New Changes in UBCO’s Sexual Assault Policy

March 25th, 2017

The first draft of the UBC sexual assault policy was completed in June 2016 and has since been revised in response to feedback from the UBC community. The current draft of the policy is a product of over 25 information meetings, and 160 feedback submissions. Some elements of the policy will stay the same, whereas others have changed significantly.

Elements which have not changed from the first draft include the definition of key terms (such as consent, disclosure, sexual misconduct etc.), details on services and accommodation, and the confidentiality/privacy information, which outlines the circumstances in which UBC is legally obligated to disclose and protect personal information.

The two most significant changes to the policy are as follows. First, a Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office will be established on both the Okanagan and Vancouver campuses scheduled for August 2017. The purpose of this center is to provide advice and assistance to sexual assault survivors and their supporters, in addition to providing a safe outlet for disclosures and official reports. The center will be available for students who have either been sexually assaulted prior to attending UBC or have been assaulted during their time at school. Students do not need to prove that the assault took place or file an official report in order to receive these services.

The second significant change is the creation of an investigatory process for sexual assault that will be housed separately from the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office. A Director of Investigations will be appointed who will receive reports, review them, determine whether action is under UBC jurisdiction and then if so, will appoint a trained investigator to conduct an investigation. The investigator will give both the person who filed the report and the respondent equal treatment during the investigation and the Director of Investigations will keep both parties informed throughout the investigation process. If the Director of Investigations believes that an alternative resolution process is more appropriate in the circumstances, they will discuss options with the Complainant and the Respondent. If both agree the Director will explore possible options. If UBC does not have the jurisdiction to investigate, the Director will advise the Complainant and explain why this is the case.

Other changes include providing both parties with a copy of the report; therefore the reports will be written without using any personal information in order not to violate the confidentiality provisions. The scope of definitions was also broadened to include all forms of sexual misconduct.

March 14 is the deadline for the consultation period. All feedback received prior to this date will be reviewed and a final version of the policy will be drafted. UBC will review this policy at least once every three years in collaboration with students and other members of the UBC community.

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