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Updated Sexual Violence Policy approved

Following months of consultation, the revised Policy on Sexual Violence Involving Queen’s University Students has been approved by the Board of Trustees.

In December 2019, the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Task Force was asked by the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) to develop amendments to the disclosure notification requirement in Section 8.8 of the policy, which had been partially suspended in response to community feedback. In developing the proposed amendments, the task force, which is made-up students, staff, faculty, administrators, and staff from the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, considered several options to ensure the policy aligned with the university’s commitment to support individuals who have experienced sexual violence.

The proposed amendments were posted for feedback from the Queen’s community from July 21 to Oct. 1, 2020.

The task force’s approved revisions to policy include following elements:

  • A strong statement on the importance of confidentiality, which recognizes that confidentiality is often essential for students to come forward.
  • An outline of the limits of confidentiality to ensure students are aware that, in some circumstances, information may need to be shared in order to address a serious safety risk or where employees are obliged by law to share the information.
  • A requirement for employees who are not health care providers to notify the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Coordinator of a disclosure, without sharing identifying information about the student unless given permission to do so.
  • The addition of an amnesty statement, which formalizes the university’s current practice that a student who experiences sexual violence is not subject to disciplinary actions by the university for drug or alcohol violations of Queen’s non-academic policies.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend upcoming information sessions to learn about the policy amendments. The sessions will be held in January and February. Information on dates and times will be posted on the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response website by Jan. 6. Work is also underway on an online training module regarding the policy for faculty and staff. Information about the revised policy will be shared with all students and enhanced education, training, and information for students are also under development.  

Queen's University is committed to maintaining a positive learning, living, and working environment in which sexual violence is not tolerated. This policy reflects the university's commitment to addressing all forms of sexual violence faced by students.

To view the memo from the task force, which outlines the rationale behind their proposed amendments and the various options considered, please visit the Provost's website