Okanagan College (OC) launched an online reporting platform for campus sexual violence in partnership with REES (Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors).
REES is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week online reporting and information platform that students and employees can access to report campus sexual harassment, misconduct and assault.
“While our sincerest hope is that no Okanagan College student will ever have need to use this platform, sadly we know that sexual violence remains all too prevalent in our society,” said Okanagan College vice-president of students, Meri Kim Oliver, in the press release.
“It is of vital importance to us that students know what tools and processes are in place to support them at the College, and that our employees understand how and where to direct students to access these supports when needed.”
REES includes multiple reporting options and critical information about resources and supports available both on campus and in the community.
“When we created REES, we really wanted it to be trauma-informed and survivor-centred and also based in privacy and security, considering that is important for the students and users as well as the institutions that we partner with,” said REES founder and CEO, Mary Lobson.
Okanagan College says the institution was one of the first colleges in B.C. to implement a sexual violence policy in 2019.
In addition, the college launched mandatory Sexual Violence and Consent online courses for all students last month and the Sexual Violence Prevention Committee reaffirmed OC’s commitment in a statement and call to action for Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“Although we know our campuses are safe and that we have many tools in place to protect our staff and students, this will be another tool that is available to people,” said Okanagan College Relations Interim Director, Tyler Finley.
Okanagan College joins Columbia Bible College, St. Francis Xavier University, the University of Windsor, the University of Winnipeg and others in implementing REES.
“REES is proud to support Okanagan College communities with a consistent, online reporting option as well as access to information about supports and resources,” said Lobson in the press release.
You can learn more about REES on Okanagan College’s sexual violence awareness page.