Queen’s receives first sexual violence report

82 students sought help, 31 formal complaints made from 2017-18

The Board received its first sexual violence report this month.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo
According to the report, 82 students sought support from the Office of the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator, while 31 formal complaints of sexual violence were made to the university from 2017-18.
 
The report is the first Queen’s-specific data on sexual violence the University has received since Barb Lotan’s appointment as the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response coordinator in 2016.
 
“This is our baseline,” Lotan said in an interview with The Journal. “But we’ve seen that students are accessing our supports and services, and there seems to be more awareness of those services.”
 
Lotan said this increase in awareness could be evidence of the functionality of University initiatives and policies regarding response to sexual violence.
 
“Students have a right to make a disclosure without a report,” Lotan said. “Students might want to come in and talk about something that happened to them, but not make a formal report.”
 
The report shows a 30 per cent increase in reported cases of sexual violence in comparison with the 2015 numbers disclosed in the University’s human rights report.
 
The report includes information about prevention, education and response services, as well as annual statistics and an analysis of the implementation and effectiveness of the Policy on Sexual Violence Involving Queen’s University Students, which was approved by the Board in 2016.
 
The Division of Student Affairs, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator, Human Resources, and Faculty Relations informed the report’s completion.
 
The report complies with Ontario’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, Bill 132, which became law in March of 2016 and requires each college or university to have an official policy on sexual violence. 
 
The Bill also requires institutions to provide an annual report to the provincial government using the same metrics, such as number of students who sought assistance regarding sexual violence. However, the law only requires policy reviews every three years—the first one being Jan. 1, 2020—which puts Queen’s ahead of the curb on this initiative.
 
“The legislation [requiring annual sexual violence reports] is not in force yet,” Lotan explained. “We have in fact done a report that will be required annually but isn’t required yet.” 
 
Lotan also pointed to the Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey as a source that will inform policy review and was conducted on campus last February. However, the provincial government is well behind schedule releasing the data.
 
According to Lotan, once that data is released, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office will be able to have a much better conversation regarding what students want and need, and how the University can improve its policies.
 
It also states the Implementation Team on Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence, chaired by the Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, meets three times a year.
 
Chaired by Lotan and made up of students, the Sexual Violence and Response working group meets approximately six times a year.
 
When all aspects of Bill 132 have come into force, the University will be required to issue a sexual violence report annually, which will provide more information regarding the impact of initiatives and education programs on campus.

Corrections

March 18, 2019

This article incorrectly stated there was a 25 per cent decrease from 2015 to 2018. In fact, there was a 30 per cent increase.

The Journal regrets the error.

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