A renewed awareness campaign to help keep students safe from sexual violence has launched.
Timed to coincide with back-to-class Frost Week 2020 activities, the campaign is aimed at students, both on campus and in the community. As with previous campaigns, social media ads will remind students that sex without consent is rape and that consent must be voluntary – otherwise it is assault.
“Our government is responding to a call to action from students to ensure that our campuses are safer for everyone, regardless of gender expression, identity or sexual orientation,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Any form of sexual violence or misconduct will not be tolerated. Frost Week is a time when students gather to socialize and have fun. It’s a good opportunity for renewed dialogue about what constitutes sexual violence and misconduct, and personal responsibilities and choices.”
The provincewide campaign will engage students where they are most likely to see it – on digital platforms including Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.
In June 2019, the Province announced $760,000 to support a number of initiatives, including a plain-language review of policies and processes regarding sexual violence and misconduct to ensure they are clear and easy to understand. The funding is also being used to co-ordinate resources, so that post-secondary institutions can learn from each other, share best practices and access training resources.
All 25 of B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions are required to have sexual violence and misconduct policies. The Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act also requires institutions to make their policies publicly available. Provincial regulations require private institutions with student residences to have policies in place.
* The Frost Week 2020 campaign follows the Province’s Frosh Week 2019 Sexual Violence Prevention campaign that launched August 29 and ran until October 21.
* The fall 2019 campaign included outreach through a student-climate survey to better understand lived experience and evaluate needs on campus going forward.
* Student feedback that informed both campaigns was also collected from a forum in June 2019 called Moving Forward Together: Building Capacity to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Violence on Campus.
Preventing sexualized violence on B.C. campuses: SafeCampusesBC.ca (http://www.safecampusesbc.ca/)