Subject: Sexual Violence Prevention and Response
Approved by: Board of Regents
Approval date: May 17, 2016
Effective date: May 31, 2016
Administered by: Vice-President, International and Student Affairs
Sexual Violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Mount Allison University has a legal obligation to provide a working and learning environment that is free from sexual violence. Where there is reason to believe that sexual violence has taken place, action will be taken. Individuals who come forward will be fully involved and informed in decisions with respect to how to proceed. The procedures developed by the University for reporting and responding to incidents of sexual violence will be made accessible to the University community. The University will engage in education and prevention, including training. The University will hold accountable those individuals responsible for sexual violence.
This policy applies to all members of the Mount Allison community. The interpretation and application of this policy is the responsibility of the Vice-President International and Student Affairs or delegate for student issues and the Vice-President Finance and Administration or delegate for employee issues.
Mount Allison University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy campus environment by addressing sexual violence through: awareness, education, training and prevention programs; survivor support; and, the timely, effective and fair handling of disclosures of sexual violence. This policy outlines how the University will demonstrate its commitment to the promotion of an affirmative consent culture.
Mount Allison University is a diverse community and it is recognized that individual experiences of sexual violence may be affected by factors covered under the New Brunswick Human Rights Act and including, but not limited to, sex, ancestry, race, ethnicity, language, ability, faith, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Mount Allison encourages members of the University community to disclose as soon as possible after sexual violence occurs so that corrective action may be taken as quickly as possible. Normally, complaints may be accepted up to a year after an incident, recognizing that it is the nature of sexual violence that a survivor may take much longer to feel safe or ready to disclose.
It is an offense to retaliate against a member of the University community who discloses or reports sexual violence. It is an offense to make a frivolous or vexatious complaint of sexual violence.
TERMINOLOGY AND DEFINITIONS
Complainant: An individual who makes a written complaint of sexual violence
Consent: An active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired and conscious choice and agreement, without coercion, deception or fraud, between adults to engage in physical contact or sexual activity (see Appendix 1 for principles of consent).
Disclosure: When an individual reveals or provides information to a University official that they or another party have experienced sexual violence. This may include a request for support and services.
Employee: Any person who has an employment relationship with Mount Allison University or who had an employment relationship with Mount Allison University at the time an incident occurred.
First Responder: The person to whom the survivor initially discloses. This could be a friend, staff member or faculty member.
Report/Complaint: A formal verbal or written account of an incident of sexual violence for the purposes of initiating an appropriate form of action on or off campus.
Respondent: An individual against whom a written complaint of sexual violence has been made.
Sexual Assault: Any kind of sexual contact without mutual consent. It may include unwanted kissing, fondling, oral or anal sex, intercourse, or other forms of penetration.
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART): This team may be comprised of the SHARE Advisor, Director of Student Life, Nurse Educator, Counsellors, Security, Housing and, where appropriate, peer support advocates and/or MASU Ombudsperson and community supports.
Sexual Harassment: Vexatious comment or conduct of a sexual nature that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. A vexatious comment or conduct causes humiliation and is offensive or abusive to the recipient because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment can also be more general such that it creates a hostile or poisoned environment to persons of a given sex, gender or sexual orientation.
SHARE Advisor: The SHARE Advisor is the University official appointed to carry out responsibilities pursuant to this policy through the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education (SHARE) Service.
Sexual Violence: Any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and indecent exposure, voyeurism, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or video of a community member without their consent, and cyber harassment or cyber stalking of a sexual nature. Some acts of sexual violence intersect with or influenced by systemic oppression related, but not limited, to protected grounds under the NB Human Rights Act.
SHARE: Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Education Service. This is the service administered by the SHARE Advisor to provide education related to, and to address all concerns related to, sexual violence at Mount Allison University.
Student: An individual who is registered in a course of study at Mount Allison University or who was so registered at the time an incident occurred.
Survivor: An individual who has experienced sexual violence may identify with this label, as a term of empowerment, strength, and healing.
Awareness, Prevention, Education and Training
SHARE works with on and off campus partners to develop education strategies that include campaigns, training sessions, workshops, print and online resources, programs and events on a breadth of topics related to sexual violence on campus –topics such as rape culture, consent culture, sexual assault awareness, how to seek support, resources for survivors, advice and resources for first responders, etc. The audience for these efforts includes staff, faculty, students, and visitors to campus.
