Ontario bars universities and colleges from asking sex-assault complainants about sexual history

Ontario colleges and universities will no longer be able to question sexual assault complainants about their sexual history or discipline them for using alcohol or drugs during any alleged incident on campus as part of post-secondary rule changes announced Wednesday morning.“We have zero tolerance for blaming the victim,” said Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jill Dunlop during a virtual news conference with Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano.“Our government has zero tolerance for sexual assault, and we stand with survivors and we support them in their healing,” Dunlop said, adding that the amendments will “help reduce potential re-traumatization and encourage more survivors to come forward.”Romano said the changes will help students who have been assaulted or harassed overcome fears or reprisals or concerns “that they will not be taken seriously.”The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) helped the province draft the changes, which will ensure students who were using drugs or alcohol when an assault took place “would not be subject to disciplinary actions for violations of an institution’s drug and alcohol use policies.”The province says “the proposed changes would also make Ontario one of the only Canadian jurisdictions with these protections specifically outlined in legislation or regulation.”OUSA president Julia Pereira told the virtual news conference that this is “one of many steps necessary to protect and support students who have experienced gender-based violence.”Consultations on the policy changes will be held online until March 15 and will cover public colleges and universities, as well as private colleges.Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy

Ontario bars universities and colleges from asking sex-assault complainants about sexual history

Ontario colleges and universities will no longer be able to question sexual assault complainants about their sexual history or discipline them for using alcohol or drugs during any alleged incident on campus as part of post-secondary rule changes announced Wednesday morning.

“We have zero tolerance for blaming the victim,” said Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jill Dunlop during a virtual news conference with Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano.

“Our government has zero tolerance for sexual assault, and we stand with survivors and we support them in their healing,” Dunlop said, adding that the amendments will “help reduce potential re-traumatization and encourage more survivors to come forward.”

Romano said the changes will help students who have been assaulted or harassed overcome fears or reprisals or concerns “that they will not be taken seriously.”

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) helped the province draft the changes, which will ensure students who were using drugs or alcohol when an assault took place “would not be subject to disciplinary actions for violations of an institution’s drug and alcohol use policies.”

The province says “the proposed changes would also make Ontario one of the only Canadian jurisdictions with these protections specifically outlined in legislation or regulation.”

OUSA president Julia Pereira told the virtual news conference that this is “one of many steps necessary to protect and support students who have experienced gender-based violence.”

Consultations on the policy changes will be held online until March 15 and will cover public colleges and universities, as well as private colleges.

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy

Source : Toronto Star More