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“We Can Do Better, We Will Do Better”

U of T is creating a new centre to help prevent and respond to sexual violence

U of T is creating a new Sexual Violence Prevention and Support Centre with locations on all three campuses, as part of an action plan to prevent and respond to sexual violence.

It is one of several measures outlined in the plan released in April by President Meric Gertler and Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr. “People need to feel safe on our campuses,” Gertler says. “The university is committed to doing everything possible to create that safe environment and to make sure the right supports are available.”

The new centre will be responsible for services for those affected by sexual violence and will also provide staff training. It is expected to be up and running by January 2017.

The university is also creating a new stand-alone policy on sexual violence; Mayo Moran, professor of law and Trinity College provost, is leading the advisory panel on this issue. A tri-campus Sexual Violence Climate Survey – intended to provide insight about experiences of sexual violence on campus and the use of related services and support – is also in the works. Sandy Walsh, vice-provost, students, is heading its advisory board. A third panel is advising on the education and prevention of sexual violence. Led by Gretchen Kerr, acting dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, it will be responsible for co-ordinating and updating education and training programs. All three panels include undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff from all three U of T campuses (read more about the panels).

“We will not tolerate sexual violence and we will work to improve both our prevention and our response efforts, guided by experts and with input from members of our community,” says Regehr. “We need to do better, we can do better, we will do better.”

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