Faculties and departments are encouraged to support sexual violence prevention education in course materials and program curricula where appropriate.
All members of the Mount Allison community (staff, faculty and students) should expect to receive support from the SHARE Advisor if they have experienced sexual violence. Detailed information about on - and off- campus supports is provided on the SHARE website.
The SHARE Advisor will work with individual survivors to assist in accessing any needed medical, legal and counselling services along with academic, residence or workplace accommodations.
The SHARE Advisor provides a confidential, survivor-centred, trauma-informed service. Survivors need only to disclose their experience to access support. There will be no requirement to either make or refrain from making a formal written complaint when seeking support and advice.
Notwithstanding the principle above, in some very rare cases the University may be required — based on risk assessment by the SHARE Advisor in consultation with the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) — to take action without the survivor’s consent. If this is deemed necessary, individuals affected will be fully informed and supported at every step of any process.
The SHARE Advisor provides assistance by working with administrators and/or Security to conduct risk assessments, formulate safety plans, and arrange necessary no contact orders or other restrictions to reduce the likelihood of the survivor having an unexpected encounter with an accused.
Disclosure and Reporting
Survivors of sexual violence have options for disclosure, reporting and/or filing a formal complaint in response to an incident of sexual violence. SHARE can assist survivors in understanding each of these options and in ensuring that they have all the information they need in order to make an appropriate decision on next steps. SHARE will support members of the Mount Allison community in pursuing any of the options outlined below.
Detailed information about options and what to expect for all parties, survivors, and persons accused are provided on the SHARE website. All processes must follow principles of natural justice and must appropriately protect the rights of all parties involved.
Persons who have experienced sexual violence are encouraged to come forward to disclose as soon as they are able to do so. When a disclosure of sexual assault is made, the safety, security, and well-being of the survivor are fundamental considerations. All disclosures are kept confidential to the extent possible in order to take necessary action. Community safety may be a consideration in some cases.
Options include but are not limited to:
Community Reporting Options:
- Reports/complaints can be made to the police in an effort to pursue criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada;
- Reports can be made to the Human Rights Commission in cases of human rights violations
- Public Safety Services are available for counselling, support and advice when a report to police has been made;
- Many community services for survivors of relationship violence and abuse are available and listed on the SHARE Website.
- A process under this policy beginning with disclosure to the SHARE Advisor and/or a Human Resources Consultant;
- The process following a disclosure may take the form of an informal resolution with the assistance of the SHARE Advisor and/or Human Resources;
- A Formal Complaint, in the form of a written letter, may result in an investigation by a trained internal investigator or an external, third-party with expertise in sexual violence complaints.
When a complainant is comfortable in doing so, either alone or with the support of another University community member, they are encouraged to disclose to the SHARE Advisor. A complainant may seek a resolution through the SHARE Advisor, without filing a formal written complaint. All disclosures are confidential and no action will be taken without the full consent of the survivor, except in the case where imminent harm to others may be a concern. The SHARE Advisor will liaise with other campus departments and/or the Sexual Assault Response Team for student cases to arrange appropriate workplace, academic and safety accommodations (as per the procedures).
Formal Complaint Resolution
Upon written submission of a formal complaint to the SHARE Advisor, an investigation may be conducted by a trained member of the University community appointed by the SHARE Advisor or by an external third party with expertise in sexual violence complaints. The formal complaint must be signed and include details regarding dates, times, places and names of those involved and contact information for any witnesses. The SHARE Advisor will do an initial review of the complaint, in consultation with the Dean/Director for employee cases, to determine if the complaint is more appropriately handled under another University policy; that a complaint is not covered by this policy; that a complaint is not trivial, frivolous, vexatious, or made in bad faith; or that the time has not
expired for filing a complaint. In these cases the SHARE Advisor will inform the complainant in writing of the decision not to conduct an investigation and the reasons for the decision.
Upon initiation of an investigation, the investigator will collect and assess the facts. The investigation will involve but will not necessarily be limited to interviews with both the complainant and respondent, interviews with any witnesses and documentation of the evidence gathered.
