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Key Definitions

Complaint:
A formal report of sexual violence being filed with the Sexual Violence Response Office.

Complainant:
An individual directly impacted by sexual violence or a University representative who has filed a report under this policy.

Consent:
a) Consent means active, ongoing, informed, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity; it cannot be implied or assumed.
b) Consent cannot be given by someone who is incapacitated, unconscious, intoxicated, or otherwise incapable of consenting;
c) Consent can be withdrawn anytime;
d) Consent cannot be obtained through threats, coercion, or other forms of control and intimidation, which includes coercion through abuse of a position of trust, power, or authority and;
e) It is the responsibility of the person who wishes to initiate sexual activity to obtain consent from the other person(s) involved.
f) The definition of consent does not vary based on a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Disclosure:
When an individual who has experienced sexual violence confides in someone about their experience. Disclosure is presumed to be for the purpose of obtaining support and services and/or to learn about options to make a formal report but is different from reporting.

Imminent Risk:
An assessment that an act of harm to an individual or individuals is about to occur or that there is a compelling likelihood that an act of harm will occur.

Rape Culture:
A culture which normalizes, trivializes, and excuses sexual violence or blames survivors for having experienced sexual violence; it can be expressed through dominant societal ideas, prevalent attitudes, social practices, media content, or through institutions which condone sexual violence either implicitly or explicitly.

Report:
When an individual who has experienced sexual violence informs the Sexual Violence Response Office about their experience through a formal process that involves an expectation that formal action will be taken against the respondent. A report includes particulars of the sexual violence (e.g. names, date, details of what occurred). Reports can be made internally to the University or externally to bodies such as police services, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the Human Rights Commission, or through civil actions.

Respondent:
The person whose actions are reported to constitute sexual violence.

Sexual Assault:
Any sexual contact made by a person towards another where consent is not first obtained. It is characterized by a broad range of sexual acts, carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely consented to or is incapable of consenting to sexual activity. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it has been interpreted as an actual or threatened advance, gesture, touch, or any other sexual act to which an individual has not consented. It includes a person being forced to perform sexual acts against their will. It is determined by a lack of consent, and not by the act itself.

Sexual Harassment:
a) Unwanted sexual attention of a persistent or abusive nature, made by a person who knows or ought reasonably to know that such attention is unwanted;
b) The making of an implied or express promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request;
c) The making of an implied or express threat of reprisal, in the form of actual reprisal or the denial of opportunity, for refusal to comply with a sexually oriented request; and/or
d) Sexually oriented remarks and behaviour which may reasonably be perceived to create a negative psychological and emotional environment for work and study.

Sexual Violence:
Any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or 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 and sexual exploitation.

Sexual Violence Response Office (SVRO):
The university office with primary responsibility to assist persons affected by sexual violence. The Sexual Violence Response Office coordinates supports and resources for those who have experienced sexual violence, receives disclosures and complaints, facilitates safety planning, and assists survivors through the complaint process.

Sexual Violence Response Team:
A group of University personnel that ensures appropriate support and services are provided and coordinates effective responses to incidents of sexual violence and conducts risk assessments related to sexual violence. The team is composed of representatives of the Sexual Violence Response Office, Community Safety Department, Office of Student Community Relations, Security Services, Personal Counselling Services, Residence Life and, in cases involving faculty or staff, relevant Human Resources and/or Faculty Relations representatives.

Support person:
A union representative, legal counsel, friend, relative or other person who accompanies an individual reporting sexual violence during the investigation and/or adjudication process.

Survivor:
Someone who has experienced sexual violence. (Although the term survivor is used throughout the Policy, the individual who has experienced sexual violence has the right to determine how they choose to identify and recognize their own experience.)

University Community Member:
A student, staff, administrator, faculty, librarian, member of the Board of Governors or Senate, adjunct or visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellow, volunteer, contractor or invited guest.

Workplace Sexual Harassment:
a) Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, and/or
b) making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.