Adding to its existing regulations regarding harassment and threats, this new Policy establishes a comprehensive framework to prevent and respond to sexual violence and increases the resources made available to the community, in particular by creating a Violence Prevention and Response Office.
On December 13, 2018, the Board of Directors adopted the Politique visant à prévenir et à contrer les violences à caractère sexuel (Policy to prevent and combat sexual violence). In accordance with Québec’s Act to Prevent and Fight Sexual Violence in Higher Education Institutions, it will come into force no later than September 1, 2019.
The Policy was developed by the Comité de travail sur les violences à caractère sexuel (working committee on sexual violence), together with representatives of student associations, unions and staff associations, the faculty association and the various units involved. This community consultation conducted over several weeks resulted in a consensus on how to prevent and respond to sexual violence, which is reflected in the Policy.
The Policy outlines:
The expected behaviours (Section 5) of all members of the Polytechnique community with regard to sexual violence;
A prevention program (Section 6) that includes annual mandatory information activities for all members of the community (e.g., webinar) and additional training activities for staff and students in a position of influence;
Protective measures (Section 7) including psychosocial support services and the establishment of a safe house. These measures are available to all community members in response to any situation of sexual violence, whether or not it occurs in an academic setting. Measures are also available for third parties affected by, or involved in, a situation of sexual violence occurring in an academic setting.
Violations (Section 8) of the Policy, including any act of sexual violence in an academic settings and failure to comply with any decision made under the Policy;
Three internal mechanisms (Section 9) to respond to Policy violations. Reporting initiated by the affected person involves a response to resolve the situation without sanctions being imposed. A complaint leads to a disciplinary process and may be initiated by the affected person or by Polytechnique. Lastly, information received from any other person leads to an investigation to identify the individuals involved and give the affected person the opportunity to choose the level of intervention that he or she feels is most appropriate in the circumstances.
A Code of Conduct (Appendix 1) governing intimate relationships between Polytechnique students and those in a position of authority over them. This code of conduct does not prohibit these relationships, but strongly discourages them. It includes the obligation for the person in authority to disclose the relationship and to disqualify him or herself before exercising any act of authority over the student. Boundaries are then set for the relationship so that responsibility for the normally expected acts of authority is transferred to an independent person.
The creation of a Violence Prevention and Response Office under the Board of Directors (administratively attached to the General Secretariat). This unit, which will be set up in the coming months, will play a central role in implementing the prevention program, receiving individuals and guiding them toward available services, as well as carrying out the established processes related to the protective measures, the internal mechanisms and the code of conduct described above.
Although the Policy may not come into force until September 1, 2019, Polytechnique already has measures in place to deal with any complaint related to sexual violence. In this regard, reference may be made to the Règlement contre le harcèlement (anti-harassment regulation) and the Règlement contre les menaces et voies de fait (regulation against threats and assaults).
To learn more
Politique visant à prévenir et à contrer les violences à caractère sexuel (in French only)
Règlement contre le harcèlement (in French only)
Règlement contre les menaces et voies de fait (in French only)
Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions