available on the college’s website at www.niagaracollege.ca/sexualassaultpolicy.
“We take seriously our commitment to operating safe and healthy campuses and supporting those who experience sexual violence” said Niagara College president Dan Patterson. “This comprehensive new practice and protocol clearly defines rights and responsibilities and helps ensure immediate and effective support is available for survivors.”
College presidents in Ontario voted unanimously in November to create a policy and protocol that would be available at all provincial colleges by March 31. A draft version was publicly released in January and there have been consultations throughout the province to finalize the document.
Building on existing policies and practices at colleges the policy and protocol defines sexual assault and sexual violence and establishes clear processes for complaints and investigations.
The policy also includes measures to help protect people who make complaints from reprisals retaliation or threats. As well it includes provisions to ensure that confidentiality is observed.
The Colleges Ontario policy and protocol supports the action plan on sexual violence announced by Premier Kathleen Wynne on March 6. Work will continue to be done to ensure the initiatives at each college fulfil the premier’s plan.
Individual colleges and Colleges Ontario (the advocacy organization for the province’s 24 colleges) have consulted with students and student leaders throughout Ontario. There have been consultations with legal experts the Ontario Women’s Directorate OPSEU government officials and others.
Niagara College’s work on this important initiative is ongoing. The college is developing educational and awareness initiatives as well as training for faculty and staff. The policy will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure it remains effective and up-to-date.
“This issue calls for a collaborative effort among all of our stakeholders” said Patterson. “I am grateful to the student leaders faculty staff and community partners who contributed to the development of this practice and protocol.”
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