Queen’s to release internal sexual assault response report

Campus Security received seven assault reports from Sept. 2009 to April 2014

The Journal received information on the University's upcoming report on sexual assault through a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request filed in September.
The Journal received information on the University's upcoming report on sexual assault through a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request filed in September.

The University is set to release an internal report on policies, procedures and support programs that address sexual assault involving students.

According to information obtained through a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request filed in September, the Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees authorized the publication of the report at a September meeting. The information received through the FIPPA request stated that the report is expected to be posted on the Queen’s website “shortly”.

No exact date for its release was given.

Through the FIPPA request, the university stated that “[sexual assault] is foremost of mind with Queen’s University Administrators” and that “Queen’s also has a robust internal non-academic discipline system to address allegations of sexual assault, while respecting respondents’ right to education and the legal presumption of innocence.” While on-campus sexual assault is dealt with under the University’s non-academic discipline policy, no formal policy dedicated to sexual assault currently exists.

The information given to the Journal also detailed an anonymized summary of seven sexual assaults reported to Campus Security between Sept. 1, 2009 and Apr. 30, 2014 and how the University responded to them.

In fall 2009, two incidents of sexual assault were reported to Campus Security. Two were reported in 2010, two in 2012 and one in 2013.

Of these, all but one took place in residence or on-campus. Only three incidents were reported to the police. One, reported in 2010, resulted in a conviction. The second, reported in 2012, is awaiting trial. The third, which occurred in 2013, didn’t say whether there were charges laid.

Conversely, during the full year of 2009, 25 sexual assaults were reported in Kingston Police Force (KPF) zones 1 and 4, which encompass the University District. In 2010, there were 30 reports of assault. In 2011, there were 28; in 2012, there were 37; and in 2013, there were 42.

Sexual assaults in zones 1 and 4 are 33.9 per cent of all “sex occurrences” in Kingston minus seniors or children, according to KPF.

Three of the incidents reported to Campus Security saw Notices of Prohibition issued by the University or by Campus Security, barring respondents from varying places. In one incident in 2012, a prohibition was issued barring access to a specific residence building and prohibiting the accused from consuming any alcohol pending the outcome of an investigation.

In that incident, the individual who’d been sexually assaulted hadn’t filed a report with the police. However, based on information given by the individual and witnesses who spoke with Campus Security, the University identified the respondent and Residence Life initiated an investigation.

The investigation ended in a sanction involving mandatory sex education, a bar on all interaction with the complainant and anyone else involved in the hearing and a complete bar from entering a particular residence building.

Arig al Shaibah, assistant dean of Student Affairs, said there are a number of protocols and procedures that Residence Life implements when a student reports a sexual assault.

Most of the time, al Shaibah said, the assault is reported directly to a don. Dons receive “extensive training” around being non-judgmental and appropriate ways to listen, she added.

“We also inform dons that these are the issues that have to be actually escalated to Residence Life as part of our protocol,” she said.

Residence Life will talk to students about resources like the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Program at Kingston General Hospital and counselling services.

“We don’t pressure students whatsoever — this is all about their just becoming aware of what’s available, and the fact that if they’ve experienced sexual assault, assault is a crime and they have the right to report to the police if they wish,” al Shaibah said.

If a student chooses to make a report to Campus Security and follow up with the police, Residence Life will step back in order not to interfere with the investigation, she said.

“If the individual is choosing to press charges, we have to respect the criminal process and wait out that process. Any kind of steps that we take could compromise the investigation and the outcome, so we’re very mindful of that,” she said.

However, if the student chooses not to go to the police, or if they do but feel there’s an immediate safety issue, Residence Life can impose temporary no-contact orders on both parties in order to limit stress and anxiety.

al Shaibah said Residence Life doesn’t “adjudicate” whether someone is responsible for an assault.

“What we do do is, we can at times look at other complicating behaviors surrounding that, so in some instances, it may be that an individual, if we do some information collection or investigation, we find that there was some inappropriate behavior,” she said.

“We may not call it sexual assault, but there’s some inappropriate behavior. We may then think that that is appropriate to go through our discipline system, and appropriate sanctioning and opportunities for appeals and all of that will kick in as well.”

Residence Life can pursue hearings over “inappropriate behavior”, a Level Three offence according to Residence rules. These go to the administration, typically the director of Residence Life.

Inappropriate behavior is defined as “inappropriate or disruptive conduct, whether in person or via other media … that may have a negative impact on an individual or community” and can include harassment.

“Violence” is also considered a Level Three offence, defined as “any action that results in an individual being compromised” and including physical assaults and threats of violence.

“We don’t have the same burdens as a court of law because we’re not finding responsibility for sexual assault, we’re finding responsibility for some inappropriate behavior,” al Shaibah said.

— With files from Sam Koebrich and Sebastian Leck

Sexual Assault FIPPA - Queen's University


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