Making campuses safe
Everyone has the right to live, learn and work in a safe and inclusive environment. We all share in the responsibility of creating that safe and inclusive environment by making sure that respect and consent inform relationships on campus. It all begins with conversations about how to practice respect and consent in our daily lives with our friends, peers, colleagues, team members, and service providers.
It’s up to us to respect other people and their boundaries and to practice consent in all of our interactions. For example, not everyone experiences a hug as a friendly welcome or goodbye. In order to build a culture of consent, it’s important to ask whether we can touch one another first.
In 2018, The B.C. government launched its first information campaign to address sexual violence on campus and support the Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy Act passed in 2016. View the 2018/19 campaign materials here.
On August 29, 2019, the Ministry renewed the information campaign to raise awareness and to help prevent sexual violence on campuses. The materials were updated, and the campaign was launched at the beginning of the academic year, a time when instances of sexual assaults on campus are highest. Subsequently, this campaign was relaunched for the winter semester on January 5, 2020. View the past campaign materials and read the August 2019 and January 2020 campaign-related news releases.
Building on the previous campaigns, the 2021/2022 “…Is Not Yes” campaign was reintroduced in fall 2021 to help prevent sexual violence and enhance students’ understanding of consent. You can access the campaign materials here and the news release here. The campaign was relaunched in winter 2022 to continue educating new and returning students about sexual violence and to foster a culture of consent. There were minor changes made to the winter campaign, which relaunched on January 12, 2022. View the campaign materials and corresponding news release.
Outreach Campaign Feedback
The information campaigns have evolved over the years, especially following consultations with students and key stakeholders.
From December 2017 to February 2018, the Ministry sought public feedback on public post-secondary institutions sexual violence policies. Over 360 responses were received. Feedback received through this process has informed actions being taken to prevent and respond to sexual violence and make campuses safe for everyone.
Continued feedback from students indicated that the campaigns started conversations about sexual violence prevention on B.C. campuses. In November 2021, further conversations were conducted on the 2021/2022 campaign, which identified updates needed for the winter 2022 relaunch. Minor but meaningful changes were made to focus more on inclusivity and fostering a culture of consent. The Ministry, recognizing that further improvement is always needed, will continue ongoing conversations with the sector to help inform future campaigns.
Moving Forward Together - Building Capacity
During June 4 and 5, 2019, post-secondary institutions, students and community representatives, along with government staff, came together for a forum entitled Moving Forward Together: Building Capacity to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Violence on Campus. The forum was an opportunity to share and gather information in support of work being done at post-secondary institutions to prevent sexual violence and create safer campuses.
Moving Forward Together - Honouring Consent
From June 15 to 17, 2021, post-secondary institutions, students and community representatives, along with government staff, came together for a second, virtual forum entitled Moving Forward Together: Honouring Consent. The forum was an opportunity to share and reflect on the journey since 2019 and the additional work that is needed to continue moving forward to eliminate sexual violence at post-secondary institutions.
The forum also marked the launch of the newly developed, open access, sexual violence training and facilitation guides. These resources cover the topics: consent and sexual violence; supporting survivors; accountability and repairing relationships; and active bystander intervention. These new training resources, and other resources for preventing and responding to sexual violence, can be accessed here.