Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Awareness

GET HELP NOW… Emergency Resources

Get to Safety

If you or another is in immediate danger or require emergency medical support CALL 911.

Know That You Have Options

  • Talk to a trusted friend.
  • Call SACHA’s 24 Hour Support Line: 905-525-4162 OR Fem’aide Crise 877-336-2433
  • Access the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre Services through the Emergency department at:
    • Juravinski Hospital at 711 Concession Street OR
    • Hamilton General Hospital at 237 Barton Street East.
  • Call Mohawk Security : 905-575-2003 (dial 55 from a College phone)

      **Contacting Mohawk Security does not automatically involve the police. Calling the police is your choice.

  • Call McMaster Security for IAHS support: 905-525-9140 ext. 24281 (dial 88 from a university phone).

Message from the President

Ron McKerlie President

Nothing is more important than maintaining the health, safety and well-being of every student, faculty, staff and community member at Mohawk College.

We work hard to create an environment that is free of discrimination and harassment, and we strive to foster an atmosphere of healthy attitudes and behaviours towards sexuality, sex and gender roles.

We are also committed to supporting those who experience sexual violence, and we work diligently on campus and with community partners on programs, policies and services to ensure that all campuses remain free from sexual violence. The College will not tolerate behaviour that contributes to a hostile and inequitable learning and working environment.

This website provides quick access to the information contained in the College's Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy. This policy provides procedures and resources to support individuals and groups who may be directly and indirectly involved in working with persons who have experienced sexual violence or whom have experienced sexual violence personally.

Information and Materials

Download the College Guide for Staff & Students - Addressing Sexual Violence - Support Services (opens PDF, 529kb)

Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Policy

1) Purpose

Mohawk College is committed to maintaining the safety and well-being of all staff, students and members of the College community. All members of the Mohawk College community have a right to a work and study in an environment that is free from any form of sexual violence. This policy sets out the reporting and complaint process as well as the response protocol to sexual violence. The College ensures that those who experience sexual violence are believed and that their rights are respected by ensuring that the College has a process of investigation that protects the rights of individuals and holds individuals accountable who have committed an act of sexual violence

2) Application and Scope

This policy applies to all members of the College community including all employees, governors, students, contractors, suppliers, volunteers and visitors who have experienced, witnessed or were made aware of an act of sexual assault or violence. This policy also applies to external organizations that lease College space, operate on College property or who are directly connected to any College initiatives.

3) Definitions

Acquaintance sexual assault is sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend or acquaintance.

Age of consent for sexual activity is the age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity. In Canada, children under 12 can never legally consent to sexual acts. Sixteen is the legal age of consent for sexual acts. There are variations on the age of consent for adolescents who are close in age between the ages of 12 and 16. Twelve and 13 year-olds can consent to have sex with other youth who are less than 2 years older than themselves. Youth who are 14 and 15 years old may consent to sexual involvement that is mutual with a person who is less than 5 years older. Youths 16 and 17 years old may legally consent to sexual acts with someone who is not in a position of trust or authority.

Coercion in the context of sexual violence, coercion is unreasonable and persistent pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation, blackmail, threats to family or friends, or the promise of rewards or special treatment, to persuade someone to do something they do not wish to do, such as being sexual or performing particular sexual acts.

Consent refers to the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. It is the act of willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour, and requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes and no. This means that there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words which indicates a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is also imperative that everyone understands the following:

  • Silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as consent and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate.
  • A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. is not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in the sexual activity is not consenting to it.
  • A person who is drugged is unable to consent.
  • A person is usually unable to give consent when they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding the sexual acts.
  • The fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual or dating relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent to a person in a position of trust, power or authority, such as, a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach, an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position.

It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to obtain clear and affirmative responses at all stages of sexual engagement. It is also the initiator’s responsibility to know if the person they are engaging with sexually is a minor.

Note: For information purposes only, the Criminal Code defines “consent” as follows:

The voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. No consent is obtained, where:

  • the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant;
  • the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;
  • the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
  • the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity; or
  • the complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.

Drug-facilitated sexual assault refers to the use of alcohol and/or drugs (prescription or non-prescription) by a perpetrator to control, overpower or subdue a victim for purposes of sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim and involves a range of behaviours from any unwanted touching to penetration. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to.

