Sexual Assault-and-Violence

Category: Governance
Number: GOV-100-018
Audience: All members of the University community
Issued: September 15, 2015
Owner(s): Provost and Vice-President (Academic), VP (Administration)
Approved by: Board of Governors
Contact: AVP (Student Affairs) - 306-585-4743 and Director (Security and Operations) - 306-585-4655

Introduction

This document sets out the University’s policy on and response protocol for allegations of sexual assault-and-violence. This policy ensures that those who report sexual assault-and-violence are given the opportunity to be heard and to have their rights and medical needs respected. The processes are intended to protect the rights of survivors and hold accountable those who have committed an act of sexual assault-and-violence.

All members of the University of Regina community have the right to work, teach and study in an environment that is free from any form of sexual assault-and-violence. The University also recognizes that all persons have an inherent right to exercise control over their own bodies, and to engage only in sexual activity in which they consent to engage.

Sexual assault-and-violence is a criminal offence. It violates the integrity and dignity of a person and it can have serious negative impacts on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The University does not tolerate behaviour which contributes to a hostile, inequitable and/or unsafe living, learning or working environment. The University expects all members of the University community to abide by all laws, including those related to sexual assault-and-violence.

This policy applies to all members of the University of Regina community:
(a) whether the sexual assault-and-violence is alleged to have occurred on or off University property or at a University event; AND
(b) where either the respondent or both the complainant and respondent are any of the following:

  • students,
  • staff,
  • faculty,
  • volunteers,
  • administrators,
  • members of the Board of Governors or the Senate
  • University visitors,
  • University contractors, and
  • Employees of organizations representing University employees when on University property, while acting in a capacity defined by their relationship to the University.

Sexual harassment is addressed in the Respectful University Policy.

An investigation under this policy and the processes will neither replace nor impede a criminal investigation of sexual assault-and-violence. All persons have the right to pursue legal avenues whether or not they choose to proceed under this policy. All persons also have the right to forego criminal and University reporting avenues, opting to choose confidential disclosure to a counselor for ongoing support. Criminal processes and findings in respect of the alleged sexual assault-and-violence do not limit or prohibit the ability of the University to act under this policy and its associated processes, as well as other policies and procedures of the non-academic discipline system.

Definitions

Consent - Consent is as defined in the Criminal Code:

"The voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. No consent is obtained, where:

  1. the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant;
  2. the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;
  3. the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
  4. the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity; or
  5. the complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.”

The Canadian Criminal Code age of consent is 16 years old. Any child under 12 is never able to give consent.

To clarify, the Criminal Code definition set out above, with respect to consent:

  • Silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as consent and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate.
  • A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. is not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in the sexual activity is not consenting to it.
  • A person who is drugged is unable to consent.
  • A person is unable to give consent when they are impaired and under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Similarly, impaired judgment that leads an assailant to think or believe there was consent is not excuse for a sexual assault-and-violence.
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability.
  • The fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual or dating relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity.
  • A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter.

Policy

The University should be a safe and positive space where members of the University community feel able to work, teach, live, learn and express themselves in an environment free from all forms of sexual assault-and-violence. In furtherance of this objective the University will provide primary prevention activities focused on education and communication, as well as secondary prevention in the form of early response.

All reported incidents of sexual assault-and-violence will be investigated to the best of the administration’s ability and in a manner that ensures due process and natural justice. The University strives to create an environment in which reporting sexual assault-and-violence is as safe and as comfortable as possible. While reporting a sexual assault-and-violence may be difficult for an individual, the University aims to foster an environment in which no one feels uncomfortable about making a report in good faith about a sexual assault-and-violence that they have experienced or witnessed.

The University recognizes that sexual assault-and-violence can occur between individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity or relationship status. It is also recognized that individuals who have experienced sexual assault-and-violence may experience emotional, physical, academic or other difficulties.

