ASUS works to combat sexual violence with SeQure app

First-year students will be introduced to the app’s new safety features during Orientation Week

Sexual violence prevention apps are used on campuses across Canada.

This article discusses consent and sexual violence and may be triggering for some readers. The Kingston Sexual Assault Centre’s 24-hour crisis and support phone line can be reached at 613-544-6424 / 1-800-544-6424. Some quotes by individuals in this article use the term “victim” when referring to those who have experienced sexual assault. The Journal uses “survivor” to refer to those who have experienced sexual assault. We acknowledge this term is not universal.

After evaluating an alternative sexual violence prevention app, ASUS opted to add safety features to Queen’s existing SeQure app. 

ASUS considered launching the HAVEN app during Orientation. Instead, first-year students will be introduced to the SeQure app’s new safety features surrounding sexual violence during Orientation Week.

The new safety features include emergency contact buttons, as well as education surrounding consent and steps to take if you feel unsafe. 

“The app is ultimately just going to be used more for awareness, to encourage people to have conversations and be cautious of safety on campus,” ASUS President Yara Hussein said in an interview with The Journal

According to 2021 Student Experiences Survey (SES), 30 per cent of the student body has received training or education on sexual violence and is aware of resources available.

“I think it's been something that hasn't been explored as much in-depth in previous years because it becomes taboo, and we don't want to scare the [first-year] students,” Hussein said.

This year, ASUS hopes to “empower” students and create a safer campus, which includes educating incoming first-year students about consent culture. 

Six per cent of students reported experiences of sexual violence in 2021, according to the 2021 SES.  Hussein said instances of sexual assault go unreported frequently, and there is currently a lot of “mistrust” in the system. 

Other universities, such as U of T, have also worked with apps to combat sexual violence on campus.

Nelson Lee and Ethan Hugh, U of T Computer Engineering students, launched the HAVEN app in Sept. 2021 after hearing a friend’s survivor account. 

They developed the app—downloadable on iOS and Android—with funding and advice from U of T‘s Entrepreneurship Hatchery Program, Lee said in an interview with The Journal.

Lee said they originally wanted to develop a pro bono legal clinic for survivors. 

“Victims continue to hold that burden, that responsibility, and that guilt. When we found out only around 5 per cent of victims in Canada actually report their cases to the police, we really wanted to switch it up—instead of creating something reactive, actually create something proactive,” Lee said.

Hugh and Lee worked closely with sexual assault prevention organizations, such as Toronto Victim Services, to validate their ideas and have “their bases covered” upon release.

The app’s interface prompts users to create a profile and share their location. It also asks users to add “Angels”—trusted contacts who will be alerted in the case of an emergency. When adopted by a specific university, the app connects the user to Campus Security as well as 911.

“It's super simple, super-fast, and […] has simple user interface and experience because we know that for students to actually want to use it, it needs to be appealing,” Lee said.

The HAVEN app has a “central hub” of resources for students to educate themselves about sexual assault safety along with emergency supports. Lee said this two-pronged approach is important.

After considering the HAVEN app, ASUS instead decided to work towards adding new features to the current SeQure App.

According to Hussein, ASUS decided the addition of a new app, such as HAVEN, would be difficult to implement amongst new students, considering the amount of information being “thrown at” them.

“Although, we saw amazing value in the HAVEN app and recommended it to the AMS to see if it can succeed on a student body level rather than just ASUS,” Hussein said.

To inform how ASUS will continue to carry out sexual violence prevention awareness, the team will reconvene after Orientation Week by checking in with the Chairs and Orientation Coordinators.

“It's great to see the strides that have already been made with relation to sexual violence, prevention, response work, and we're in the learning stages,” Hussein said.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.