Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Protocol
1. If You Have Experienced or Been Affected by Sexual Violence
If you have experienced or have been affected by sexual violence and require support and accommodation please call:
- Counselling and Accessibility Services – Students
- Human Resources – Employees
If you wish to file a report you can call the police at 911 or Security at 416.491.5050 ext. 88.
If you want to speak to someone directly, please go to the local campus Security Office.
It is often difficult to disclose and report incidents of sexual violence. It is entirely up to you if you choose to report the incident; however, we strongly encourage you to do so. A number of other resources are available to you and those who may be affected by sexual violence, including:
- Employee Assistance Program 1.800.268.5211 (for employees)
- Counselling and Accessibility Services 416.491.5050 ext. 22900 (for students)
- Good2Talk 1.866.925.5454
Information about additional resources is available in Appendix II.
Anyone who has been affected by sexual violence has the right to:
- be treated with dignity and respect;
- be believed;
- be informed about on- and off-campus services and resources;
- decide whether or not to access available services and to choose those services they feel will be most beneficial;
- decide whether to report to campus security and/or local police;
- have an on-campus investigation with the institution’s full cooperation;
- have a safety plan; and
- have reasonable and necessary actions taken to prevent further unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator(s).
2. If You Would like to File or Initiate a Complaint
Please note that you are not required to file a formal complaint to obtain supports, services, or appropriate accommodation from Seneca.
Security or Student Conduct can assist you with filing a complaint. If the alleged perpetrator is another member of the Seneca community, you may file a complaint under this Policy.
Individuals who have experienced sexual violence may also wish to press charges under the Criminal Code. Seneca Security can also assist you with contacting the local police. More information on filing a complaint is available by emailing Seneca Security.
3. What to Do if You Witness Sexual Violence
If you have witnessed sexual violence, please call Seneca Security at 416.491.5050 ext. 88 and they will assist you by providing all the resources and necessary support. If you want to speak to someone directly, please go to your local security office.
A number of other resources are available to you, including:
- Counselling and Accessibility Services (for students)
- Human Resources/Employee Assistance Program (for employees)
- Good2Talk 1.866.925.5454
- Call police or emergency services
Information about additional resources is available in Appendix II.
Faculty, staff, other employees, and contractors have a duty to immediately report all incidents and suspected incidents of sexual violence to Campus Security Management. Employees can access supports and services through Human Resources.
Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of sexual violence, but do not need to report incidents of sexual violence to obtain supports, services, or accommodation from Seneca.
All members of the Seneca community who have witnessed sexual violence have a duty to cooperate with a Seneca investigation.
4. What to Do if Someone Discloses Allegations of Sexual Violence
A person may choose to confide in someone about an act of sexual violence, such as a student, instructor, teaching assistant, coach, or staff from housing, health, counselling, or security. An individual who has experienced sexual violence may also disclose to staff or faculty members when seeking support and/or academic accommodation. A supportive response involves:
- listening without judgment and accepting the disclosure as true;
- communicating that sexual violence is never the responsibility of the survivor;
- helping the survivor identify and/or access available on- or off-campus services, including emergency medical care and counselling;
- respecting the survivor’s right to choose the services they feel are most appropriate and to decide whether to report to the police and/or Seneca Security at 416.491.5050 ext. 88;
- recognizing that disclosing can be traumatic and a survivor’s ability to recall the events may be limited;
- respecting the survivor’s choices as to what and how much they disclose about their experience; and
- making every effort to respect confidentiality and anonymity.
If disclosure is made to faculty or staff by a student seeking support or academic accommodation, the faculty or staff should refer the student to Campus Security Management, and work with Counselling and Accessibility Services to ensure that the student receives all necessary academic and other accommodation.
As indicated above, if faculty or staff of Seneca becomes aware of an allegation of sexual violence against another member of the Seneca community, the faculty or staff is required to report the alleged incident to Campus Security Management immediately.