The University is committed to:

  1. treating individuals who disclose a sexual assault-and-violence with compassion, recognizing that there is no right way to survive sexual violence and that this means that, more than anything, survivors need to be supported and might require different services, resources, and supports at different stages of their recovery process;
  2. assisting those who have experienced sexual assault-and-violence by providing information and support, including provision of and/or referral to counselling and medical care, and appropriate academic and other accommodation;
  3. ensuring that those who disclose that they have been sexually assaulted are heard, and that their rights are respected throughout the process of disclosure, investigation and institutional response;
  4. ensuring that survivors of sexual assault-and-violence can choose to participate in the continuum of recovery, investigation, and disciplinary processes with the accused at any level at which they feel comfortable (this could mean with the accused present or not);
  5. ensuring that on-campus (internal) investigation processes are available for those survivors who choose not to make a report to the police;
  6. engaging in appropriate procedures for investigation and adjudication of an alleged sexual assault-and-violence which are in accordance with University policies and standards, and that ensure fairness, due process and natural justice;
  7. coordination and communication across University departments and a support team responsible for responding to sexual assault-and-violence on campus;
  8. engaging in public education and prevention activities including providing appropriate education and training to the University community about responding to the disclosure of sexual assault-and-violence;
  9. providing information to the University community about sexual assault-and-violence on campus through the coordinated collection of data and, from time to time, making announcements that explain that an incident has occurred and that emphasize safety;
  10. contributing to the creation of a campus atmosphere in which sexual assault-and-violence is not tolerated; and,
  11. monitoring and updating policies and protocols.

The University also has an obligation to the University community to protect it from harm. As such, the University reserves the right to initiate an internal investigation and/or inform the police of the need for a criminal investigation, even without the consent of the survivor, if the University believes that the safety of the University community is at risk.

Roles and Responsibilities

Campus Security will serve as the office of record for maintaining confidential reports of sexual assault-and-violence and, in partnership with Health, Safety and Environment, will track, report on and institute prevention measures, as appropriate.

  • Reports will not include personal identification information, other than as required or permitted under this policy or The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  • Reports will include information about time and location of an incident of sexual assault-and-violence, as well as any other pertinent information as expressly permitted by the complainant.
  • All records will be stored confidentially and be used only for tracking and reporting incidents, and for improving prevention and protection measures within the University community and a support team responsible for responding to sexual assault-and-violence on campus.

Campus Security will further provide education supports to the University community in terms of online presence and sexual assault-and-violence reporting processes, training for staff and faculty in sexual assault-and-violence prevention and response, and coordination of training resources. The Regina Police Liaison Officer may be involved in reports of sexual assault at the request of a survivor.

Harassment, Discrimination Prevention & Conflict Resolution Services and Student Affairs will serve as support to survivors for both counseling and formal/informal investigations of sexual assault-and-violence. Student Affairs is further responsible for coordinating prevention and awareness education through general student and residence orientation.

URSU and its UR Women’s Centre and UR Pride Centre will provide informal counseling and peer support.

The Student Success Centre and Centre for Student Accessibility will provide academic support for students who have been affected by sexual assault-and-violence, helping students to navigate academic accommodations and supplemental needs.

Residence Services will provide education and awareness training so that all residence advisors, life coordinators and staff are aware of sexual assault-and-violence prevention opportunities and how to appropriately respond to incidents of sexual assault-and-violence that involve residents of and visitors to the University residences.

The University community will have the opportunity to access training and educational supports in order to better understand how to respond to reports of sexual assault-and-violence made to them and/or that they witness. Members of the University community will be provided with resources to guide their responses in the event of someone making a report to them or in the event that they are sexually assaulted, and to support a culture of sexual assault-and-violence prevention.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Investigations will lead to a decision and consequences will follow in those instances where a sexual assault-and-violence is deemed to have occurred.  A member of the University community who is found to have committed or participated in a sexual assault-and-violence will be subject to the University’s administrative processes and discipline systems.  Disciplinary action up to and including termination of the member’s position with the University or, in the case of a student, a penalty (up to and including expulsion and a ban from the University) as determined under the Regulations Governing Discipline for Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct (Section 5.13 of the Undergraduate Calendar)may be taken.

This Policy and the processes are complementary to, and not substitutes for, the civil and criminal legal systems, The Saskatchewan Employment Act and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code

Processes

Sexual Assault-and-Violence Awareness and Education

Education of students, staff, and faculty through a variety of venues, learning opportunities, and training resources is essential for enhancing a culture of safety and preventing sexual assault-and-violence. Prevention activities such as a bystander intervention program, working with our communities on education about masculinities, gendered violence and vulnerable populations, and delivering broad-based and targeted education and awareness campaigns (including orientation activities and regular articles in “Student Health 101” and/or similar online resources) are essential for building a respectful working, learning, living environment.

The University will develop and implement appropriate activities related to education and awareness, training resources, physical space design and coordination, and a culture of safety.

Training resources for anyone who attends campus (e.g., visitors, contractors) regardless of their affiliation to the University will also be made available and easily accessible online.

