May 06, 2016 - 10:30 AM
KAMLOOPS - Plans on how to deal with sexual assaults at the Thompson Rivers University campus are nearly done, but the Sexual Assault Task Force is waiting for finalized provincial legislation.
“We’ve got drafts and various things with flags on them waiting for us to just straighten them out a bit,” TRU dean of students Christine Adam says.
The provincial legislation was tabled in late April. Adam expects the university to have its policy finished in the fall, which is in an addition to an interim policy already in place.
The TRU task force was struck in September 2015 to create the policies and other protocal around prevention and response to sexual assaults on campus, she says.
In addition to policy, Adam says the task force is looking at more education, in particular about bystander awareness and what is best for the survivor of the assault.
“The focus is really on how we support someone who may have been a survivor of sexual assault,” she says.
She says the university's reporting of sexual assaults will still be based on official reports. If someone who has been sexually assaulted tells a faculty member or another university staff member it’s called a disclosure and will not be part of TRU's official sexaul assault reports.
There will be a third option for someone who has been sexually assaulted but doesn’t want to go to the police. Adam says an anonymous person will be designated to receive information about the assault and pass it to the police, allowing the person reporting the assualt to remain anonymous. While this option wouldn’t mean charges against the accused, Adam says it does allow the police to collect information about issues and potentially build a larger case.
The task force has also been focusing on support for survivors in terms of counselling, health and wellbeing, and support around the finishing of courses, including deferrals.
Adam says work on the policy at TRU began in the summer of 2015, just before student Jean Strong’s story about being assaulted at the local campus was published. Strong has since voiced her support for the upcoming provincial legislation.
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