The iMPACTS project is a multi-year, collaborative and multidisciplinary research initiative seeking to address sexual violence in the sphere of higher education, in Canada and internationally. As part of the wide-ranging project, a research team based at the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism is exploring the legal and quasi-legal dimensions of the problem of sexual violence on higher education campuses, with a focus on the role and responsibilities of higher education institutions in creating safe and inclusive environments. The team’s research has resulted in two bibliographies that are available for public use, a forthcoming podcast, and a forthcoming academic article.
The research team conducted a comprehensive review of case law, policies, and legal research related to sexual violence on university campuses. The resulting annotated bibliography is available as a resource for the public, students, professionals and academics.
Many activists, survivors, and scholars have turned to multimedia and the arts to express views and capture perspectives on the problem of sexual violence in higher education. To best illustrate the full range of perspectives and content on this issue, the research team created a separate bibliography of non-academic and multimedia sources. The bibliography contains a selected list of non-academic sources, including news articles, podcasts, online exhibitions, poetry, and novels.
The CHRLP research team is producing a documentary podcast which digs into the responses of Quebec universities to the problem of sexual violence.
In 2016-2017, the Quebec Ministry of Education and Higher Education engaged in a series of consultations with higher education stakeholders on the problem of sexual violence in universities. In 2017, following in-depth reports by a team of Québécois researchers, the Quebec government passed a law requiring universities to adopt gender-based sexual violence (GBSV) policies and codes of conduct. Quebec legislation now sets minimal standards regarding what those policies should include and how sexual violence on campus should be handled by universities.
In a documentary podcast series, the research team investigates:
- Whether this legislative shift - giving more proactive responsibility to universities to tackle GBSV - has been effective
- Whether any factors are hindering the concrete application of the policies, resulting in implementation gaps, and
- What are the paths forward for an effective decrease in GBSV, considering best practices developed in other parts of Canada and in other OECD countries.
Our analysis is grounded in the understanding that GBSV in the academic context is not only about deviant individual behaviours but happens in a context of gendered hierarchies, as well as multiple and overlapping structural inequalities linked, for example, to race, age, disability, social class, sexual identity and orientation.
Clarisse Delaville (DCL candidate, McGill Faculty of Law)
Raina Young (BCL/JD candidate, McGill Faculty of Law)