Provincial Government announces increased funding to target on-campus sexual violence

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Photo by Isaak Wong

On Mar. 19, 2018, the Ontario Government announced it would be doubling funding and integrating tangible steps in order to address on-campus sexual violence.

Merrilee Fullerton, minister of training, colleges and universities for the Ontario government, said that these changes come in response to results from a province-wide survey.

“Our government takes the safety and well-being of our students seriously,” said Fullerton in a press release.

“Our post-secondary institutions have a responsibility to protect students, and must do everything possible to ensure campuses are free from sexual violence. Our government has zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and any other form of violence in our communities.”

In order to take immediate action, the Ontario government will require all post-secondary institutions in Ontario to review their sexual violence policies by Sept. 2019.

The Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey, which was taken by 746,000 post-secondary students, stated that 63 per cent of the 116,000 university students have experienced at least one incident of sexual violence since the beginning of the academic year.

As a result of the study, Fullerton has announced all post-secondary institutions must take immediate action to “protect students and address the serious issue of sexual violence affecting post-secondary students.”

“No one should have to worry about their safety on campus,” Fullerton said in the press release.

“These measures will help our publicly-assisted colleges and universities to address sexual violence and harassment.”

According to the survey, students from Laurier who took the survey seemed to be satisfied overall with institutional response to sexual violence.

Of the 1,078 students who answered this question, 23 per cent were very dissatisfied, 15.3 per cent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and 61.7 per cent were very satisfied.

Another question on the survey said that 69.4 per cent of the 4,776 students surveyed had disclosed experiences of sexual harassment. 30.6 per cent said they had never disclosed an experience of sexual harassment.

In order to take immediate action, the Ontario government will require all post-secondary institutions in Ontario to review their sexual violence policies by Sept. 2019.

As well, each institution must devote a task force to tackling sexual violence, which includes diverse student representation. The task force will have to report its findings to its respective board of governors

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