TRU announces its plans for a sexual assault policy

TRU has announced its plans to implement a sexual assault policy at the university. The plans come as part of its interim sexual assault protocol, which was introduced July 23, 2015. The interim protocol comes after the story of Jean Strong, a student who took her complaints of being sexually assaulted to the university in 2012, but said she was turned away by a counselor and only offered academic advice and that she should change schools.

“The interim protocol provides procedures and resources to individuals and groups who may be involved in working with persons who have experienced sexual violence. This interim protocol will remain in place while the university continues its work on developing policies, protocols, and educational resources to support the community,” wrote TRU president Alan Shaver in an email to the university community.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force, created as part of the interim protocol, will work on four tasks: developing a sexual assault policy, enhancing sexual assault prevention education, developing clear reporting and response protocols and developing communications plans to the same effect.

The task force will be chaired by dean of students Christine Adam, who addressed the issue previously, saying that “it’s not just about saying ‘we developed a policy’ and walking away, it’s about the whole breadth of activities that need to take place to address this.”

The policy comes as more and more schools across Canada are announcing plans to do the same to confront the issue of sexual assault on and off campus. Most recently, 24 colleges in Ontario said they would adopt a standalone policy to help assist victims of sexual violence.

In its investigation into the number of sexual assaults reported on campuses across Canada, CBC cited critics that claimed the numbers were far too low to be accurate. Its investigation noted just one sexual assault reported at TRU from 2009 to 2013. In November 2014, the university reported two sexual assault reports in the past four years.

For further information, see the full text of the interim sexual assault protocol (PDF).