FAQs


Western's Gender-Based and Sexual Violence policy and procedures

Does Western have a policy regarding gender-based and sexual violence?

Western’s Policy on Gender-Based and Sexual Violence is the foundation of our commitment to providing and maintaining an environment in which gender-based and sexual violence is not tolerated. Western also has procedures to respond to gender-based and sexual violence to support members of our campus community, regardless of where an incident of sexual violence has occurred.

How does Western define gender-based and sexual violence? Sexual assault? Sexual harassment?

Gender-based and sexual violence is any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity and gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s Consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, cyber harassment and sexual exploitation. Gender-based violence also includes domestic violence, physical abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, and financial abuse.

Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to. Sexual assault is a crime as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada . Sexual assault is a form of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is a form of harassment on the basis of sex, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation that has the effect of creating a poisoned environment (demeaning, intimidating, hostile). Usually present is a pattern of repeated behaviours such as offensive jokes, comments, display of inappropriate materials, or stereotyping. Sexual harassment may also have a quid pro quo element. Quid pro quo means “this for that” and thus, there may be promises of rewards for complying with sexual solicitations or implied threats or actual effects for not complying with sexual demands. Often present in quid pro quo situations is a power imbalance between the parties involved.

Does Western respond to reports of gender-based and sexual violence?

Western introduced a sexual violence policy, along with procedures for responding to incidents of sexual violence in the fall of 2014. A comprehensive website was developed to support the policy and procedures. In January 2016, Western hired a Gender-Based Violence Prevention Education Coordinator, who works in Wellness Education.

In 2018, Western hired a Gender-Based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager who provides support to undergraduate and graduate students at the University, or its affiliates, who have been subjected to gender-based and sexual violence at any time in their life. In 2020 Western released an updated version of the Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Policy.

What is Western doing to prevent gender-based and sexual violence?

Western introduced a sexual violence policy, along with procedures for responding to incidents of sexual violence in the fall of 2014. . In January 2016, Western hired a Gender-based Violence Prevention Education Coordinator, who works in the Wellness Education. In 2018 Western hired a Gender-Based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager who provides support to undergraduate and graduate students at the University, or its affiliates, who have been subjected to gender-based and sexual violence at any time in their life. In 2020 Western released an updated version of the Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Policy.

In summer 2020, Western will be releasing a Gender-based Violence Prevention Framework to support and guide programming that will educate the community and over time, shift culture.

Does Western offer training for students, staff and faculty on gender-based and sexual violence issues?

Western offers training/workshops for all first-year students during Orientation Week. In addition, Residence Life provides additional and on-going training to those living on campus. The University Students' Council and the Society of Graduate Students both offer additional workshops and awareness activities throughout the academic year. Western's staff and faculty receive training on sexual harassment and domestic violence through Western's Safe Campus Community online modules. Additional training and workshop opportunities are offered by individual departments/units.

Consent

What constitutes consent?

Consent is the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. Consent:
  • Is never assumed or implied
  • Is not silence or the absence of "no"
  • Cannot be given if the victim is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or is unconscious
  • Can never be obtained through threats or coercion
  • Can be revoked at any time
  • Cannot be obtained if the perpetrator abuses a position of trust, power or authority.
Consenting to one kind or instance of sexual activity does not mean that consent is given to any other sexual activity or instance. No one consents to being sexually assaulted.

What if I was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident?

You are not to blame. Intoxication and drug use are not an invitation for sexual activity. Without your consent, and capacity to give consent, any sexual activity is sexual violence. Please visit our Get Help page to learn more about how to report an incident of gender-based and sexual violence.


For individuals who have experienced sexual violence

Getting Help

Where can I get help?

Please visit our Get Help page for more information about support and counselling options available to you.

The resources listed above can refer and/or connect you with other appropriate unit/departments to support your academic and employment needs.

Will it be confidential if I talk to someone?

Any questions or concerns about confidentiality should be posed to the individual service/resource member prior to disclosure, if possible. There are requirements under law that may obligate service providers to disclose your information.

