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Sexual Violence Policy

Category: Board of Trustees
Approval: March 4, 2016
Responsibility: Provost 
Date: December 2015


Sexual Violence means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, and sexual exploitation.1  

Sexual Assault means any form of sexual contact without mutual consent.  It can include unwanted kissing, fondling, touching, oral or anal sex, vaginal intercourse or other forms of penetration, or any unwanted act of a sexual nature that is imposed by one person onto another without consent. 

Sexual Harassment means a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications of a sexually oriented nature and/or a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours or communications based on gender – where the person responsible for the remarks, behaviours or communications knows or ought reasonably to know that these are unwanted. It includes, but is not limited to:  

  • Sexual solicitations, advances, remarks, suggestive comments and gestures (including songs and chants); 
  • The inappropriate display of sexually suggestive pictures, posters, objects or graffiti; 
  • Non-consensual posting of pictures, aggressive comments and slurs on any form of social media;
  • Physical contact of a sexual nature (including Sexual Assault under the Criminal Code); 
  • Sexual conduct that interferes with an individual’s dignity or privacy such as voyeurism and exhibitionism. 

Consent means an active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired and conscious choice and agreement between adults to engage in sexual activity. 

Student means any person enrolled as a student in any Queen’s University faculty, school or department. 
Student Group means a group affiliated with the university (including the AMS, the SGPS and/or any club sanctioned by either of them) and constituted to promote such things as social, vocational, academic, cultural, and/or political interests of students within its membership. 

Survivor means a person who reports having experienced sexual violence.

No-Contact Undertaking means an agreement, mutually undertaken by two or more parties, to refrain from contacting one another based on mutually specified conditions.  
Notice of Prohibition means a notice to a particular individual that s/he has been prohibited from all or part of the campus of Queen’s University.   

Queen’s Community means students, faculty members and staff of Queen’s University.  

Purpose/Reason for Policy:

Queen’s University is committed to maintaining a positive learning and living environment in which any form of sexual violence will not be tolerated. The purpose of this policy is to clearly state the university’s commitment to addressing sexual violence through:

  • Coordinated and comprehensive awareness training and education programs;
  • Coordinated and comprehensive support for those who have experienced sexual violence including counselling, medical care, academic accommodation and other support as required;
  • Clear, appropriate and fair processes for handling reports and complaints of sexual violence covered by this and other university policies. 

Scope of the Policy:

This Policy will apply to all Queen’s students in all their interactions with other members of the Queen’s Community.

The university has other policies in place that are relevant to issues of sexual violence and harassment such as the Student Code of Conduct and the Harassment and Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure and The Prevention and Resolution of Harrassment in the Workplace Policy. This policy is meant to complement those policies. In addition, this policy is not intended to supersede or interfere with the criminal justice system. All persons have the right to pursue legal avenues whether or not they choose to proceed under any university policy. 

All persons also have the right to forego criminal and university reporting avenues, opting to choose confidential disclosure to a counsellor for ongoing support.  

This policy aligns with changes to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act through the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, 2016, in respect of sexual violence.
When sexual violence is reported to the university in accordance with this policy, Queen’s will respond promptly, with the aim of: 

  • Supporting any member of the Queen’s community who reports experiencing sexual violence;
  • Assessing the safety of any person who reports experiencing sexual violence or who has reported sexual violence, as well as the safety of the entire campus community; 
  • Referring anyone who reports experiencing sexual violence to the formal and informal avenues for recourse; 
  • Engaging appropriate support and response mechanisms; and
  • Ensuring that any member of the community against whom an allegation of sexual violence is made receives appropriate support and advice related to all university procedures.  

Policy Statement:

Sexual violence is a serious problem in society and on university campuses.  Through this policy, Queen’s University is committed to addressing sexual violence in our community through support, awareness education, training and prevention programs, and appropriate handling of incident reports and complaints.  



The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator will work with campus partners, including the Health Promotion team within Student Wellness Services, Residence Life, other Student Affairs units, the Human Rights Office, Human Resources, Campus Security and Emergency Services, Environmental Health and Safety and AMS- and SGPS-affiliated groups, to develop and implement an annual education strategy to address issues of sexual violence, promote a culture of consent, and encourage the accessing of support for survivors. Such ongoing education will include awareness campaigns and educational and training programs for the Queen’s community.
The university will deliver appropriate information related to sexual violence to the Queen’s community, including students in all years, with a focus on incoming students during orientation week. Subject matter experts will collaborate to lead content and format design, in consultation with students, to ensure the information is tailored to the audience and context.  

A particular focus will be on promoting a culture of consent, including the following principles:

  • Consent is active and not passive or silent;
  • It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity to obtain clear consent from the other person;
  • Consent is required at all stages of sexual engagement and that consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to others;
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time;
  • Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship status or sexual history together; and
  • Consent cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, who is unconscious, or who otherwise lacks the capacity to consent.