Sexual violence is a broad term that describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This violence takes different forms including sexual abuse and sexual assault.

Stalking is a form of criminal harassment prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada. It involves behaviours that occur on more than one occasion and which collectively instill fear in the victim or threaten the victim/target’s safety or mental health. Stalking can also include threats of harm to the target’s friends and/or family. These behaviours include, but are not limited to non-consensual communications (face to face, phone, email, social media); threatening or obscene gestures; surveillance; sending unsolicited gifts; “creeping” via social media/cyber-stalking; and uttering threats.

Survivor is the term used throughout this policy referring to an individual who has experienced sexual assault or sexual violence as some believe they have overcome the violent experience and do not wish to identify with the victimization. It is the prerogative of the person who has experienced these circumstances to determine how they wish to identify.

4) Principles

Sexual assault and sexual violence are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Mohawk College is committed to challenging and preventing sexual violence and creating a safe space for anyone in our College community who has experienced sexual violence. The College is expected to be a safe and positive space where members of the College community feel able to work, learn and express themselves in an environment free from sexual violence.

All reported incidents of sexual violence will be investigated to the best of the administration’s ability and in a manner that ensures due process. No individual should feel uncomfortable about making a report in good faith about sexual violence that they have experienced or witnessed.

The College recognizes that sexual violence can occur between individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity or relationship status as articulated in the Ontario Human Rights Code. We also recognize that individuals who have experienced sexual violence may experience emotional, academic or other difficulties.

The College is committed to:

  • Assisting those who have experienced sexual violence by providing detailed information and support, including provision of and/or referral to counselling and medical care, information about legal options and appropriate academic or workplace accommodation;
  • Ensuring that those who disclose that they have been sexually assaulted are believed, and that their right to dignity and respect is protected throughout the process of disclosure, investigation and institutional response;
  • Addressing harmful attitudes and behaviours (e.g. adhering to myths of sexual violence) that reinforce that the person who experienced sexual violence is somehow to blame for what happened;
  • Treating individuals who disclose sexual violence with compassion recognizing that they are the final decision-makers about their own best interests;
  • Ensuring that on-campus (internal) investigation procedures are available in the case of sexual violence, even when the individual chooses not to make a report to the police;
  • Engaging in appropriate procedures for investigation and adjudication of a complaint which are in accordance with College policies, standards and applicable collective agreements, that ensure fairness and due process;
  • Engaging in public education and prevention activities;
  • Providing information to the College community about our sexual violence policies and procedure;
  • Providing appropriate education and training to the College community about responding to the disclosure of sexual violence; and to
  • Contributing to the creation of a campus atmosphere in which sexual violence is not tolerated.

5) Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework
This policy has been approved by the Senior Management Team.

5.2 Compliance The Vice President, Corporate Services will ensure that the information within this policy is applied and that all actions comply with applicable legislation.

6) Rules

6.1 Disclosing and Responding to Sexual Violence

  • Members of the College community must immediately disclose incidents where they are subject to, have witnessed or have knowledge of, or where they have reason to believe that sexual violence has occurred or may occur. Members who have experienced sexual violence are encouraged to come forward to report as soon as they are able to do so.
  • Persons in a position of authority, including persons directing the activities of others, shall take immediate action to respond to or to prevent sexual violence from occurring.
  • Where the College becomes aware of incidents of sexual violence by a member of the College community or against a member of the College community, which occur on or off College property and that pose a risk to the safety of members of the College community, the College shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the College community.

6.2 Complaint Process and Investigations

A complaint of sexual assault or sexual violence can be filed under this Policy by any member of the College community.

The College will seek to achieve procedural fairness in dealing with all complaints. As such, no sanction and/or disciplinary action will be taken against a person or group without their knowledge where there is an alleged breach of this Policy. Respondents will be given reasonable notice, with full detail of the allegations and provided with an opportunity to answer to the complaints made against them.

