Gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions
Gender-based violence (GBV) persists in Canada. It is preventable and a significant barrier to gender equality. While largely underreported, GBV is prevalent at post-secondary institutions (PSIs) across Canada. In 2014, approximately 261,000 incidents of sexual assault were reported by students, representing 41% of all reported sexual assaults in the country.
In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada committed $5.5 million over 5 years, starting in 2018-2019, for Women and Gender Equality Canada to work with stakeholders, including provinces and territories, to develop a Framework to prevent and address GBV at PSIs.
The Framework will be designed to support the development and implementation of GBV plans and policies. It will contribute to consistent, comprehensive and sustainable approaches to preventing and addressing GBV at PSIs, while recognizing provincial and territorial jurisdiction on post-secondary education.
As a first step in developing the Framework, Women and Gender Equality Canada entered into a contribution agreement with Possibility Seeds Consulting in January 2019. The objective of this project was to engage key stakeholders and develop recommendations.
In August 2019, Possibility Seeds Consulting released its report “Courage to Act: Developing a National Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions”. It was informed by advice from the Advisory Committee on the Framework to Prevent and Address GBV at PSIs and over 300 diverse stakeholders from Listening and Learning engagement sessions. The report identifies recommendations, promising practices and gaps in its three chapters: responding to disclosures of GBV and support for people affected by GBV; GBV prevention education; and reporting, investigations, and adjudication.
With funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada, Possibility Seeds Consulting is now leading the Courage to Act project, which will address the key gaps identified.
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