The Office for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education (OSVRSE) provides confidential, non-judgmental and non-directional support to those who have been impacted by sexual or gender-based violence.
We offer support to all members of the McGill community (students, faculty, and staff) who have been impacted by sexual violence, whether it be sexual harassment or assault, gender-based or intimate partner violence, or cyberviolence on or off campus. Services are provided regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, citizenship or immigration status, and of when it happened. Our services are free and are available in French and in English.
Support & advocacy
We are here to support you in the way you choose.
- Listen to you. We offer crisis intervention and short-term counselling.
- Help you connect with the community resources that are right for you (including medical, emotional or psychological, legal).
- Connect you with survivor support activities and groups.
- Assist with academic or workplace accommodations.
If you have been impacted by sexual violence, you have several options. We can help you understand and evaluate those options so that you can choose the option that best meets your needs.
- Information about reporting processes (McGill policies and procedures, security and police services).
- If you choose to report, we can help you initiate reporting processes (internal and external to McGill).
Awareness & prevention
Our office is committed to working towards the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence and fostering a culture of consent at McGill. Responding to and preventing sexual violence begins with critically exploring gender expectations, harmful social norms, and dynamics of power and privilege.
Our education work includes:
Our work is informed by a survivor-centred, feminist and intersectional lens. We support survivors through an approach that is compassionate and respectful of their dignity and autonomy. We recognize that sexual violence and its consequences disproportionately affect members of social groups based on intersecting experiences of oppression. Factors such as age, ability, gender, orientation, race, religion, and culture also have an impact on how people experience and heal from sexual violence and their access to services. Individuals of different identities and experiences may require different forms of support and accommodations. We seek to empower individuals impacted by sexual or gender-based violence in making informed decisions based on their identified needs.
Survivor-centred and intersectional
- Our work is informed by a survivor-centred, feminist and intersectional lens.We recognize that sexual violence and its consequences disproportionately affect members of social groups based on intersecting experiences of oppression. Factors such as age, ability, gender, orientation, race, religion, and culture also have an impact on how people experience and heal from sexual violence and their access to services. Individuals of different identities and experiences may require different forms of support and accommodations.
Non-judgmental and compassionate
- We support survivors through an approach that is compassionate and respectful of their dignity and autonomy. We seek to empower individuals impacted by sexual or gender-based violence in making informed decisions based on their identified needs. We take a non-judgmental approach to support and will not judge your experience, your reaction, and any other aspect of your healing process.
- We believe that you are in charge of your own healing process. The path you choose is your decision. We will listen to you and support you, we will answer your questions, and we will not put any pressure on you. In short, we will give you the tools to evaluate your options but the decisions are entirely up to you. We will support you, regardless of your choices.
We consider confidentiality to be of the utmost importance. Our interactions and what you tell us will be kept entirely confidential, and you can access support without being required to make a formal report or complaint. With your consent, we will disclose information necessary to coordinate services and/or accommodations with other individuals or offices at McGill.
The limits to confidentiality are as follows:
- If there is an imminent threat of death or serious physical harm to yourself or another person;
- If a minor’s security or development is or may be compromised;
- If a judge subpoenas your records.
If one of these situations occurs, you will be informed and supported at every step.
Please note that the confidentiality offered by different offices or individuals will vary depending on their role and obligations. For example, individuals who hold investigative or disciplinary positions may be required to take action if there is evidence of sexual violence in the public realm, such as videos or pictures on social media, or if measures need to be taken to protect the safety of the McGill community. You have the right to ask about the level of confidentiality you can expect before disclosing any information.
We maintain annual statistics on incidents of sexual violence disclosed to the OSVRSE and services offered by our office. The data does not include any identifying information. We do this for the purposes of education and to continually improve the services we offer the McGill community. Statistics on disclosures received by the OSVRSE are also part of the annual report on McGill's Policy Against Sexual Violence presented to the Senate and Board of Governors.
The OSVRSE participates in various committees and initiatives related to sexual and gendered violence both here at McGill and in the larger Montréal community.
- McGill's Sexual Violence Implementation Committee
- The Senate Subcommittee on Women
- "It Takes All of Us" Program Work Group
- Table de concertation sur les agressions à caractère sexuel de Montréal
- Sustainable Workplace Certification
- Courage to Act
McGill's Policy against Sexual Violence Implementation Committee
The OSVRSE is a member of McGill's Policy against Sexual Violence implementation committee. Learn more about the committee's membership composition and central activities by continuing to the web page here.
The Senate Subcommittee on Women
- Advocacy of women’s rights and promotion of women
- Initiation and consolidation of women’s activities
- Liaison and networking for women
OSVRSE staff are one of the 20 active members.
"It Takes All of Us" Program Work Group
In 2019, McGill implemented its first mandatory, online and university-wide sexual violence education program.
The OSVRSE sits on the first-year implementation Work Group to provide guidance and feedback on the program rollout using trauma informed and survivor-centered perspectives.
Table de concertation sur les agressions à caractère sexuel de Montréal
The Table de concertation sur les agressions à caractère sexuel de Montréal (TCACSM) is an association of regional organizations dedicated to promoting and fostering respect for the rights of sexual assault victims. By fostering the exchange of information and cooperation among resources, the TCACSM seeks to promote and consolidate high-quality services in Montréal.
Sustainable Workplace Certification
The Sustainable Workplace Certification Program challenges staff and students throughout McGill University to foster healthier, more environmentally-friendly, and connected workplaces and events through individual and collective practices.
The program targets areas such as:
- Choosing more environmentally-friendly and socially responsible supplies
- Proper reusing and recycling
- Promoting health and wellbeing
- Learning more about how to make spaces more accessible to everyone
In 2019, the OSVRSE received certification for our Trauma-Sensitive Yoga workshops. Moreover, the OSVRSE Peer Educator Team has been certified at the Bronze Level and at the Silver Level for their Self Care Through Crafting events. Our office continually plans and organizes initiatives throughout the year with sustainability and accessibility in mind.
Courage to Act
Courage to Act is a two-year national initiative to address and prevent gender-based violence on post-secondary campuses in Canada. It builds on the key recommendations within Possibility Seeds vital report Courage to Act: Developing a National Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions. With a team of experts from across Canada, Courage to Act develops tools, creates resources and shares strategies in the first national collaborative of its kind to take action on gender-based violence on post-secondary campuses.
The OSVRSE is participating in the Frontline Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Community of Practice, a community for campus frontline-workers to explore promising practices to providing support and response to gender-based violence on campuses.