Ontario's universities stand by Premier Wynne's Action Plan on Sexual Violence, say much work already underway

TORONTO, March 6, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's universities commend Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government for taking decisive and sweeping action against sexual violence, a serious societal problem that should not be tolerated.

The Premier's Action Plan on Sexual Violence takes aim at attitudes, behaviours and culture across all areas of society – in our elementary and secondary schools, our courts, our police forces, our workplaces and our universities and colleges.

"It is only by taking action together and recognizing that sexual violence is an issue for all of us to tackle that we have any hope of eradicating it," says Bonnie M. Patterson, President and CEO of the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), which represents the province's 20 publicly funded universities.

"Universities will continue to do their part, and step up their efforts where they could do more. They will stand by their students and employees, and report back to Ontarians on their progress," Patterson says.

All of Ontario's universities have educational programs, policies and protocols in place to tackle sexual violence and to provide supports for survivors. Through education and awareness campaigns, universities have for many years attempted to end these attacks on personal freedoms and restore a sense of safety for everyone in the university community.

The provincial Action Plan will help universities to build on what is already in place.

"We thank the Premier for her leadership and view her Action Plan as an opportunity to work collaboratively with our students, broader communities and partners to strengthen our efforts to stop sexual violence and find a clearer path to help for survivors," says Patterson.

Quick Facts:

  • All 20 Ontario universities offer the following common supports: a response team, support services, counselling, referrals, a complaints process and prevention education.
  • All 20 universities have a special sexual assault web page clearly laying out their policies and the supports available for survivors.
  • A Reference Group on Sexual Violence was established by COU in November 2014 to advise Ontario universities and provide expert, research-informed advice on effective policies, protocols, practices and supports for survivors.
  • Where appropriate, the Reference Group will provide guidance to the sector on how to implement elements of the Premier's Action Plan on Sexual Violence where collaboration adds value.

Read Bonnie M. Patterson's statement here.

The Council of Ontario Universities 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), Email Wendy McCann, wmccann@cou.on.ca

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