A dramatic increase in sexual violence on university campuses has prompted demands from a B.C. post-secondary students’ group for more funding for support centres.
The Alliance of BC Students (ABCS) is calling on the provincial government to commit funds in the upcoming provincial budget.
“Students want to be heard, they want to have different resources to reach out. They want to be believed,” Camosun College student Jayanti Bachani told Global News.
Across B.C., 11 per cent of female students say they have experienced sexual assault on campus. Meanwhile, just 42 per cent of all students trust appropriate action will be taken if an assault is reported.
“This should be a safe environment for them to study and develop themselves and develop their relationships,” Camosun College student Maryne Radke said.
The ABCS has penned an open letter to B.C. Premier David Eby and Post-Secondary Education Minister Selina Robinson calling for “urgent” action on gender-based violence in schools.
The group wants to see minimum standards established for “survivor-centric and trauma-informed sexual violence policies” at B.C. schools.
“Depending on what post-secondary institution you go to, you are going to be met with completely different types of care,” ABCS chairperson Aryanna Chartrand told Global’s Focus BC on Friday.
The group is also calling on the province to fund on-campus sexualized violence support centres at all post-secondary institutions.
Some schools, like Camosun College, already have such centres, but not all in B.C. do.
ABCS is asking the government to include at least $5 million per year in ongoing funding to support such facilities provincewide.
“It needs to be continuous, and it needs to be significantly increased to match the increase of violence and recognize this is a crisis,” Chartrand said.
According to the ABCS, sexual violence on campus is the only category of crime in the province on the rise.
Robinson said the government hears the students’ concerns, and is looking carefully at the issue.
“We take this very seriously. In my ministry, we are undertaking a review of those said policies,” Robinson said.
B.C.’s NDP government is set to unveil its 2023 budget on Feb. 28.
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