Last update: March 22, 2016 by Vicky Tran

Our commitment

UBC is committed to supporting the wellbeing of all members of our community. The University recognizes that sexual assault and intimate partner violence are significant issues on our campus and in universities across Canada.

For members of our community who have experienced sexual assault, the University is committed to providing compassionate, non-judgemental, and respectful support including access to information and support services, and provision of academic or work-related accommodations and safety planning.

On this page:

We are committed to:

  • Being a community that cares
  • Responding swiftly and respectfully to incidents of sexual assault on our campuses
  • Providing support that respects individual agency
  • Fostering a safe and inclusive learning, working, and living environment
  • Being an active contributor to conversations and actions aimed at ending sexual violence

A critical role

On a broad level, sexualized violence is a reflection of societal issues more widely present in North American culture. Educational institutions have a special opportunity to help our students, in fact all members of our community, learn to engage in critical analysis that enables them to identify, address, and respond to the systemic nature of oppression that surrounds us all.

By educating all community members – from senior University administrators to students – universities can create a campus culture that addresses sexual violence head-on, ensure that community members are active bystanders in the prevention of sexual violence in all the roles they have, and respond to survivors of sexual assault in a caring and respectful manner. Universities can also equip students as future leaders with the tools and knowledge to effect change in their communities, and contribute to conversations and actions addressing sexual violence in society.

Overview of our work

As part of an ongoing course of action, UBC is continuing to support survivors and is working to prevent sexual violence by addressing systemic issues and developing educational initiatives to further develop a safe, respectful, and inclusive campus culture. UBC is focused on strengthening the support systems we have so survivors have clear options for accessing services and reporting, and members of the campus community know how to respond effectively and compassionately to survivors.

Delivering on our commitment

1. Supporting survivors

Overview

Sexual assault is a serious crime and is never the fault of the survivor. UBC’s emerging system-wide approach to sexual assault prevention and response is framed by a series of core commitments that reflect current practice as well as our aspirations as a community.

Commitment to a responsive and supportive community

UBC’s priority is the safety, health, and wellbeing of all members of our community. UBC has a wide range of support services available to survivors of sexual assault and those members of our community supporting them. We are committed to ensuring that survivors have access to the support, resources, and information they need to decide how they want to proceed with getting support, accommodations, and reporting their experience.

We believe that everyone in our community has a role to play in creating a caring and supportive campus culture. The University is committed to making information and educational resources available to all community members to ensure we are collectively in a position to provide survivors with the supportive, responsive, and understanding environment they deserve.

Commitment to supporting survivors

All survivors who disclose or report their experience to the University will be provided with compassionate, non-judgemental, and respectful support. They will be provided with information on reporting options and University disciplinary processes without having to provide details of their experience.

The University is committed to ensuring survivors who disclose to the University have access to the information they need to make decisions that are right for them, and that survivors are the ones who lead the process at all times.

Regardless of whether or not a student chooses to report, UBC will provide safety planning, academic, and work-related accommodations as well as access to on- and off-campus support services.

Commitment to campus safety

UBC aims to foster a campus climate and culture that promotes respect, inclusivity, and safety for all members.

The University is committed to protecting privacy, as this is fundamental to creating a process that will enable survivors to feel safe when reporting sexual violence.

Commitment to social change

UBC is committed to working closely with community organizations and will contribute to eliminating sexualized violence through creating awareness and implementing proactive educational initiatives.

Organizational structures in place to support survivors

UBC has an extensive network of support services, resources, and systems in place to support survivors of sexual assault. The University also works with community agencies to ensure survivors of sexual assault have many options to choose from when seeking support. The survivor will always be the decision-maker on when and what supports they choose to pursue. Regardless of which on-campus support service a survivor starts with, they will seamlessly be connected to other on-campus support services or resources they choose to use.

UBC’s network of support for survivors of sexual assault:

Information on sexual assault, as well as information about the support services and resources available to support students, is posted on students.ubc.ca and linked to and from facultystaff.students.ubc.ca.

Actions we’re undertaking

UBC is undertaking several concurrent strategies designed to support a culture on campus that fosters a respectful environment, and specifically improves policy and practice to address sexual assault and sexual harassment.  These strategies are as follows:

  1. The development of a Sexual Assault Policy, a first draft of which will be ready for review and consultation in June 2016.
  2. The establishment of a University Panel to provide high level advice on a Sexual Assault Policy, due to report in April 2016.
  3. The support of a faculty-led consultation process with our academic community.

