Framework to end gender-based violence on campuses will be the first of its kind
The federal government introduces the first national framework addressing gender-based violence at Canadian universities this spring.
On Jan. 16, the Department for Women and Gender Equality (WAGE), formerly Status of Women Canada, announced the development of a framework geared to end gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions.
In an email to the Fulcrum, spokesperson for Gender Equality Minister, Braeson Holland, wrote, “Our government believes that students deserve the same level of support whether they choose to study in Alberta, Quebec, or Newfoundland, for example.”
The “Framework to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions” will be created in May by a new advisory committee put forth by Women and Gender Equality Minister, Maryam Monsef. The announcement follows WAGE’s inaugural meeting on Jan. 16.
A press release from WAGE says the framework will be a “comprehensive resource for post-secondary institutions to help guide actions in preventing and addressing gender-based violence.”
According to the Office of the Minister of Women and Gender Equality, the advisory committee aims to create an atmosphere where fewer Canadians are affected by gendered violence on campuses.
Post-secondary institutions that do not comply with the new federal framework could have their funding withheld. The Office of the Minister of Women and Gender Equality says safety on campuses is the top priority guiding WAGE’s new policy.
“This Framework will help universities, colleges, and CEGEPs when developing or updating their plans, and policies on campus violence, and will provide guidance on elements like principles, prevention, support, training, response, accountability, and reporting,” wrote Holland.
This Framework will help universities, colleges, and CEGEPs when developing or updating their plans, and policies on campus violence.
—Spokesperson for Gender Equality Minister, Braeson Holland.
Holland added that the framework will provide a basic degree of support to protect students and support survivors at post-secondary institutions across Canada.
According to data from Statistics Canada in 2014, 41 per cent of sexual assaults were reported by students. Of the student-reported incidents, 90 per cent were committed against women.
According to WAGE, the statistics need to change.
In December, $350 million was set aside for WAGE until 2022–23. The advisory committee complements the first federal strategy addressing gender-based violence, “It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence”.
The strategy was announced in July of last year, and is guided by prevention, survivor support, and promoting a responsive justice system.
The new framework will be consulted by university and community representatives, union leaders, as well as members vulnerable to gender-based violence. Notable representatives include Farrah Khan, manager of the Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education at Ryerson University, CJ Rowe, director of the Sexual Violence Support and Prevention Office at Simon Fraser University, and more.