Should you contact any off-campus resources, please be sure you understand their confidentiality limits as well. Many resources have their confidentiality statements highlighted on their websites.

Do I have to share the name of the perpetrator/other person(s) if I just want to talk to someone?

No. Western encourages you to seek the support you need. Our services are committed to providing support to you regardless of how you choose to proceed or how much information you decide to share. Because our services will be concerned about your on-going safety and the safety of the community, it is likely that you will be asked for the name of, and some information about, the perpetrator. You are invited to discuss any concerns you have about providing information with the individual/office requesting.

What if I'm not sure what happened was really an act of gender-based and sexual violence?

If there is any question regarding the event, speaking to a professional is prudent. This could be by calling the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program, visiting a physician or counsellor or talking with Western’s Gender-Based Violence and Survivor Support Case Manager, Campus Community Police Service or Equity & Human Rights Services.

Having a conversation with a friend or relative that you are comfortable with may help as well.  Follow your gut, and if you think it was sexual violence, consider speaking with a professional.

Reporting Gender-Based and Sexual Violence

I am a Western student/staff/faculty member. What are my options for reporting gender-based and sexual violence?

Please visit our Reporting page to find more information about how to report an incident of sexual violence.

Non-criminal reports of gender-based and sexual violence are managed by the Student Support & Case Management Office (where the Respondent is student) or Equity & Human Rights Services (where the Respondent is an employee). A report can be made by contacting one of these offices directly or by filling out the online Gender-Based and Sexual Violence Reporting Form.

Criminal Reports are separate and are managed by the applicable police services. Campus Community Police can assist student in connecting with their local police service.

What can I expect once I’ve reported the incident? What are my rights?

You can expect to:

  • Be treated with dignity and respect
  • Be informed about on- and off-campus services and resources
  • Have the right to decide whether or not to access available services and to choose those services the survivor feels will be most beneficial
  • Have access to an on-campus investigation, with the institution’s full cooperation
  • Have access to a safety plan
  • Have access to reasonable and necessary actions to prevent further unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator(s)
  • Be provided alternative living, working or academic arrangements, as appropriate

Please note that while Western hopes your first disclosure to any member of the University community will be helpful and supportive, you are encouraged to contact any of the resources listed on our Reporting page, who will be best able to provide you with all options and review your needs in a comprehensive fashion.

What do I have to disclose to Campus Community Police Service (CCPS)? What happens after I disclose to CCPS?

In the case of sexual assault, if you choose to file a report, CCPS must refer matters to the London Police Service (LPS), or the local police service where the incident occured, for investigation. LPS is responsible for the investigation of sexual assault incidents that occur within the City of London, including at Western. LPS will not investigate a secual assault against your wishes unless the assault occurred within a dating relationship.

In Ontario, Mandatory Charging Policy requires police to investigate and potentially lay charges in cases of domestic violence. If you speak with CCPS about violence that occurred within a dating relationship they are required to inform London Police Services.

Prior to speaking with Campus Community Police Services you may wish to schedule a meeting with the Gender-based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager to understand the differences in reporting sexual assault and domestic violence.

Who do I talk if I want to report sexual harassment?

Equity & Human Rights Services (EHRS) is the office at Western where an individual who has experienced, seen or been told about discrimination and harassment, can seek assistance. EHRS provides support and advice about Western’s policies on non-discrimination and harassment in a safe and confidential setting.  EHRS can also support individuals who have experienced other forms of sexual violence and will ensure the proper referrals are made. 

What if I’m frightened of retaliation for reporting?

We understand that. Western will make all reasonable efforts to ensure your safety and that you will not experience any reprisal or retaliatory behaviour for reporting sexual violence. 

Does it matter when I report gender-based and sexual violence?

A report of sexual violence may be made immediately or whenever you are comfortable making the report. In Canada there is no statute of limitations on filing a criminal report of sexual violence.

