Ontario Universities Fully Support the Premier's Legislation to End Sexual Violence

Universities share vision of a world where everyone is safe

TORONTO, Oct. 27, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario universities stand behind the action plan introduced in legislation today by Premier Kathleen Wynne to eradicate sexual violence and harassment in all parts of life, including universities.

Universities share Premier Wynne's vision of a world where everyone is safe and have been working hard to build on existing policies and procedures as well as raising awareness and enhancing prevention of sexual violence on campuses.

"Universities believe that sexual violence is never all right, and are stepping up to do their part to respond to a societal problem that we all know is unacceptable," says Bonnie M. Patterson, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), which represents Ontario's 21 publicly funded universities.

"The Premier has laid out a road map to end sexual harassment, and universities are in full support of the plan. They will do everything they can to improve safety on their campuses and to support survivors who we want to know always have somewhere to turn."

Universities are also working together, through a reference group convened by COU, to recommend a system for public reporting of incidents of sexual violence that would be more consistent across the sector.

Ontario's universities have been collaborating with students to review their policies on sexual violence. Many have already posted updated stand-alone policies; those who have not will do so soon.

Universities also continue to share best practices on prevention education, and each launched a series of initiatives to encourage an understanding of consent during this year's orientation activities. Initiatives to promote safety and supports for students will continue throughout the year.

Universities have also made the many supports for survivors, including counselling and the complaints process easier to find on their websites.

COU is the voice of Ontario's universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.

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SOURCE Council of Ontario Universities

For further information: Wendy McCann, Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations, 416-979-2165 ext. 233, 647-271-0825 (Cell), wmccann@cou.on.ca

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