McMaster receives results from Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey, welcomes added provincial investment


Ontario universities have received the summary report of findings from the provincial survey of students about sexual violence.

“This survey is important and we are pleased so many of our students joined with others across Ontario to participate,” says Arig al Shaibah, associate vice president equity and inclusion. “We actively encouraged students to participate because it is essential to better understand the scope and scale of sexual violence in society.”

At McMaster, 31% of students participated. The provincial participation average was 26%.

Read the summary report of the Student Voices on Sexual Violence Survey.

Nearly 164,000 university, college and career college students participated in the survey which was conducted in early 2018. .

The summary provides data about responses to questions around students experiences of harassment, stalking and non-consensual sexual experiences on and off campus. It also includes responses to questions about students’ knowledge of sexual violence supports and satisfaction with institutional responses to sexual violence.

“Now that we have the data we will immediately begin to review what the survey tells us so we can use the information to improve the services we provide to students and the educational programs the University supports,” says Sean van Koughnett, associate vice-president (students and learning) and dean of students.

“It’s important that we understand what the survey is telling us and that we identify key areas that require both immediate and longer term attention,” he says.

The release of today’s summary was accompanied by increased investment by the province. It is doubling its investment in the Women’s Campus Safety grant, assisting universities in supporting the prevention of sexual violence. McMaster welcomes this additional funding in support of its ongoing efforts to prevent sexual violence.

McMaster is one of a few Ontario universities with a Sexual Violence Response Protocol – in place since 2015 and this helps guide our approach. McMaster’s Sexual Violence Policy has been in place since 2017 and will shortly undergo a review to see if there are any ways to make it even more helpful and robust.

Over the past two years McMaster has provided training to more than 8,600 students, staff and faculty across campus as part of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness about sexual violence and the way people can access help and support services. The University has created a Sexual Violence Education team to help broaden and plan training.

Sexual violence is a problem across our society but we know that people of university age have a greater likelihood of being the victims of sexual assault and harassment:

  • According to Statistics Canada, there were 22 incidents of sexual assault per 1,000 Canadians aged 15 and older in 2014
  • Nearly nine in 10 sexual violence incidents in 2014 were committed against women
  • Students and non-students face similar rates of sexual assault but almost half of sexual violence incidents in 2014 were committed against women aged 15-24.