Minister hopes national standards will stop sexual violence on campuses

January 17, 2019
Article Source
Montreal Gazette

The federal minister for women and gender equality will meet Wednesday in Montreal with a newly appointed advisory committee tasked with developing a blueprint for how Canada’s colleges and universities should prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

“Gender-based violence is persistent in Canada and it’s costing us money and it’s scarring individuals and families and communities,” Maryam Monsef told the Montreal Gazette in a telephone interview Tuesday. “It is preventable.”

She said that gender-based violence is prevalent in post-secondary institutions across Canada, noting that 41 per cent of all reported sexual assaults in Canada are reported by students. But at this time, she said, there is no national standard for how institutions should provide support for survivors or work to prevent gender-based violence on campus.

“When parents and grandparents send their kids off to post-secondary institutions, they do so with high hopes. … The last thing any parent wants or can be prepared for is: ‘What happens when my child experiences sexual assault on campus?’ ” Monsef said.

“What this framework will do is bring together all the voices of those affected and all the best practises that exist to ensure that … regardless of whether their child is studying in the West, East or Central Canada, they will receive the same level of care and support. There will be accountability and investigations and policies that don’t further traumatize their loved ones.”

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