In addition, Paula Butler has been engaged to undertake a review of the policy and process that was followed in relation to a specific case of sexual harassment and sexual assault.  The review began in December 2015 and a report will be provided to the President in February 2016.

All of these actions will contribute to a broad and robust Action Plan for the next three years that moves well beyond policy and procedure to strengthen processes that will help to shape a campus culture founded on respectful, responsible and professional behaviour.

UBC is also developing a number of new resources for the University community. These include:

  • UBC Sexual Assault Response and Support Protocol – designed to ensure the UBC campus community has the information and tools to respond appropriately and provide support for members of the community who have been sexually assaulted.
  • Sexual Assault Reporting Options, Including the UBC Non-Academic Discipline Process – a resource for student survivors of sexual assault as they consider their options for reporting.
  • Assisting Student Survivors: A Resource for Faculty and Staff – a two-page printed resource designed to help faculty and staff members have a respectful and supportive conversation with a student who chooses to disclose being sexually assaulted.

2. Education and culture

UBC Sexual Assault Intervention and Prevention Education
Education Plan

Raising awareness of issues related to sexual violence, promoting healthy and respectful relationships, and fostering individual and collective action against violence are critical to developing a safe and respectful culture at UBC and beyond.

The Sexual Assault Prevention Team is charged with developing a holistic and comprehensive University-wide approach to sexual violence prevention and intervention at the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. The team, through ongoing consultation with the campus community and campus experts, is committed to an evidence-based approach to prevention and intervention as outlined in the Education Plan.

Document: UBC Sexual Assault Intervention and Prevention Education, 2015/16 Education Plan

Goals
  1. Reduce the incidence of sexual assault, notably through creating a culture of bystander intervention

  2. Promote healthy, respectful, consensual relationships

  3. Support the successful implementation of UBC’s Sexual Assault Protocol

  4. Create a safe and respectful campus environment, and foster the University community’s capacity to engage critically with systemic causes of sexual violence

The work

The Education Plan is built on a framework that spans awareness-raising and behaviour change. A wide spectrum of education and intervention initiatives makes it possible to reach a range of unique audiences. One key focus of the Education Plan will be training for first responders.

Examples of the work
  • Passive programming such as the Consent Campaign, designed to increase perception of issues

  • Events such as Panel Discussions, designed to increase deeper understanding and impact of issues while empowering the community to find solutions

  • Workshops such as Active Witnessing to Prevent Sexual Assault to increase skill development for action

  • Intensive Facilitator Training, such as Responding to a Disclosure of Sexual Assault, to facilitate direct support and positive community behaviour

Membership of Sexual Assault Prevention Team

Janet Mee, University Co-Lead, Sexual Assault Intervention and Prevention Education, Vancouver Campus

CJ Rowe, University Co-Lead, Sexual Assault Intervention and Prevention Education, Vancouver Campus

Emily Monaghan, UBC Women’s Centre, Vancouver Campus

Blessing Olukemi Falayi, UBC Women’s Centre, Vancouver Campus

Mairead Cavinaw,  UBC Women’s Centre, Vancouver Campus

Amanda Unruh, Health Services (Wellness), Vancouver Campus

Rachael Sullivan, Equity and Inclusion Office, Vancouver Campus

Jenica Frisque, Equity and Inclusion Office, Okanagan Campus

Alex Reid, Residence Life, Okanagan Campus

Gregory Mather, Campus Life, Okanagan Campus

Tiffany Mintah, Residence Life, Vancouver Campus

Jenna Omassi, Alma Mater Society (AMS), Vancouver Campus

Daniel Levangie, AMS Executive Director, Vancouver Campus

Shannon Dunn, Non-Academic Misconduct Committee, Okanagan Campus

Michelle Lowton, Student Development and Advising, Okanagan Campus

Natasha Malloff, Health, Wellbeing and Benefits, Vancouver Campus

Vicky Tran, Student Communications Services, Vancouver Campus

Ashley Bentley, AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre, Vancouver Campus

Cheryl Washburn, Counselling Services, Vancouver Campus

Melissa Feddersen, Health and Wellness, Okanagan Campus

Tobias Friedel, Graduate Student Society (GSS), Vancouver Campus

Chad Hyson, Student Conduct & Safety, Vancouver Campus