NDP

Nova Scotia should follow Ontario and BC in passing campus sexual assault legislation

October 27, 2016


For immediate release.

HALIFAX – The NDP will introduce legislation today to mandate that colleges and universities have policies and services related to sexualized violence. This follows legislative actions in other provinces to combat sexualized violence on college and university campuses.

“Survivor-centred policies and supports are key components to making any institution more safe for people who experience sexualized violence in any form,” said Jackie Stevens, Executive Director of Avalon Sexual Assault Centre. “Enshrining in law that colleges and universities must have policies and strategies to combat sexualized violence reassures students that institutions take sexualized violence seriously and are committed to addressing the systemic and societal factors that lead to university-related sexualized violence.”

The legislation would require that colleges and universities have sexual violence policies developed with students, training and prevention programs, and 24-hour services to support survivors of sexualized violence. It would also require colleges and universities to report on the number of incidents of sexualized violence disclosed by students, what initiatives and programs the institution is undertaking to prevent violence and support survivors, and the implementation of the sexual violence policy.

“Students at Dalhousie started the Sexual Assault and Harassment Phone Line because we recognized that there was not enough support for survivors on campus, but funding support programs like the phone line should not fall on student organizations,” said Rhiannon Makohoniuk, Vice-President Internal of the Dalhousie Student Union. “We need legislation to ensure colleges and universities are held accountable for providing the resources and supports necessary to both prevent sexual violence and also address the needs of survivors and other people impacted by sexual violence and harassment.”

“Students and their families deserve assurances that our university and college campuses are doing everything in their power both to prevent sexual violence and to support people who are impacted by assault and harassment,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. ““This bill would set a province-wide standard for actions related to addressing sexual violence on campuses as has been done in Ontario and British Columbia.”

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For more information, please contact Kaley Kennedy at 902-229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.