In the case of a sexual assault, please be aware that physical evidence may be collected only up to 72 hours after the assault. If you are not sure whether you want to make a report, Western strongly suggests that you seek health care immediately at the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program (SADVTP), located at St. Joseph’s Health Care London. The Centre is able to provide you with the option of collecting forensic (physical) evidence, which may be used at a later date, or not at all. The Centre also offers many other supports and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please see their website for further information.

In the case of sexual harassment, you are always welcome to speak to Equity & Human Rights Services at any point.  However, if you wish to file a complaint and have the behaviour investigated, there is a timeline of one year past the date of the last incident. 

If you wish to file a complaint under the Student Code of Conduct the complaint must occur while the Respondent is still enrolled as a Western student.

Will I be forced to report?

No.  You will not be forced to report or to participate in any process.

What if the incident happened off campus, but the perpetrator/other person is a Western student/staff/faculty member?

You are encouraged to report off-campus incidents involving Western members to the appropriate University authority.  Western would like to ensure you are offered any necessary supports or resources as well as determine whether there is any potential risk to campus safety.

What if the gender-based and sexual violence behaviour occurred online?

If the behaviour occurred online, through email or text or through social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.), please seek support. You may contact either Western’s Gender-Based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager, Equity & Human Rights Services or Campus Community Police Service

Investigations of Gender-Based and Sexual Violence

Will I be forced to participate in an investigation or judicial process?

No, you will not be forced to engage in an investigation, judicial or conduct proceeding. 

Please note, however, that if Western becomes aware of incidents of sexual violence which pose a risk to the safety of members of community, it is required to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the University community.  Thus, it is possible, depending on particular circumstances, that a process may be undertaken without your participation. 

What are the possible outcomes of an investigation?

In the case of a criminal investigation, if there are sufficient grounds to support a criminal charge, you will have the option of criminal charges.  An investigation of a sexual assault is referred to London Police Service. As the victim, you may direct the police to take no further action at any time. In Ontario, Mandatory Charging Policy requires police to investigate and potentially lay charges in cases of domestic violence. Prior to speaking with police you may wish to schedule a meeting with the Gender-based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager to understand the differences in reporting sexual assault and domestic violence.

In the case of an investigation under the Code of Student Conduct, if the investigation is substantiated, the outcome may range from a verbal warning to expulsion from the University. 

Filing a complaint and requesting investigation is also an option under Western’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment policy.  If a breach of this policy is substantiated, the respondent may be subject to Code of Student Conduct discipline (in the case of a student), or discipline as per employee agreements (in the case of faculty or staff). 
 
During any investigation, safety planning and accommodations can be provided.  

When would/will London Police Service (LPS) become involved? How do they work with Campus Community Police Service (CCPS)?

CCPS must notify London Police Service (LPS) of sexual assault incidents. LPS investigates incidents of sexual assault unless the victim/survivor indicates that they do not want them involved. In Ontario, Mandatory Charging Policy requires police to investigate and potentially lay charges in cases of domestic violence. Prior to speaking with police you may wish to schedule a meeting with the Gender-based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager to understand the differences in reporting sexual assault and domestic violence.

LPS will coordinate with CCPS when conducting their investigations to help ensure the safety of the victim/survivor and witnesses.

The person who assaulted me lives on my floor/in the same residence. What should I do? Will I still have to live in the same building as my perpetrator?

You can report to your staff member (RA or Don) or to any staff member in the building.  You may call the Front Desk in your residence and a staff member will be dispatched to you. Alternatively, you can speak directly with the Residence Manager. Residence staff will listen and provide resources. You will be offered the opportunity to speak with Campus Community Police Service and will be encouraged to visit the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program and/or seek counselling. This is your choice. A Residence Manager will follow up with you to ensure you feel safe and have the resources you need.

If there is a safety risk to other residents, Housing staff will follow up with the perpetrator. Possible outcomes for the perpetrator include a mandatory move to a different building, a termination of their residence contract, and/or a Notice of Trespass to residences.

What if my perpetrator is in one of my classes?

