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Sexual Violence Policy Working Group

The Sexual Violence Policy Working Group provides the opportunity for creating an open dialogue around this issue and building and strengthening collaboration among campus partners. The Working Group provides guidance related to processes as well as prevention and awareness initiatives in order to meet the needs of our community.

Fostering community engagement and commitment to addressing sexual violence, all members contribute to creating a community of care and understanding and a foundation for supporting survivors in our community and work towards creating a sustainable strategy to address this systemic issue.

Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

Date: November 2013 | Revised: December 2016


Background

The Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention and Response Policy Working Group was formed in November 2013.  Its initial aim was to support the university’s efforts to create a comprehensive approach to sexual assault on campus and to assist in the development of a policy and procedures for reducing barriers for survivors, supporting the community and raising awareness about the issue through a more integrated education and prevention strategy.

The Working Group’s efforts resulted in the creation of the Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention and Response Policy which was approved by the York University Board of Governors in February 2015. Throughout 2015 and early 2016, the Working Group focused on developing procedures pursuant to the policy.  As that work was underway, the Ontario government announced and passed Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act requiring all Ontario universities to have a stand alone sexual violence policy and, in May 2016 passed regulations detailing the contents of such a policy.

The Working Group’s mandate has been revised in light of Bill 132 and its regulations.

 

Policy Goal

To develop a sexual violence policy that will be part of a cohesive framework for addressing sexual violence on campus aimed at reducing barriers for survivors of sexual violence, supporting the community, and raise awareness about the issue.


Mandate

The Working Group will:

  • oversee the development of the Sexual Violence Prevention, Awareness, and Response Policy and related Procedures.
  • consider and provide input into current policies and practices that directly or indirectly relate to sexual violence including education, awareness, and prevention programming.
  • consult with various community groups regarding the policy/policies and make recommendations with respect to the input provided.
  • research and review policies, procedures, and practices at other post-secondary institutions to identify best practices.
  • review an overall communication strategy around the issue of sexual violence.
  • develop a draft policy in compliance with Bill 132
  • recommend a framework for effective monitoring and evaluating the Policy.
  • advise on the development of a training strategy related to the Policy.
  • outline ongoing community engagement and outreach around sexual violence prevention and awareness, ensuring effective integration on the wider continuum of violence.
  • monitor application of the policy and provide recommendations with respect to amendments and revisions.
  • consult with various stakeholders groups throughout the project and may recommend appointing new committee members as deemed necessary by the committee.

Inclusion Statement

The Sexual Violence  Awareness, Prevention and Response Policy working group promotes an atmosphere of co-operation, diversity, equity and respect. We recognize that everyone’s definition of safety is informed by many factors including gender identity, gender expression, age, race, socio-economic background, ability, culture, language, sexual orientation, creed and/or political persuasion. We recognize that intersectionality can inform the ways in which sexual violence is experienced and the barriers that survivors may encounter.

Members of the working group will always endeavor to conduct themselves in a way that is aligned with the inclusion statement. Members are encouraged to participate in group discussions and share information to help group members understand the various perspectives represented at the table.


Membership

The Office of the Vice-President Finance and Administration will facilitate the policy development process and the working group meetings. The working group, comprised of individuals from across the institution, will lead the University’s efforts in creating the policy and related procedures. The working group will bring together a broad range of skills, expertise and experience needed to develop a policy reflective of the needs of the community.

Within the University, the following groups were identified as playing a key role in the working group’s composition. The working group is comprised of the following members:

  • Chair, Senior Executive Officer, Office of the Vice-President Finance and Administration
  • Advisor, Policy and Programs, Office of the Vice-President Finance and Administration
  • Interim Director, Sexual Violence Response Office / Director, Office of Student Community Relations
  • Vice-Provost Students
  • Vice-Provost Academic
  • Assistant Vice-President Human Resources, Human Resources & Chief HR Officer
  • Executive Director, Community Safety Department
  • Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion
  • Director Community Safety Program and Policy Development, Community Safety Department
  • Director, Communications, Office of the President
  • Advisor, Case Resolution, Centre for Human Rights
  • Director, Student Community & Leadership Development
  • Director, Security Services, Community Safety Department
  • Director, Personal & Crisis Counselling, Counselling and Disability Services
  • University Secretary & General Counsel, Office of the Secretariat and General Counsel
  • Sexual Violence Programs Facilitator, Community Safety Department
  • Policy & Initiatives Coordinator, Sexual Assault Survivors' Support Line & Leadership (SASSL)
  • Representative, Centre for Women & Trans People, Student Organization
  • President, York Federation of Students
  • Vice-President Gender Issues, Graduate Students' Association
  • VP Advocacy, York United Black Students’ Alliance (YUBSA)
  • Coordinator, Access Centre
  • External Coordinator, Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gay Asexual at York (TBLGAY)
  • TBD, Centre for Aboriginal Students' Association at York (ASAY)
  • Representative, United South Asians at York (USAY), Student
  • Vice-Chair, Community Safety Council, Student
  • Representative, Glendon College Students Union

The working group will also consult with various stakeholders groups throughout the project and may recommend appointing new committee members as deemed necessary by the committee.


Meetings Schedule

  • The Working Group will meet bi-weekly or more frequently as needed throughout the course of policy development.  Meetings will take place as needed after the policy has been approved to monitor its implementation.The Office of the Vice-President Finance and Administration will be responsible for scheduling meetings and disseminating the agenda and meeting minutes.

Building Collaboration and Communication - Working Group Membership

A primary goal of the Sexual Violence Policy development process is to cultivate collaboration and improve communication across offices, departments, and services. The Policy is an important aspect of a University’s strategy for addressing sexual violence. However, ongoing commitment and an alignment of approach and values by all the key offices, departments, and student organizations involved in addressing sexual assault will result in the outcome that best supports survivors and best addresses the issue in our community. The policy development process is providing the opportunity to enhance communication and collaboration across service providers and build a cohesion that will ultimately be reflected in the resulting policy and protocol.


Working Group Membership | 2016-2017

  • Rob Castle, Senior Executive Officer, Office of the Vice-President Finance and Administration
  • Elana Shugar, Advisor, Policy and Programs, Office of the Vice-President Finance and Administration
  • Liisa Stephenson, Director, Communications, Office of the President
  • Grace Permaul, Advisor, Case Resolution, Centre for Human Rights
  • Catherine Salole, Director, Student Community & Leadership Development
  • Debbie L. Hansen, Interim Director, Sexual Violence Response Office / Director, Office of Student Community Relations
  • Samina Sami, Executive Director, Community Safety Department
  • Susan Seaby, Director Community Safety Program and Policy Development, Community Safety Department
  • Aldo Altomare, Director, Security Services, Community Safety Department
  • Polly MacFarlane, Director, Personal & Crisis Counselling
  • Maureen Armstrong, University Secretary & General Counsel, Office of the Secretariat and General Counsel
  • Michal Charles, Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion
  • Alice Pitt, Vice-Provost Academic
  • David Coward, Assistant Vice-President Human Resources
  • Jessica Thyriar, Sexual Violence Programs Facilitator, Community Safety Department
  • Siraz Chatha, Policy & Initiatives Coordinator, Sexual Assault Survivors' Support Line & Leadership (SASSL)
  • Roshni Raveenthiran, Representative, United South Asians at York (USAY)
  • Representative, Centre for Women & Trans People
  • Sharon Henry, Vice-President Gender Issues, Graduate Students' Association
  • Khaliq Martin, York United Black Students' Alliance (YUBSA)
  • Chenthoori Malankov, President, York Federation of Students (YFS)
  • Representative, Aboriginal Students’ Association at York (ASAY)
  • Kat Kahnert-Wolchak, Coordinator, YFS Access Centre
  • Representative, Glendon College Students Union
  • Israa Izzeddin, External Coordinator, Trans Bisexual Lesbian Gay Asexual at York (TBLGAY), Vice-Chair, Community Safety Council

Working Group - Meeting Notes