Principal’s statement on student sexual violence survey

Principal’s statement on student sexual violence survey

March 19, 2019


On March 19, 2019, the Ontario Government released its summary report on the Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey. More than 160,000 post-secondary students across the province completed the voluntary survey last spring. Queen’s encouraged students to take part in the survey and the results will now provide universities with information to understand the experiences of students, and help institutions respond with effective supports and services.

[Grant Hall at Queen's University]Queen’s University is committed to addressing the issue of sexual violence and ensuring students feel safe, secure, and as supported as possible. With this in mind, I would like to acknowledge the importance of the Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey and to thank all of the students at Queen’s and at other universities who participated. By understanding the experiences of students, universities will be able to do more to prevent sexual violence and respond to the cases and issues raised in more meaningful ways.

Sexual violence is a societal problem and we know that people of university age have a greater likelihood of being the victim of sexual assault or harassment. The summary report results demonstrate that more needs to be done in addressing the challenges of sexual violence experienced by students at all universities and colleges.

At Queen’s, there is no tolerance for sexual violence in our community; when it occurs, we take it very seriously. We are committed to continuing to do all we can to help prevent sexual violence and to ensure that survivors get the support and help they need, whether an incident occurs on or off campus, during the school year, or during a break.

Queen’s and other universities will now be closely studying the survey results as they will help us further to understand the extent of the problem and the experiences of students, and will help us enhance our processes and supports.

Along with the survey result, the minister also unveiled some new measures aimed at preventing sexual violence on campus, including the creation of a task force at each institution. To meet this requirement, I have instructed Ann Tierney, Vice-Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, to transition our Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Working Group into a task force. This group’s membership will continue to include both undergraduate and graduate student representatives.

Queen’s is also currently reviewing and revising its Policy on Sexual Violence Involving Queen’s University Students (implemented in 2016) as requested by the minister. The updated draft is now online for community comment. The government has announced that it is requiring the updated policy be in place by September 2019. We welcome the Minister’s announcement of a doubling of the Women’s Campus Safety Fund that supports prevention on campus across the province.

Queen’s has provided our Board of Trustees with our first Sexual Violence Report at their March 1 meeting, in accordance with the legislation that has since been proclaimed.

Over the coming months, we look forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the complete survey. The government announced it is consulting with the Privacy Commissioner before it releases the full set of results. Universities do not have the full set and will not receive them until that process is completed.

While these processes unfold, I encourage all students who experience any form of sexual violence to contact Barb Lotan, the university’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator at 613-533-6330 or, Good2Talk, a 24/7 confidential and anonymous post-secondary student helpline at 1-866-925-5454, Student Wellness Services at 613-533-6000 ext. 78264, or Faith and Spiritual Life at 613-533-2186.

– Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor