New program supports sexual-violence survivors

By: Gerry Rucchin
February 26, 2019

The Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children (CREVAWC) has co-developed a free and accessible online training program to help employees in post-secondary institutions provide positive support to those who disclose they’re a sexual-violence survivor.

This new program provides guidance for how staff and faculty can intervene and support survivors if they witness or become aware of gender-based sexual violence.

“This training is even more important in the #MeToo era where more and more survivors are feeling empowered to speak up about the violations they have experienced,” said Barb MacQuarrie, CREVAWC Community Director. “We have an ethical responsibility in post-secondary institutions to respond supportively and do no further harm when someone discloses.”

Training program prevents secondary victimization

MacQuarrie added secondary victimization is caused when helping professionals are victim-blaming or unsupportive. Training is important because responding to sexual violence demands specific communication skills, understanding the law, equity issues, intersectionality, the psychological impact of trauma as well as a sense of collective responsibility.

The training has been created for:

  • Faculty
  • Administrative staff
  • Residence, housing and facilities staff
  • Financial services staff
  • Counselling and accessibility support staff and faculty
  • International student recruiters and support staff
  • Indigenous services staff, health
  • Wellness teams
  • Managers

“Supporting students, especially vulnerable students, isn’t intuitive; it requires a set of skills that must be learned and practiced. That is what makes these innovative, engaging modules so timely and important,” said Professor Jeffrey Aaron Weingarten from Fanshawe College and a member of the Advisory Committee.

The new training program comes at an opportune time because universities and colleges have been under intense scrutiny due to sexual violence incidents on campuses.

Advisor Committee members:

  • Brock University
  • Western University
  • University of Toronto
  • York University
  • Windsor University
  • George Brown College
  • Canadian Federation of Students
  • Sault College
  • Fanshawe College
  • Queen's University
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • Nipissing University