5. Communicating with Individuals who have Experienced or been affected by Sexual Violence
Sensitive and timely communication with individuals who have experienced sexual violence and their family members (when an individual consents to this communication) is a central part of Seneca’s first response to sexual violence. To facilitate communication Seneca will:
- ensure that designated employees in Human Resources and/or Counselling and Accessibility Services, who are knowledgeable about sexual violence and are responsible for advocacy on campus for persons who have experienced sexual violence, are made aware of the incident;
- ensure designated employees respond in a prompt, compassionate, and personalized fashion;
- ensure that the complainant and the respondent are provided with reasonable updates about the status of Seneca’s investigation of the incident when such investigations are undertaken.
6. Roles and Responsibilities of the Seneca Community
While everyone on campus has a role to play in responding to incidents of sexual violence, some campus members will have specific responsibilities which might include:
- on-campus health supports to provide psychological and emotional support, assist with safety planning, and make referrals to other services, including medical services;
- Faculty, staff, and administrators to facilitate academic accommodations and other needs of those who have been affected by or who have experienced sexual violence;
- Residence staff to facilitate safe living arrangements to the best of our abilities;
- student operated sexual violence services to provide peer supports;
- Human Resources to assist with any incidents relating to employees; and
- Security to assist with investigations and gathering evidence, to implement measures to reduce sexual violence on campus, and to collaborate with local police where appropriate.
7. How Will Seneca Respond to a Report of Sexual Violence?
Where a complaint of sexual violence has been reported to the College, Seneca will exercise care to protect and respect the rights of both the complainant and the respondent. Seneca understands that individuals who have experienced sexual violence may wish to control whether and how their experience will be dealt with by the police and/or Seneca. In most circumstances, the person will retain this control. A person who has experienced sexual violence may choose not to request an investigation and has the right not to participate in any investigation that may occur.
In certain circumstances, however, Seneca may be required to initiate an internal investigation and/or inform the police of the need for a criminal investigation, even without the survivor’s consent, if Seneca believes that the safety of other members of the Seneca community is at risk. The confidentiality and anonymity of the person(s) affected will be prioritized in these circumstances.
A report of sexual violence may also be referred to the police or to other community resources, at the complainant’s request, where the person(s) involved are not members of the Seneca community, or otherwise where appropriate in circumstances where Seneca is unable to initiate an internal investigation under this Policy.
7.1. Where the Respondent is a Student
Seneca adheres to the following in investigating and making decisions about formal complaints. If an entitlement set out below conflicts with something set out in another College policy, the entitlement set out below shall prevail.
The Student Conduct Office is responsible for the intake, investigation, and decision making on a report of sexual violence adhering to the procedures outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. Seneca may also decide to use an external investigator when appropriate in the circumstances. Sexual violence is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, Personal Safety and Security Threat, and the Discrimination and Harassment policies. It is considered a serious offence and will be addressed in a manner which is consistent with other serious offences. Please see each policy for more details on each disciplinary process.
As set out in the Student Code of Conduct, appeals of student violations may be pursued based on limited grounds and are heard by the Office of the Vice President Academic or their designate.
7.2 Where the Respondent is an Employee
The perpetration of sexual violence is a violation of an employee’s duty to their employer. It is also a violation of the Personal Safety and Security Threat Policy and the Discrimination and Harassment Policy. Such misconduct may also violate one of Seneca’s collective agreements. Human Resources is responsible for the intake, investigation, and decision-making on a report of sexual violence. Seneca may also decide to use an external investigator when appropriate in the circumstances. Allegations against employees will be addressed in accordance with the Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy and this protocol, as well as any of the other policies mentioned herein, and, where applicable, the relevant collective agreement.
There is no formal appeal process for employee violations, though College employees who are members of a union may file a grievance as permitted by the applicable collective agreement.
7.3 Where the Respondent is not a Student or Employee
Contractors, suppliers, volunteers, or visitors who attend on campus will be subject to complaints if they engage in prohibited conduct.
All contractual relationships entered into by Seneca will be governed by a standard contract compliance clause stating that contractors must comply with this Policy and the Ontario Human Rights Code, including co-operating in investigations. Seneca may also decide to use an external investigator when appropriate in the circumstances.
There is no formal appeal process for supplier, volunteer, contractor, or visitor violations.
7.4 Multiple Proceedings
Where criminal and/or civil proceedings are commenced in respect of the allegations of sexual violence, Seneca shall conduct its own independent investigation into such allegations, and will make its own determination in accordance with its policies and procedures. Where there is an ongoing criminal investigation, Seneca will cooperate with the local police.
