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

Trial for gangland slaying of Jonathan Bacon takes a turn

Charges for three men charged in the 2011 murder of B.C. gangster Jonathan Bacon have changed

Robot caretakers could be in your future

Interior Health CEO says AI will revolutionalize medical care

Kelowna walk sheds light on blood cancer darkness

The Light The Night Walk takes Saturday, April 21, from Waterfront Park

Driving Change: A Kelowna man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Kelowna examines options to connect Rutland with rail trail

Public feedback on the four options is available online until May 6

Your April 20 Morning Brief

What’s making headlines in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Accused killer found ‘unfit to stand trial’

Decision reached Friday morning for Gabriel Klein, charged in Abbotsford school stabbing

Producer, DJ Avicii found dead at 28

Swedish-born artist Tim Bergling, was found in Muscat, Oman

Update: Gas jumps 30 cents in Vernon after pumps dipped to 109.9

UPDATE: Gas prices have since skyrocketed nearly 30 cents

Trudeau ends 3-country tour with global reputation, alliances intact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds footing on the world stage after China and India controversies

Province’s $6.5M will help women escape violence, Public Safety Minister announces

Mike Farnworth made the funding announcement in Surrey Friday morning

Leafs’ Matthews has top-selling jersey, edging Crosby, McDavid: NHL

Austin Matthews jersey sales top Pittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby, Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid

West Vancouver police hunt for Grinder scam artist

Christian Michael Lee Richardson charged with fraud in relation to scam involving the dating app

Victims grant may miss needy parents due to eligibility rules: report

Only 29 of 50 applicants between 2013 and 2017 received the grant across Canada, a federal report says

Most Read