Two years after the Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey was circulated to Ontario university students, the full results were released Thursday morning.
According to the data, Queen’s ranked fourth in the province for the prevalence of sexual assault. With 71.4 per cent of Queen’s respondents reporting experiences of sexual harassment, Queen’s was second-highest in Ontario for rates of sexual harassment, falling 0.2 per cent behind the University of Western Ontario.
More than 7,000 Queen’s students participated in the 2018 survey. The University was unable to provide an interview to The Journal on the day of the survey’s release, requesting more time to review the results.
Initial results from the survey were released last March, a year after the survey’s original launch date. Citing privacy concerns, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) withheld the remaining data until Feb. 27 this year.
The MCU didn’t respond to The Journal’s requests for comment in time for publication. The COU said it would make a statement today but hasn’t commented further.
The updated report includes gender identity and sexual orientation data of the respondents. 69.3 per cent of survey respondents identified as a woman/girl; 28.9 per cent identified as a man/boy; 1.8 per cent identified as transgender, Two-Spirit, non-binary or gender fluid.
The data also reveals that certain groups of students are more vulnerable to sexual violence. However, the report did not reveal demographic information from specific institutions.
“Prevalence rates of sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking for women, gender diverse and bisexual students are higher than overall university sector rates as a whole. Student survey participants also experienced different rates of sexual violence based on their racial or ethnic identity,” a COU overview report of the results stated.
In its report, the COU cautioned against using the data to compare institutions to each other.
“It is not possible to determine if the differences across institutions are due to university demographic profiles, demographic profiles or survey respondents at each university, or a real difference in terms of overall rates of sexual violence and other variables reported,” the statement said.
The COU also called for more funding and resources to combat sexual violence on campus.
“More efforts, funding and resources are required to help prevent and combat sexual violence. Ontario’s universities remain committed to working with government, our partners in the sector and the community to ensure that our campuses are safe environments where students have access to the high-quality supports they need.”
In a joint statement released shortly after the survey data was published, the University, AMS, and SGPS commented on the results.
“We welcome this information, as it provides important insights into students’ understanding of consent, perceived peer attitudes towards sexual violence, and awareness of sexual violence support services. The results also provide information on student experiences of sexual violence. We will use this information to help focus our efforts where more work is needed and make meaningful changes on campus,” the statement said.
The statement also said the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Task Force, which is comprised of students, faculty, and staff, will review the detailed survey results.
“The task force will work together with students and student groups to continue to enhance efforts on sexual violence education, prevention, and response. We are committed to creating a campus culture where sexual violence is not tolerated. Opportunities for the Queen’s community to discuss the survey results are being arranged, and details will be posted on the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response website.”
This story is developing and will be updated with more information.
Council of Ontario Universities, Ministry of Colleges and Universities, sexual violence, survey
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