7.5 Procedural Fairness
Except as otherwise stated in this Protocol, Seneca provides those whose rights, privileges, or interests may be affected by a decision with notice of the decision to be made, disclosure of facts relevant to the decision, and an opportunity to be heard. Seneca may decide how it meets these obligations in different circumstances and will do so with a view to providing a fair process, making a sound decision, and preserving the dignity of survivors. Seneca has the right to withhold disclosure early on in its process to obtain a person’s independent recollection of events.
7.6 Support and Representation
Complainants and respondents may attend meetings with a single (non-participating) support person. Seneca considers requests to attend meetings with additional support persons and with legal or other representation on a case-by-case basis with a view to promoting a fair and expeditious process. Seneca may question and expect direct answers from an individual who is represented.
7.7 Interim Measures
The rights and privileges of a respondent may be restricted by Seneca before it makes a final determination about the alleged misconduct. For example, a respondent may be moved from a complainant’s residence, restricted from entering certain parts of campus, and restricted from attending class. An employee respondent may be temporarily removed from the workplace.
Such interim measures will be imposed only as necessary to meet the needs of complainants and persons who report incidents of sexual violence or otherwise under the Personal Safety and Security Threats Policy. Seneca will also take steps to minimize the impact of these measures on respondents.
Interim measures are not punishment and do not represent a finding of misconduct. Seneca may impose interim measures immediately without a hearing. Respondents may ask Seneca to review a decision to impose interim measures, but only to address the impact of the imposed measure and the preference for other alternatives.
Seneca will determine, based on its investigation, what happened and whether it constitutes sexual violence or another form of misconduct. If Seneca finds there has been misconduct it will determine the appropriate sanction. Students may face discipline, up to and including expulsion. Employees may face discipline, up to and including discharge. Contractors, suppliers, volunteers, and visitors may face penalties, cancellation of contracts, and other sanctions. Seneca may also impose non-punitive measures such as:
- No contact orders
- Alternative academic arrangements
- Offers of Internal/External Services
- Legal Aid
7.9 Written Decision
Seneca will inform the complainant(s) and respondent(s) of its investigation findings in writing. The written decision summary will include a brief description of any corrective action that Seneca has taken or will take as a result of its investigation.
8. Other Resources and Supports Available to You
To talk to someone:
Call a distress line: 416.408.4357 (HELP) TTY: 416.408.0007
For emergency shelters and the closest free meal:
416.392.3777 or toll free 1.866.392.3777
If you experience thoughts of suicide:
Go to your closest hospital emergency department
Call a distress line: 416.408.4357 (HELP), TTY: 416.408.0007
For immediate medical advice:
Call Telehealth: 1.866.797.0000, TTY: 1.866.797.0007
For sexual assault/violence:
Assaulted Women’s Helpline 416.863.0511, 1.866.863.0511, TTY 1.866.863.7868
Yellow Brick House Toll Free: 1.800.263.3247 TTY: 905.751.1712
Barbra Schlifer Clinic Safety Planning 416.323.9149 ext. 234
Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Provincial Crisis and Support Line Toll Free: 1.866.887.0015
For mental health:
Gerstein Centre: 416.929.5200 (same number for TTY service)
For walk-in counselling:
Catholic Family Services – Peel / Dufferin Region Brampton: 905.450.1608 ext. 101
Mississauga: 905.897.1644 ext. 101
Bolton: 905.450.1608 ext. 101
For child protection:
Children’s Aid society of Toronto 416.924.4646
Yellow Brick House 905.727.1944
Barbra Schlifer Clinic Transitional Housing Support 416.323.9149 ext. 234
Outreach Services (counselling, legal):
Yellow Brick House 1.877.222.8438
Catholic Family Services 416.921.1163
Barbra Schlifer Clinic Legal Assistance 416.323.9149 ext. 278
Daily Bread Food Bank: 416.203.0050
AIDS & Sexual Health Info Line: 1.800.668.2437
Post-secondary Student Help line Good2Talk: 1.866.925.5454 or connect through 2-1-1