If the perpetrator is in one of your classes, arrangements can be made in support of your safety on a temporary basis, pending the outcome of an investigation.  Arrangements may include changing classes, working from home, extensions, etc.  More formal and on-going actions may be undertaken after an investigation (including the perpetrator being permanently removed from the class). 

What if my perpetrator is a colleague or my direct supervisor?

You have the right to a safe working environment. Campus Community Police Service, working with Human Resources (Staff Relations and Rehabilitation Services), will ensure all appropriate and reasonable steps are taken to ensure your safety. 

Health and Medical Needs

Where can I receive medical treatment?

Emergency, as well as non-emergency, care related to sexual violence may be received at:
Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program. Go to St. Joseph’s Health Care London (Urgent Care), 268 Grosvenor Street, London, ON (hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or call 519-646-6100 ext. 64224. After hours call 519 646-6100, press "0" and ask switchboard to page the nurse-on-call for sexual assault and domestic violence.

Non-emergency care is also available for students at Student Health Care (UCC 11), or for employees at Workplace Health (UCC 25).

What if I want the morning-after pill?

The morning-after pill, also known as Plan B, can be obtained in three ways:

  • If you are seen at the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program, they can provide the morning-after pill to you.
  • Any pharmacy, including the on-campus pharmacies, can provide the morning-after pill over the counter after a discussion with the pharmacist.
  • You can book an appointment to see a doctor at Student Health Care or with your own family doctor to discuss options and to get a prescription from that doctor. The prescription’s cost may be covered by your drug plan and that is why a prescription may be beneficial to obtain.

What I’m concerned about sexually transmitted infections /diseases (STIs/STDs)?

If you are seen at the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre, they will conduct this testing.

Also, Student Health Care or your family doctor can provide the full range of STI testing and counselling. After a discussion with a doctor, the tests that could be included are HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis and VDRL (syphilis). If there is any reason why HIV contraction is a concern, medications need to be started within 72 hours of the sexual assault. Some testing needs to be repeated several months after the assault, so future appointments for further testing should be booked as well.

Safety Planning

If I don’t feel safe, how will Western protect me?

Western will assist with you with safety planning. Safety plans typically contain a set of objectives and strategies that you identify to help promote your ongoing safety and to prevent future incidents. These objectives and steps will typically relate to academic, employment, work environment, housing, and social and recreational life both on- and off-campus, where applicable. The plan will include actions that you will take in the event of an immediate physical or emotional threat. Safety plans should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are up-to-date.

I need to take time off of school and/or need to defer a text/exam/assignment because of what happened? Who should I talk to?

The Gender-Based Violence & Survivor Support Case Manager can assist you in reviewing academic options and arrange for accommodations when necessary.

International and off-campus support

What if I experienced gender-based and sexual violence while on exchange in another country? How will Western help me?

Prior to departure, students participating in a Western sanctioned international experience are given pre-departure training and are provided with Campus Community Police Service's (CCPS) 24/7 emergency phone number (519-661-3300). If you experience sexual violence while on exchange, please contact CCPS or your faculty supervisor.

Western’s Vice-Provost International will be informed of the situation and will work directly with CCPS and others at Western to coordinate and assist in the emergency response, with your confidentiality and well-being top of mind. Western will also work with the University’s international partners to provide immediate support in the international location. This may involve coordination and assistance with returning to Canada or with travel to another safe location. It also involves coordinating the appropriate support services you may require once you return to Canada, including counseling, additional care and/or academic accommodations if necessary. If you wish to report the incident to the local police and commence an investigation, CCPS can assist with that process as well. 

What community resources exist in London, Ontario that I can access?

A list of local resources may be found here: http://www.anovafuture.org/support/local-resources/


For those wishing to support individuals who have experienced gender-based and sexual violence

Someone has disclosed to me that they have been the victim of gender-based and sexual violence. What should I do?

First, and most importantly, please ensure you and the victim are safe. A helpful resource about how to help someone can be found on our Help Someone page.