Colleges applaud commitment to improve help-line services for sexual assaults

TORONTO, March 6, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's colleges applaud the Wynne government's announcement today that it will act on the colleges' recommendation to improve provincial help-line services for survivors of sexual assaults.

"Throughout our consultations on a new stand-alone policy on sexual assault for Ontario's colleges, it has been clear that emergency help-line services need to be improved," said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. "The government's announcement today will help strengthen the support available to survivors."

Premier Kathleen Wynne publicly released today the government's provincial action plan to stop sexual violence and harassment in Ontario. The plan includes measures to raise public awareness, improve training throughout the public sector and to improve safety on Ontario's post-secondary campuses and in workplaces.

The plan includes new measures to address a request from college presidents for improvements to emergency help-line services to better support survivors throughout the province. The government's action plan calls for existing help lines to be coordinated and integrated.

Ontario's colleges are currently finalizing a stand-alone policy and protocol that will be publicized at each college by March 31. The colleges have been consulting with students throughout the province and are grateful for the input and advice that has been received.

The college sector has also been consulting with the Ontario Women's Directorate, government officials, OPSEU and others.

Building on existing policies and practices at the colleges, the document includes recommendations for promoting greater awareness at colleges and establishing a clear protocol for responding to cases of sexual assault and violence on college campuses. There is also information about protecting people's privacy and the steps that should be taken if someone witnesses a sexual assault or has learned about a sexual assault.

The stand-alone policy and protocol at each college will enhance the provincial action plan and help ensure that Ontario's colleges are safe and welcoming environments for students and everyone involved in college education.

"This is a priority for every college in the province," Franklin said. "We must ensure that everyone's rights and responsibilities are fully understood and that immediate and effective help is available."

SOURCE Colleges Ontario

For further information: Karen Horsman, Manager, Media Relations and Communications, Colleges Ontario, 647-258-7686, horsman@collegesontario.org

RELATED LINKS
www.collegesontario.org

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