Campus sexual assault policy paper: a summary


Image by Jason VanBruggen

METRAC’s discussion paper on campus sexual assault policies, covered by the Toronto Star on November 20 (trigger warning), highlights promising practices and challenges in institutional policies on sexual assault committed by and against students. It starts with background research on campus sexual assault as an issue. It moves on to outline results of “snapshot review” of policies from 15 post-secondary institutions across Canada. The review is cursory but suggests that some universities and colleges lack comprehensive policies to deal with sexual assault.

Next, directions for improved and comprehensive policies are outlined based on Canadian and US-based research, articles and reports. The report explains general directions for sexual assault-related policy and more specific directions on policies related to reporting, investigations, adjudications, case outcomes and tracking of complaints. It also notes Canada’s overall legal framework for sexual assault complaints on campuses.

The paper finishes with three large future steps to improve sexual assault policies:

  • a review of all current policies and practices across institutions
  • an examination of the real impact of policy implementation with survivor/victim voices at the forefront
  • implementation of governmental standards that detail institutional responsibilities, protections and rights for survivors/victims, transparency mechanisms and accountability measures

Read the full paper and press release. Also read about METRAC’s work on Campus Safety Audits.