Victoria B.C. - In response to a question from Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, the Premier pledged that her government would pass his Private Member's Bill, or develop comparable legislation to address the prevalence of sexual assaults on post-secondary campuses.
“This is a strong statement from the Premier and her government that they acknowledge the importance of this issue,” says Weaver. “Most importantly, the Premier acknowledged the urgency with which we must act on this issue and has committed to work with me to bring forward legislation in a timely manner.”
“I am thrilled by the Premier’s response and welcome the opportunity to work with her, and with students across the Province, to ensure campuses become safer places,” notes Weaver. “Sexualized violence affects everyone in our communities, regardless of gender identity.”
Andrew Weaver tabled the Post-Secondary Sexual Violence Policies Act, 2016 last Tuesday. The Bill, if passed, would create a legal responsibility for every University and College in B.C. to develop and maintain policies that would provide education for students, support for survivors and would work to prevent the occurrences of sexual assault on campuses.
There have been several highly publicized incidents in the news lately. When a student at Thompson Rivers University was sexually assaulted twice in one term she was told ‘Maybe you would be better suited to a different school.’ UBC made headlines last year when it turned out that their reported cases of sexual assault on campus were less than a quarter of those reported by the UBC RCMP detachment. Earlier this week it was reported that a UVic student felt ‘completely invalidated and silenced’ by a UVic investigation into her sexual assault.
“We can’t know the actual scale of the problem unless we have post-secondary institutions honestly reporting about it,” says Weaver. “Based on the little data available, and the widespread culture of underreporting that exists, any post-secondary institution that takes this issue on seriously would likely see their reported assaults far exceed other institutions. No public institution wants to have that negative attention; they want to be seen as safe places for students to study.”
“A legislated approach is required to ensure best practices and consistent standards are met, while establishing a clear legal responsibility for post-secondary institutions to maintain these policies,” said Weaver. “I want to thank the Premier for her willingness to make this important issue a priority”.
Mat Wright, Press Secretary
Office of Andrew Weaver, MLA
1 250 216 3382