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Task force takes next step in further sexual violence policy review

Queen’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Task Force has begun the next step as it further reviews the university’s 2019 Sexual Violence Policy Involving Queen’s University Students. 

Revisions to the university’s policy were introduced in May 2019, following a consultation process. The policy is reviewed every three years to ensure it continues to reflect applicable legislation and university sector best practices.

One of the provisions added to the policy in 2019 required employees other than health care providers, who receive a disclosure of sexual violence from a student, to notify Queen’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator (SVPRC). The intent of the provision was to help the SVPRC ensure that any student who disclosed an incident of sexual violence to a university employee, received trained assistance and staff could ensure the student was made aware of the full range of supports available from the university.                                                                

In response to further feedback from the Queen’s community on the notification process, the university suspended the notification requirement in October 2019, and sought additional review and consultation on the matter.

“After hearing from additional students, staff, and faculty, we felt it was important that we embarked on an additional review process – which includes further consultation,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion).

The review process has consisted of two public meetings to discuss the policy as well as an online survey.  Of the 248 campus community respondents, 60 per cent indicated a preference to revisit or remove the requirements for mandatory notifications around disclosure.

The task force has been asked to consider all of the various inputs and to develop recommendations. It is also reviewing sexual violence policies at peer institutions especially as relates to disclosures and confidentiality.

Recommendations from the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Task Force are expected to be ready in mid-February and presented to the senior administration.  Senior administration will consider the recommendations and will inform the community of any proposed changes to the policy.  The community will be asked for further comment before an amended policy goes the Board of Trustees for final approval.

The 2019-2020 membership of the task force includes 26 representatives made up of students, staff, faculty, administration, and staff from local sexual violence support centres.