Reporting and Responding to Sexual Assault-and-Violence

Members of the University community should immediately (or at a time when they feel comfortable and safe to do so) report incidents of sexual assault-and-violence to a trusted University employee or to Campus Security when they are subject to, witness or have knowledge of a sexual assault-and-violence, or have reason to believe that sexual assault-and-violence has occurred or may occur.

Reporting Process and Investigations

A report of sexual assault-and-violence can be made under this policy by any member of the University community and relevant third parties (e.g., contractors and visitors). Reports can be filed with Campus Security (and/or the Regina Police Liaison Officer), Counselling Services, or Human Resources.

The University will seek to achieve procedural fairness in dealing with all reports or allegations of sexual assault-and-violence. It is intended that accused individuals be given reasonable notice, with full detail of the allegations, and are provided with an opportunity to answer the allegations made against them.

At least one staff person in Campus Security will serve to coordinate responses of reports of sexual assault-and-violence making use of a team of experts and a collaborative protocol to best meet the needs of survivors during their recovery process. The lead staff or unit of a support team will be determined on a case-by-case basis, as required for the survivor’s recovery process. Such team may include University counselors from Harassment, Discrimination Prevention and Conflict Resolutions Services, the Regina Police Service Liaison officer, members of Campus Security, and other experts as required. This same staff person will lead training and resource development opportunities for the University community.

Interim Measures

Depending on the circumstances, interim measures may be taken while an allegation of sexual assault-and-violence is being investigated, including “no contact” undertakings with the alleged assailant, on or off-campus safety planning, class scheduling and other academic accommodations, and/or workplace accommodations.

The University may impose or facilitate interim measures to restrict access to some University facilities by the alleged assailant where the University determines there may be a safety risk.  If either the complainant or the respondent assailant is a student living in residence, the University may take immediate steps to protect the survivor and potential witnesses, the University community, or any of its members. For instance, the University may deem it necessary to provide the complainant and/or the respondent with alternative housing assignments during an investigation. 

If either the complainant or respondent is an employee of the University, Human Resources may impose or facilitate interim measures such as moving the respondent to a different department or placing the respondent on an administrative leave of absence pending resolution of the complaint. For academic staff, a Dean or delegate may need to impose appropriate interim measures in consultation with Human Resources. Further, support from URFA/CUPE and the Employee Assistance Plans are available.

Right to Withdraw a Reported Incident

At any time in the process, someone making a report has the right to withdraw from that process without consequences to their University status and activities. However, the University may continue to act on the issue identified in the report in order to comply with its obligation under this policy and/or its legal obligations. In the event that the University is required by law to report the allegation of sexual assault-and-violence to legal authorities (such as Social Services or the police), the person submitting the report will be advised of this requirement.

Protection from Reprisals, Retaliation or Threats

It is contrary to this policy for anyone to retaliate, engage in reprisals or threaten to retaliate against a person filing a report or other individual for:

  • having pursued rights under this policy, the Criminal Code, or any other law;
  • having participated or co-operated in an investigation under this policy, the Criminal Code  or any other law; or
  • having been associated with someone who has pursued rights under this policy, the Criminal Code, or any other law.

Anyone engaged in such conduct may be subject to sanctions and/or discipline. 

False Statements and Accusations

Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or accusation in connection with an investigation under this policy will be in violation of this policy and is subject to disciplinary action. False statements include statements that omit a material fact, as well as statements that the speaker/writer knows to be untrue. False accusations include accusations that are not based on material fact or honesty.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is particularly important to those who have disclosed a sexual assault-and-violence. The University does its best to respect the confidentiality of all persons, including the person submitting the report or making an allegation, the respondent and witnesses.

However, confidentiality cannot be assured in the following circumstances:

  • an individual is at imminent risk of self-harm;
  • an individual is at imminent risk of harming another;
  • there are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the University or in the wider community may be at risk of harm; and/or
  • subject to Section 12 of The Child and Family Services Act, which states that "every person who has reasonable grounds to believe that a child is in need of protection shall report the information to an officer or peace officer".

In such circumstances, information will be shared only with such persons whose intervention is necessary to prevent harm. The names of those involved will not be released to the public.

Where the University becomes aware of an allegation of sexual assault-and-violence by a member of the University community against another member of the University community, University administrators, including Campus Security, will be informed about the reported incident on a “need to know” and confidential basis.

Related Information

Resources