Commitment to Those Who Have Experienced Sexual Violence 
Sexual violence can have serious negative impacts on an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness. Queen’s University recognizes the possible traumatic effects of sexual violence and supports the efforts of individuals to seek support and recover.   
All persons who report an experience of sexual violence can expect to be: 

  • treated with compassion, dignity, and respect; 
  • provided with timely safety planning assistance; 
  • informed about on- and off-campus support services and resources available to them; 
  • provided with non-judgmental and sympathetic support;  
  • provided with academic, recreational and housing accommodations as appropriate to prevent further unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator if the alleged perpetrator is a member of the campus community; 
  • integral decision-makers in situations pertaining to themselves; 
  • allowed to determine whether and to whom they wish to disclose or report their experience, including: 
    • whether or not to pursue formal criminal and/or university avenues of redress; 
    • whether or not to disclose to a support person and seek out personal counselling. 

Upon receiving a report of sexual violence the university will proceed as described below. 
A. Support and Initial Assessment 

Once the university has received a report of sexual violence, appropriate support and other resources will be offered to the person who has experienced sexual violence, as well as to any person or group against whom an allegation of sexual violence is made.  Those against whom an allegation of sexual violence is made should seek advice from the office of the University Ombudsman.

Any party to a university process will be provided with information regarding the relevant polices as well as contacts for support, including confidential counselling and advising services. 
B. Interim Measures and Notices of Prohibition 

The university may impose interim measures as may be appropriate for the individuals and student groups involved in any allegation of sexual violence and for the larger campus community. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Separation of the academic and living situations of any students involved in a report of sexual violence;  
  • Temporary administrative suspension of a student group alleged to have committed sexual violence; 
  • No-Contact Orders/Undertakings; 
  • Notice of Prohibition; 
  • Any interim restrictions relevant to employees pursuant to Human Resources and Human Rights policies and procedures; and Restriction of privileges. 

The imposition of any interim measure will depend on, and be in accordance with, the relevant policies set out below in the Non-Criminal On-Campus Options. 

C. Academic Accommodations 

Students requiring academic accommodations (e.g., extensions on assignments, deferrals of exams, dropping classes, continuing studies from home) will be supported by the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator, in accordance with the university standards and procedures for requesting and granting accommodations. 


Anyone who has witnessed or experienced sexual violence has options for filing a report or complaint in response to an incident of sexual violence and may choose to pursue formal or informal reporting options. The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator is best suited as the first point of contact for all in the campus community seeking information about options for reporting sexual violence or seeking support. The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator, Campus Security & Emergency Services (CS&ES) and/or a university counsellor, including a specialist in the area of sexual violence trauma, can provide the information needed to make decisions with respect to reporting options.

Anyone who experiences or witnesses sexual violence may pursue any of the following reporting options: 
a)    Criminal Reporting Option: Individuals may report their allegations through the criminal justice system by contacting the Kingston Police Service. If an individual chooses this route, Campus Security and Emergency Services and/or the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator can facilitate making a report to the police. 

b)    Non-Criminal, On-Campus Reporting Options:

  • Reports involving allegations against students and student groups can be made through the university’s Non-Academic Student Misconduct System;
  • Reports involving allegations against any member of the Queen’s community can be made through the Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure;
  • Reports involving allegations against any university employees can be made through the university’s human resources policies and procedures.

Anyone who has experienced or witnessed sexual violence may pursue more than one reporting option simultaneously. 

Disclosure without Reporting  
If a person who reports experiencing sexual violence does not want to report the incident through the criminal justice system, or the university’s non-criminal on-campus options, s/he has the option of disclosing their experience to a professional counsellor, the Human Rights Office, and/or the Office of Sexual Violence Education and Support to receive personal support and academic accommodations that may be needed as a consequence of the impacts. 

University Contacts for Reporting 

Campus Security & Emergency Services  
(613) 533-6111  EMERGENCIES (24/7) 
(613) 533-6733 General Inquiries 

Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator
Barbara Lotan
(613) 533-6330
B502 Mackintosh-Corry Hall
Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm


Confidentiality is an important principle in creating an environment where those who have experienced sexual violence feel safe to disclose and seek support and accommodation. The privacy and confidentiality of all members of the Queen’s community involved in any complaint, will be protected to the extent possible, but may be precluded where, for example: 

  • An individual may be at risk of self-harm; 
  • An individual may be at risk of harming another;  
  • There is reason to believe that other members of the broader community may be at risk of harm;  
  • Reporting is required by law; and/or
  • The university has an obligation to investigate.

All parties involved will be informed of possible limits of confidentiality. 


The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator will maintain annual statistics, without Identifying Information, on disclosed and reported incidents of sexual violence on campus, in accordance with legislative requirements. Any external reporting of statistics will be in accordance with provincial regulations. 


To prevent delay, when positions authorized to exercise responsibility under this policy are vacant or during the unavailability of persons holding those positions, the Provost may designate other persons to exercise their authority under this policy. 


Webpage: Sexual Violence: Assault, abuse, harassment: on-campus and community resources  
Resource Poster: Steps for Students to take after a recent Sexual Assault 
Queen’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Working Group  

Contact Officer: Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Co-ordinator

Date for Next Review: January 2017

Related Policies, Procedures and Guidelines: Harassment/Discrimination Complaint Policy and Procedure, Student Code of Conduct (*PDF, 157KB), Queen's University Senate Policy on Student Rights, Appeals and Discipline (*PDF, 475KB)



Policies Superseded by This Policy: N/A

[1] The definition of sexual violence is per Bill 132 (amendments to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act under the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, 2016). All terms within the definition of sexual violence will be interpreted per the Criminal Code of Canada.