  • 6.2.1 Disclosure
    While the College recommends the prompt disclosure of sexual violence, Mohawk recognizes that survivors of sexual violence may experience mental or psychological impediments which may impact their desire to disclose. As such, survivors may disclose acts of sexual violence at any time and the College will respond as required.
  • 6.2.2 Right to Withdraw a Complaint
    A survivor has the right to withdraw a complaint at any stage of the process. However, the College may continue to act on the issue identified in the complaint if the College determines that the complaint poses a direct threat to the College community.
  • Where a complaint has been withdrawn, the survivor may choose at any time to continue with a formal investigation.
  • 6.2.3 Protection from Reprisals, Retaliation or Threats
    It is contrary to this Policy for anyone to retaliate, engage in reprisals or threaten to retaliate against a survivor or other individual for:
    • having pursued rights under this Policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code;
    • having participated or co-operated in an investigation under this Policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code; or
    • having been associated with someone who has pursued rights under this Policy or the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Any individual engaged in such conduct may be subject to sanctions and/or discipline.
  • 6.2.4 Unsubstantiated or Vexatious Complaints
    If a person, in good faith, discloses or files a sexual assault or violence complaint that is not supported by evidence gathered during an investigation, that complaint will be dismissed and no record of it will be placed in the survivor’s or respondent’s academic or employment file. Disclosures or complaints that are found following investigation to be frivolous, vexatious or bath faith complaints, that is, made to purposely annoy, embarrass or harm the respondent, may result in sanctions and/or discipline against the complainant.

6.3 Confidentiality

Every effort will be taken to maintain confidentiality in respect to information provided in the disclosure of a sexual assault or act of sexual violence. The College will maintain confidentiality of all persons involved in a report of sexual violence including the survivor, respondent and witnesses. In some instances the College may have the responsibility to consult with necessary College officials and to any requirement imposed by law. It is a requirement that any person participating in the complaint process will maintain confidentiality with respect to information provided in the course of a sexual violence assessment and investigation.

However, confidentiality cannot be assured in the following circumstances:

  • an individual is at imminent risk of self-harm;
  • an individual is at imminent risk of harming another; and/or
  • there are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the College or wider community may be at risk of harm.

In such circumstances, information would only be shared with necessary services to prevent harm, and the name of the survivor would not be released to the public.

Where the College becomes aware of an allegation of sexual violence by a member of the College community against another member of the College community, the College may also have an obligation to take steps to ensure that the matter is dealt with in order to comply with the College’s legal obligation and/or its policies to investigate such allegations. In such cases, certain College administrators will be informed about the reported incident on a “need to know” and confidential basis, but not necessarily of the identities of the persons involved.

Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence Procedure

1) If You Have Experienced Sexual Violence

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. If you would like to disclose to the College you may contact Security Services. If you have experienced sexual violence and require additional support before formally disclosing to Mohawk College you may contact Counselling Services or a support resource outlined in Attachment 1 of this document. Counselling Services provides private and confidential assistance to those in need. In case of emergency, always call 9-1-1.

Security Services

Fennell Campus & Stoney Creek Campus
905-575-1212 ext. 55
If you are on campus simply dial 55

IAHS Campus
905-575-1212 ext. 88
If you are on campus simply dial 88
Other phone line: 905-574-5111
Security Office: 905-575-2316

Counselling Services

Fennell Campus
Room C102 – The Square
905-575-2211
Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm

Stoney Creek Campus
Room A118
905-575-5000
Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm

IAHS Campus
Room 121 – The Square
905-540-4247 ext. 26107
Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm

Anyone who has experienced 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 a Formal Complaint

If you are a student, employee, contractor or guest of Mohawk College who has experienced an act of sexual violence or has been made aware of sexual violence occurring you may enter into the complaint process according to this policy.

If you have experienced sexual violence, a Mohawk College Security Administrator will assist you with filing a formal complaint. Counselling Services are also available in instances where the survivor needs additional support in disclosing sexual violence. A complaint can be withdrawn at any stage of the process. However, investigations will continue where the act poses a direct threat to the College community.

Individuals who have experienced sexual violence may also wish to press charges under the Criminal Code. A Security Administrator or Counselling Services listed above can assist you with contacting the local police.

If the respondent is a member of the College community an internal assessment and investigation will commence according to Section 7 of this procedure. In instances where the respondent is external to the College an internal investigation will not take place but the College will provide support and resources for accommodations, counselling, reporting to local authorities and any other support that may be necessary.

