University yet to receive Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey results

Ontario’s largest post-secondary survey findings months behind promised publication 

Image supplied by: Journal File Photo
The survey was administered one year ago.

This article discusses sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers. The Journal uses “survivor” to refer to those who have experienced sexual assault. We acknowledge this term is not universal.

One year ago, more than 650,000 post-secondary students were invited to participate in a survey about sexual violence. 

The results are nowhere to be found a year later.

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD) launched the Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey last February to better understand sexual violence on university campuses in Ontario. 

It was the largest post-secondary survey ever conducted in Ontario and achieved the participation of more than 160,000 students. 

Conducted by CCI Research—located in Orangeville, ON—reports on the findings of the survey were promised to both institutions and the public last fall. 

The Student Voices on Sexual Violence website, however, has been inactive for months.  

“Over the coming months, the data collected will be analyzed and reports will be provided to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development as well as each institution,” the website states. “Check back here in the Fall to view some provincial and sector level survey results.”

There are no survey results available anywhere on the website. Queen’s has confirmed to The Journal on more than one occasion it hasn’t received any results.  

According to its website, the survey’s five main themes were “knowledge of sexual violence supports, services and reporting procedures, perceptions of consent, experiences of sexual violence, satisfaction with institutional responses to sexual violence [and] behaviour of bystanders.” 

Made up of more than 50 questions, the survey asked students questions about a wide variety of topics, from consent and the process of disclosures to transparency about a school’s sexual violence, policy, and bystander intervention. 

For example, one section of the survey asked students to rate their level of agreement with statements like “consent for sex one time is consent for future sex” and “if you and your sexual partner are both drunk, you don’t have to worry about consent.” 

The survey further collected information on whether institutions were actively informing its students about the processes of filing reports and receiving academic accommodations following an incident of sexual violence or leaving it up to students to find on their own. 

The survey also aimed to analyze institutional response to disclosures of sexual violence. It asked students to rate the likelihood of whether, after an incident of sexual violence, a student “would be believed” and if supports would be offered to  the student by their schools.

Aside from practical information, the survey also asked students probing questions such as, “How often have you been in a situation in which someone touched you in a way that made you feel uncomfortable?” or, “Sent or posted unwelcome sexual comments, rumours, jokes, or pictures of you by text, email, social media, or other electronic means?”

After providing students with a trigger warning, survey participants were also asked whether they’d ever been sexually assaulted, with the question explicitly describing the act.

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Merrilee Fullerton didn’t respond to multiple requests by The Journal for an interview by time of publication. 

The MAESD promised a compiled report of the findings would inform school sexual violence policy changes and suggest ways institutions can improve its relationship with survivors. 

In 2016, the Ontario government passed Bill 132, a law requiring all post-secondary schools to create and implement sexual violence policies and review them once every three years.

With that deadline looming for Jan. 1, 2020, it remains to be seen whether the voices of over 160,000 students will be considered.

This story is developing and will be updated with more information.


Policy, sexual violence policy

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