Federal cash for sex assault support will help at rural universities: advocate

The Trudeau government says about 40 per cent of sexual assaults are reported by students

The funding included in Tuesday’s federal budget for sex assault centres at universities and colleges will especially benefit victims on rural campuses, according to one B.C. advocate.

Caitlin Salvino, chair of Our Turn, a national student group working to end sexual violence on campus, says many smaller post-secondary institutions still don’t have a designated place for students.

“Community resources often have over a year wait list,” Salvino said. “Those are even more inaccessible for universities in rural regions, who aren’t able to fund their whole centre.”

The Trudeau government has promised $5.5 million over five years for crisis centres on university campuses, as they move towards creating a national framework to combat gender-based violence. According to budget documents, nearly half of all sexual assaults reported in Canada have been committed against women aged 15 to 24. About 40 per cent were reported by students.

READ MORE: Sexual assault policies take effect on B.C. campuses

Students who have been sexually assaulted and do not have a support service to turn to on campus have to travel to the nearest city to meet with medical and counselling staff, Salvino said, adding those those clinics sometimes lack protocols for dealing with students.

A sexual assault crisis centre does more than just provide support to victims, she said. The staff, counsellors and volunteers also run prevention campaigns and educational discussions.

“These one or two people have specific training, and a lot of experience to deal with these subjects and people who are really vulnerable,” she said.“Universities that don’t have these centres are run by people who don’t have that training.”

Crisis centres ‘chronically underfunded’

Last year, Our Turn released a report card that scored major universities from A to D based on its policies for students.

UBC, which already had its independent policy implemented, received a B+ and was above average compared to universities such as Carleton in Ottawa, McGill in Ontario and the University of Regina.

“There are a lot of criticisms at large universities,” Salvino said. “Big campuses are chronically underfunded, as well.”

She said a centre would ideally be located in a central place on campus, would allow students to disclose assaults or harassment at all times, give students access to counselling upon reporting, and offer an emergency fund for students who need to make changes to their accommodations either in dorms or off campus.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Parksville council disagrees over parkland, payment

Developer planned to provide 0.5 ha. of land

Rodeo returns to Coombs for fourth year

Events include saddle, bareback riding and barrel racing

Model trains, historical exhibits offered at Parksville museum’s Railway Days

The family-friendly event takes place on Aug. 17 and 18 and is by donation

Coombs, Errington area director won’t run again

Julian Fell endorses Leanne Salter for role

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

UPDATED: Vancouver Island community under evacuation alert due to wildfire

BC Wildfire Service says steep terrain near Zeballos poses challenge as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

Most Read