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Province amends sexual violence reporting protocols at Ontario colleges, universities

Click to play video: 'Ontario government makes amendments to how post-secondary institutions investigate sexual assaults' Ontario government makes amendments to how post-secondary institutions investigate sexual assaults
WATCH ABOVE: The Ontario government is making changes to how victims of post-secondary sexual assault are treated. The announcement comes the same week as disturbing reports out of Western University and a string of alleged sexual assaults there. Matthew Bingley reports – Sep 16, 2021

The Ontario government has released revised guidelines for post-secondary institutions when it comes to how the schools handle investigations surrounding sexual assaults that are reported.

Provincial officials said one change is that a person who reports sexual violence will not be subject to the institution’s rules relating to drug and alcohol use at the time the incident took place.

Another change mandates that students who experience sexual violence will not be asked “irrelevant questions” from the school’s staff or investigators regarding past sexual history or sexual expression.

The province said these sexual violence policies must be amended by March 31, 2022.

Read more: Western University, London police urge survivors to come forward amid social media reports of student assault, druggings

The updated policies are meant to “shield students from irrelevant questions during sexual violence investigations at institutions and ensure that they can safely bring forward complaints without fear of disciplinary action,” officials said in a news release issued Thursday.

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The changes come as London Police say they are investigating social media reports that several students may have been drugged and/or assaulted in on-campus housing at Western University earlier this week.

Read more: Students call for action in the wake of sexual violence allegations at Western University

“Our number one priority is the safety of students — everyone should be able to pursue their studies on or off campus without worrying about sexual violence or harassment,” Minister of Colleges and Universities Jill Dunlop said.

“That’s why our government is working with postsecondary institutions to update their sexual violence and harassment policies to better support students who have already gone through a difficult experience and may be feeling scared and vulnerable,” Dunlop said.

Click to play video: 'Investigations underway into deadly assault, alleged sexual violence at Western University' Investigations underway into deadly assault, alleged sexual violence at Western University
Investigations underway into deadly assault, alleged sexual violence at Western University – Sep 14, 2021

 

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