March 19, 2019Print | PDF
Wilfrid Laurier University is committed to promoting a safe and supportive environment for each and every member of its community.
Laurier aims to eliminate gendered and sexual violence, and to support the healing of those who have experienced it, through continuous inclusive dialogue, ongoing training and education initiatives, accessible policies and protocols, community engagement, support services and campus collaborations.
Staff, faculty, researchers, students and community-based organizations work together at Laurier to better understand and eradicate gender-based violence. Interdisciplinary learning, resource sharing and connection are key to collaboration across our campuses.
The university works collectively move the conversation on this crucial topic in new directions, pointing to gaps in many common-sense understandings of what gendered violence is.
A collaborative team effort — the Gendered Violence Task Force (GVTF) and its working groups — focused dialogue about gendered violence at Laurier. Started in 2014 and made up of staff, faculty and students from across Waterloo and Brantford campuses and the Kitchener locations, the GVTF has since evolved into multiple initiatives across Laurier’s campuses.
Laying the foundation for how gendered and sexual violence is addressed at Laurier, the student-focused gendered and sexual violence policy and procedures define the process for how the university responses to and addresses gendered and sexual violence. The policy outlines the university's commitment to the provision of education and supports and outlines survivors' options.
Education and support are pillars of the student experience at Laurier. That’s why in 2016 Laurier created the role of sexual violence response coordinator.
This role operates through the Office of Dispute Resolution and Sexual Violence Support. The office:
Laurier’s sexual violence response coordinator helps students understand on- and off-campus support, from safety planning and referrals to navigating available systems and resources. Through partnerships between Laurier and the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant and the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, sexual violence counselling is available to students on the Waterloo and Brantford campuses.
The Office of Dispute Resolution and Sexual Violence Support runs the Consent is Golden campaign, a series of events and outreach initiatives challenging sexual violence and promoting understanding about enthusiastic consent. The office has also met with departments and individuals across the university to discuss the university’s Gendered and Sexual Violence policy, how to respond to disclosures, and steps to refer students for support.
7,541 members of the Laurier community have taken some form of awareness or support training related to gendered and sexual violence between September 2018 and March 2019:
In addition, talks related to gendered and sexual violence awareness were given to 13 classes totalling 635 students.
Laurier’s Sexual Violence Education Action Group hosts events on both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses to support activism, awareness and education. This group includes the Office of Dispute Resolution and Sexual Violence Support, the Wellness Centre, Sexual Assault Centre, the Centre for Student Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Advocates for a Student Culture of Consent. Events include film screenings, collaborative art projects, activities and workshops. In fall 2018, the Sexual Violence Education Action Group planned Healthy Relationships week in November, and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in December. In January 2019, it organized Consent on Campus week programming and workshops. In March 2019, it hosted Healing Justice Week. The group has also organized self-defence classes for women.
A sample of other initiatives include:
The Sexual Violence Education Action Group partners with Laurier’s student wellness education team to promote a culture of consent and respect. For one week every semester, the two groups collaborate to bring students a week full of outreach events focused on consent and healthy relationships. A counsellor-led workshop about consent and healthy relationships is also offered twice every semester, helping students understand the impact of unhealthy relationships on well-being. Peer wellness educators also coordinate creative student outreach activities.
The Wellness Education team also hosts a Sexual Health Week every academic year, including a Sexual Health Education Fair Day.
Respecting, affirming, listening to and supporting Laurier’s student communities is part of creating a culture of consent. Many student groups are dedicated to addressing gendered violence:
Laurier students are also heavily involved in the Students’ Union, and as another facet of student life at Laurier, the Students’ Union engages students in programming and training to address gendered and sexual violence:
Right from their first day in residence, first-year students are continuously educated about personal safety and gendered and sexual violence through residence policies and programming.
First-year students in residence receive programming thanks to a collaboration between Laurier’s Office of Dispute Resolution and Sexual Violence Support and the Department of Residence. As a part of the residence curriculum, various workshops are held in residences to educate about safe sex, safe drinking and consent. In partnership with the Male Allies program of Waterloo Region, workshops exploring the characteristics of healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships are also offered throughout the year.
Prior to the start of the academic year, all student staff in the Department of Residence (dons and residence life managers) are trained on personal safety and gendered and sexual violence residence policies and procedures, including actions taken when receiving and responding to disclosures of any gender-based violence.
Training is also provided to all professional on-call staff about how to properly address disclosures and how to provide resources to survivors and members of our community who are experiencing vicarious trauma. After every disclosure in residence, survivors and responding staff receive supports and resources in person and by email.
On-call staff also tour the St. Mary’s Sexual Assault Treatment Centre every year to ensure that should a student request to be transported to St. Mary’s, staff are aware of care and supports available.
Every year, the Athletics department delivers gendered and sexual violence education during team orientations, first-year year student athlete orientation and the Captains Leadership Day. In the 2018/19 academic year, the Athletics department collaborated with the Male Allies program of Waterloo Region to train and education all male student athletes. Further, all varsity athletes acknowledge and sign a Gendered Sexual Violence policy.
Laurier’s women’s flag football intramural club partook in inclusivity and gendered sexual violence training in 2018 with all team members and student coaches.
Laurier’s Social Innovation Research Group (SIRG) coordinates The Change Project, a collaboration between the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC), the SIRG, the Centre for Women and Trans People, the University of Waterloo Women’s Centre and the University of Waterloo. The Change Project worked toward ending gendered violence on campuses through transforming the institutional and cultural climate of universities and the community.
Reporting Gendered Violence
Sexual Violence Response Coordinator Sarah Scanlon 24/7 Support Lines Waterloo: The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region Brantford: The Sexual Assault Centre of Brant
Sexual Violence Response Coordinator
24/7 Support Lines
The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
The Sexual Assault Centre of Brant
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