Western issues statement on sexual violence survey

Western issued the following statement today from Jennifer Massey, Associate Vice-President (Student Experience), about the Ontario Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey results:

Today, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities released a summary report on the findings from the Ontario Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey. Top-line results across the postsecondary sector are concerning and clearly demonstrate the need for more to be done to address sexual violence.

At Western, we are disappointed but not surprised, by the findings, including the number of respondents who reported experiencing or witnessing sexual violence. As recent media reports have indicated, sexual violence is pervasive in our society, and this includes our campus. Equally disturbing is the number of Western students who responded that they were unsure how to report incidences of sexual violence and were dissatisfied with Western’s response to complaints. We take your concerns seriously.

We are already working to gain a deeper understanding of student concerns from the complete survey data.

Western is committed to working with our students to improve our educational programs on sexual violence, to make reporting violence less onerous, and to enhance supports for survivors. To date, the university has created a Sexual Violence Policy, added a Sexual Violence Response Team, a Sexual Violence Response Coordinator position and developed a framework for sexual violence prevention and education training.

But more should be done – and more will be done. That starts with really listening to our students’ concerns and advice on how to reduce violence and support survivors.

As student safety is our top priority, we must work every day to address all forms of sexual violence experienced by our students. We must foster a campus culture where all students can thrive.

I am deeply thankful to those who shared their experiences through this survey and commit to them, and all others who call our campus home, our continued focus on this issue going forward.

If you have experienced sexual violence and would like support from the university, please contact our Sexual Violence Prevention Education Coordinator at 519-661-3568 or email svpec@uwo.ca.