There is an obligation on members of the University community to cooperate in the investigation of a complaint. Upon conclusion of the investigation, a report will be prepared by the investigator, which may include recommendations for resolution of the complaint. The report will be presented to the SHARE Advisor and will subsequently be submitted to either the Director of Student Affairs (in student cases), and/or to the Dean/Director and the Human Resources Consultant (when an employee is involved.) Normally, the investigation and report will be concluded within thirty (30) working days of the appointment of an investigator. The Director of Student Affairs and the Dean/Director will act upon the findings and recommendation of the report in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct and relevant University policies and collective agreements, as applicable.
The report, in addition to a summary of the facts gathered and the process used to gather the information, will include a clear statement as to whether, in the investigator’s opinion:
i) The complaint is substantiated; and/or
ii) There is sufficient evidence on which to base a finding; and/or
iii) Any behaviour constituted sexual violence.
The investigator will not make specific disciplinary recommendations but may include recommendations for remedial actions that, in the investigator’s opinion, will assist in addressing the situation.
Disposition of an Investigated Complaint
Within ten (10) working days after receiving an investigator’s report, the SHARE Advisor in consultation with the Director of Student Affairs (in student cases) or the Dean/Director in consultation with Human Resources (in employee cases) shall decide, when sexual violence is found to have occurred, what corrective action consistent with any University regulation or applicable collective agreement is warranted. Within twenty (20) working days of submission of the report to the SHARE Advisor, except in extenuating circumstances, the complainant and respondent shall both be provided, in confidence, a copy of the report. The complainant and the respondent shall be informed in writing of the decision taken and the action taken.
The decision may be appealed by either party to the relevant Vice-President responsible for the administration of this policy.
Confidentiality is a key principle in creating an environment where survivors feel safe to disclose and seek support and accommodation. There are, however, limits to confidentiality such as:
- An individual is judged to be at imminent risk of self-harm;
- An individual is judged to be at imminent risk of harming another;
- There is agreement in writing to share information in order to take action under this policy;
- A client of the SHARE Advisor gives written permission to share information contained in their file for medical, legal or other purposes;
- Legislation requires reporting or action;
- Evidence of sexual violence is available in the public realm (e.g. video shared publicly on social media);
- The individual(s) involved is under 16 years of age and/or there is a legal duty to report (Under the Family Services Act).
Case files will be maintained by the SHARE Advisor and will be destroyed five years after the most recent activity in relation to the file. However, records concerning the numbers and types of cases and the resolution of cases can be kept after five years provided these records do not contain personal identifiers.
The SHARE Advisor will maintain annual statistics on reported incidents of sexual violence on campus for the purposes of community education and any legislated reporting that may be required. This data would not include any information that would identify any community member.
This policy and associated procedures will be consistent with current best practices across Canada. To maintain this policy’s currency and relevance, and after an initial review one year from the date of its approval, this policy will be reviewed every 4 years, or more frequently when relevant social, resource, or legal changes otherwise warrant an update. The Vice-President International and Student Affairs will initiate review of the policy.
Mount Allison wishes to acknowledge the following, whose related expertise, policies, and procedures provided background and a foundation in best practices that assisted in the development of this policy:
Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre: http://www.fsacc.ca
St. Thomas University. (2015). Policy on Sexual Violence: http://w3.stu.ca/stu/currentstudents/documents/PolicyonSexualViolence.pdf
Saint Mary’s University. (2015). Sexual Assault Policy and Procedures (August 2015): http://www.smu.ca/webfiles/SexualAssaultPolicyandProcedures.pdf
Ontario Women’s Directorate. (2013). Developing a Response to Sexual Violence: A Resource Guide For Ontario’s Colleges and Universities
Human Rights Act of New Brunswick. Human Rights Act, RSNB 2011, c 171 At http://laws.gnb.ca/en/ShowPdf/cs/2011-c.171.pdf
Principles of Consent
Mount Allison University through the efforts of SHARE and its partners will promote the following principles related to consent:
- Consent is active, not passive or silent.
- Consent cannot be obtained through threats, coercion, deception or fraud.
- Consent can be revoked at any time.
- Consent cannot be obtained if one party abuses a position of power, trust, or authority.
- It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in physical contact or sexual activity to make sure that they have consent from the other person(s) involved.
- Consent to one sexual act does not constitute or imply consent to a different sexual act.
- Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship status or sexual history together.
- Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, or who is unconscious or otherwise lacks the capacity to give consent.
- If a survivor’s judgement is impaired, consent is not valid.
- If the accused’s judgement is impaired, such that they are lead to believe that there was consent, consent is not valid and impairment is not an excuse.