The Ontario Government is working alongside colleges and universities to help prevent sexual violence on Ontario college and university campuses. A summary report entitled the 2018 Student Voices and Sexual Violence survey was released this Wednesday by Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, who currently serves as the Minister Of Training, Colleges, and Universities. The report contains numerous intuition-level summaries and will hopefully give postsecondary schools the information they need to combat sexual violence.

The identity of those who participated in the survey will be protected by the Minister who is working alongside the Information and Privacy Commissioner to supply the institutions with as much information as possible about the subject while ensuring those who participate are protected. 

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"Our government takes the safety and well-being of our students seriously," explained Fullerton. "Our postsecondary institutions have a responsibility to protect students and must do everything possible to ensure campuses are free from sexual violence. Our government has zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and any other form of violence in our communities." 

This is the list of immediate actions to be taken by the government on the issue:

  • Require every publicly-assisted college and university to report annually to its board of governors on a number of measures related to the experiences of and support for students who have experienced sexual violence.
  • Doubling the government's 2018-19 investment in the Women's Campus Safety Grant to assist colleges and universities in supporting the prevention of sexual violence.
  • Require every publicly-assisted college and university in Ontario to have a task force devoted to tackling sexual violence on campus. The task force would include diverse student representatives and be required to report its findings to both their respective Board of Governors as well as to the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities.
  • Require every publicly-assisted college and university in Ontario to review their sexual violence policies, by September 2019.

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Destroying the stigma around sexual assault and allowing people’s voices to be heard is vital, especially when it comes to the young and vulnerable. Last year's #MeToo Movement saw a drastic shift in public awareness about the problem, but there is still lots of work to be done. The Ontario government's new initiative is definitely a step in the right direction.

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