OUSA releases policy paper titled "Gender-Based Sexual Violence Prevention & Response"

May 19th, 2020


TORONTO, ON - The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) is proud to release our policy to support the eradication of gender-based violence at post-secondary institutions across the province. The paper was written, approved, and published by students to provide the provincial government with recommendations that are theory-driven and grounded in evidence to create safer and more accountable campuses with the necessary resources to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. 


"Gender-based violence is a serious and prevalent problem across all post-secondary institutions in Ontario, and this policy paper puts forth substantive recommendations to address root causes of violence, respond to the broad range of violence our students are experiencing, and ensure all students have the supports they need,” said Catherine Dunne, President of OUSA and Vice-President for the University Students’ Council at Western University. “OUSA looks forward to working in collaboration  with government and institutions to implement these recommendations” 


The paper identifies a number of precipitating and systemic factors that allow gender-based violence to persist to such a high degree at the post-secondary level, and that prevent students from accessing necessary supports following experiences of gender-based violence. Students have identified gaps in: education, training, and policies needed to address the root causes of gender-based violence, including gender inequality, racism, colonialism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of inequality; existing legislative and regulatory structures; abilities to respond to disclosures or reports of gender-based violence in survivor-centric and trauma-informed ways or provide needed accommodations and supports; research and data to inform effective prevention and response efforts; and existing funding structures, such as the Campus Safety Grant.   


In response, students have proposed a number of recommendations that they believe the provincial government should adopt in order to support students to feel safe and supported during their post-secondary career. Broadly, students are asking for: guidance and resources from the provincial government to ensure students, staff, and faculty are educated in the root causes of gender-based violence and that they are trained to respond appropriately; resources to support access to needed accommodations and supports; consistent and comprehensive research and data collection; and improvements to the Campus Safety Grant. 


This policy paper and its recommendations were written by students who are engaged in gender-based violence prevention work at OUSA’s membership schools and build on promising practices grounded in theory and evidence. It was passed on April 20th, 2020 at OUSA’s Spring General Assembly, held virtually. To read it, click here.  


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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.


Crystal Mak

Operations & Communications Coordinator

Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance


[email protected]