Tomorrow, Niagara College will publicly launch its stand-alone practice and protocol on sexual assault.
This comprehensive practice reflects our commitment to provide a healthy and safe learning environment and workplace, and to support those who experience sexual assault or sexual violence. It provides a clear set of rights and responsibilities, standards for reporting and responding to incidents of sexual violence, and it establishes a process for complaints and investigations.
Our practice and protocol also ensures that immediate and effective support is available for survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence, and that those who make complaints or report incidents of sexual assault or sexual violence are protected from retaliation and threats. A dedicated web page has been developed to make this practice and protocol – along with important on- and off-campus resources – readily available. Click the following link to view the website: www.niagaracollege.ca/sexualassaultpolicy.
Our practice and protocol is based on a provincial template that was developed in consultation with students and staff across Ontario’s 24-colleges, legal experts, the Ontario Women’s Directorate, government stakeholders and others. A Niagara College committee, with input from our own students and staff, has used this template to develop a practice and protocol that is unique to Niagara College, and reflects the needs of our college community.
Our practice and protocol also supports – and aligns with – “It’s Never Okay:” premier Kathleen Wynne’s action plan for stopping sexual violence and harassment, launched in early March.
Our work on this important issue doesn’t stop with the launch of this practice. We are developing important educational and awareness initiatives, as well as training for staff. Our Sexual Assault Practice and Protocol will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that it remains effective and up-to-date.
I urge you to read the practice and protocol online, including the responsibilities of staff who witness or become aware of sexual violence, the process for reporting incidents of sexual violence, and the supports and resources available to survivors of sexual assault. Questions regarding the Sexual Assault Practice and Protocol can be directed to Rick Anderson, acting vice president, student affairs, at email@example.com or ext. 7135.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to those at Niagara College who worked on this initiative: Rick Anderson and acting Student Services director Brigitte Chiki; Campus Safety and Parking Services manager David Jastrubecki – who also served on the provincial task force that developed the system-wide template; as well as the steering committee, our student leaders and staff and community partners whose input and feedback were instrumental to the development of this practice and protocol.
Dan Patterson, PhD