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Every Ontario university is committed to providing a safe, supportive and respectful environment in which to live, learn and work.
Ontario’s universities recently received reports from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, which outline results from the 2018 Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey.
We thank the more than 160,000 postsecondary students who participated in this important survey.
We can use this valuable information to continue to improve our initiatives, policies and research in our ongoing efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence. These results serve as an important stepping stone toward making our students feel as safe, secure and supported as possible.
Sexual violence is a pervasive, societal problem. According to Statistics Canada’s 2018 Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces (SSPPS), more than 11 million Canadians have been physically or sexually assaulted since the age of 15 with just over one million (four per cent) having been victimized in the past 12 months.
We recognize this issue extends to university campuses as well. Twenty-three per cent of university students responding to the survey report a non-consensual sexual experience. This prevalence rate is similar to the rates reported in the 2018 Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces (SSPPS). The 2019 Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey also provides relevant sexual violence data, particularly with respect to results for women and other vulnerable groups.
In addition, 63.2 per cent of university student respondents report experiencing sexual harassment one or more times, while 23.7 per cent of survey respondents reported experiencing stalking one or more times.
Understanding and addressing sexual violence experienced by our students is a priority for Ontario’s universities and we remain committed to creating safe learning and working environments free from sexual violence.
The survey findings, in line with broader societal trends seen nationally and in the U.S., show certain groups of students are particularly vulnerable to experiencing sexual violence. Prevalence rates of sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking for women, gender diverse and bisexual students are higher than overall university sector rates as a whole. Student survey participants also experienced different rates of sexual violence based on their racial or ethnic identity.
Reports from The Ministry of Colleges and Universities’ containing all of the survey responses from the 2018 Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey: