McGill’s New Survivor-Focused Sexual Violence Policy Reinforces Prevention, Support and Response

News

Published: 28Mar2019

McGill University’s Board of Governors has adopted its new Policy against Sexual Violence, confirming the University’s commitment to ensuring that its campuses are free of acts of sexual violence. To support the Policy, the University has dedicated substantial resources – including three full-time staff members and an independent special investigator – dedicated to fostering safe, respectful, and inclusive learning and work environments for all. Revisions respond to the needs of the McGill community and bring the Policy into line with the requirements of Quebec legislation to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions.

“This new Policy is the result of an in-depth and collaborative review process involving representatives from 20 different McGill associations and offices representing students, faculty, and staff,” underlined Professor Angela Campbell, Associate Provost, Equity and Academic Policies. “Now that the University’s Senate and Board of Governors have adopted the Policy, we can further reinforce prevention, response, and support for survivors of sexual violence. Our work on implementing the revised Policy begins immediately. The Policy will be subject to ongoing review to ensure its continued effectiveness.”

McGill Names Independent Special Investigator

One of the key changes brought about by the new Policy is the creation of a centralized reporting procedure led by an independent special investigator. McGill is the first university in Quebec to name an independent expert to receive reports and complaints of sexual violence from survivors and lead independent and impartial investigations.

Me Caroline Lemay was appointed McGill’s Special Investigator in September 2018 to provide input in the development of the reporting procedure and to meet with different campus groups to listen to the needs and concerns of the McGill community. She is a well-respected lawyer, mediator, and investigator, who has extensive experience in human rights, sexual violence, and conflict-prevention and resolution.

A Survivor-Focused Policy

McGill’s revised Policy addresses many of the concerns raised by students since the adoption of its first Policy against Sexual Violence in 2016. Members of teaching staff are now prohibited from entering into a romantic or sexual relationship with students over whom they have authority or influence. The Policy also sets out the reporting process for, and disciplinary consequences of, such relationships.

Second, to remove barriers to disclosing acts of sexual violence, the Policy ensures all sexual violence survivors receive full and unequivocal support from the Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education (OSVRSE). There are now no time limits for reporting an act of sexual violence.

Finally, as of Fall 2019, online training for faculty, staff and students will be mandatory. This online training is in addition to the in-person sessions delivered on campus by OSVRSE. All members of the University community must have completed this online training within the academic year. All units within McGill will be engaged in ensuring full adherence to this requirement.

For media inquiries contact:
Prof. Angela Campbell
Associate Provost (Equity & Academic Policies)
514-398-1660
angela.campbell [at] mcgill.ca

Sinead Hunt
Senior Employment & Inclusion Advisor
514-398-6419
sinead.hunt [at] mcgill.ca

Vincent Campbell Allaire
Media Relations Office
T: 514-398-6693 / C: 514-704-6693
vincent.allaire [at] mcgill.ca