3) What to Do if You have Witnessed Sexual Violence

If you witness an act of sexual violence report the incident as soon as possible to Security Services at the contact information provided above. Security Services will assist you by providing necessary resources and support. In case of emergency, always call 9-1-1.

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 faculty or staff, student, instructor, teaching assistant, coach, health, residence staff, Mohawk Students’ Association staff, 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. In all cases the individual will be referred to seek assistance from Counselling Services or Security as necessary. Where the individual has disclosed an act of sexual violence to a faculty or College staff member, Mohawk Students’ Association or Residence staff member they will be informed of the duty to notify security personnel.

A supportive response involves:

  • Listening supportively without judgement and accepting the disclosure as true;
  • Communicating that sexual violence is never the responsibility of the survivor and reassuring the individual that it is not their fault. Remind the individual that everyone has a right to be free of attack, threat or harassment;
  • Informing the individual that counselling and support services are available on campus;
  • Encouraging, but not insisting that the individual seek medical attention;
  • Respecting the individual’s right to choose the services they feel are most appropriate and to decide whether to formally report to the police and/or Security Services;
  • Recognizing that disclosing can be traumatic and an individual’s ability to recall the events may be limited;
  • Respecting the individual’s choices as to what and how much they disclose about their experience; and
  • Maintaining confidentiality to the greatest extent possible.

Do not:

  • make the individual do something they are not comfortable with including reporting the act of sexual violence to the police; or
  • criticize the individual for being where they were at the time, for not resisting more or having engaged in high risk behaviours.

If disclosure is made to faculty or staff by a student seeking support or academic accommodation, the faculty or staff must refer the student to Security Services who will work with the Manager, Student Rights and Responsibilities to ensure that the student receives all necessary academic and other accommodations.

5) Communicating with Individuals who have Experienced Sexual Violence

Sensitive and timely communication with individuals who have experienced sexual violence is a central part of the College’s first response to sexual violence. To facilitate communication the College will:

  • Secure consent to communicate with required family or external support person(s) if requested by the survivor;
  • Ensure that designated employees in Security Services, Counselling Services, Human Resources and the Dean of Students Office will be responsible for advocacy on behalf of the student, employee or community member as appropriate.
  • Ensure designated employees respond in a prompt, compassionate and personalized fashion;
  • Ensure that the survivor and the respondent are provided with reasonable updates about the status of the College’s investigation of the incident when such investigations are undertaken; and that
  • The College will create and maintain a sexual assault and sexual violence information webpage that is easily accessible to all members of the College community.

6) Roles and Responsibilities of the College 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 counselling 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 academic needs of those who have experienced sexual violence, e.g. extensions on assignments, continuing studies from home and dropping courses;
  • Residence staff to facilitate safe living arrangements to the best of our abilities;
  • On-Campus community operated sexual violence services provided through Social Inc.;
  • 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 and arrange safety plans.

7) Internal College Response to a Disclosure of Sexual Violence

The College will exercise care to protect and respect the rights of both the survivor and the respondent. The College understands that individuals who have been a victim of sexual violence may wish to control whether to proceed with a formal investigation and how their experience will be dealt with by the College. In most circumstances, the individual will retain this control. The College will only initiate a formal investigation at the request of the survivor or where the act of sexual violence poses a direct threat to the College community.

The survivor may also wish to report incidents of sexual violence to the police. The College will provide assistance to the individual through Counselling or Security Services.

The following procedure outlines how the College responds to a disclosure of sexual violence.

7.1 Notification

All College employees, faculty and Residence staff members will notify Security Services immediately if a disclosure of sexual violence has occurred. If a disclosure has been made through Counselling Services, Counsellors will exercise professional judgement to determine if notification is required.

The Mohawk College Residence has policies specific to their operation. If an act of sexual violence is disclosed through the Residence, Security personnel and Residence staff will conduct a joint assessment and investigation to determine appropriate action.

If Security Services is notified of an act of sexual violence from the local police the College will initiate an internal assessment to determine if action needs to be taken. The Manager, Student Rights and Responsibilities or Human Resources designate will reach out to the survivor to offer support services and accommodations where necessary.

7.2 Assessment of Response Options

Once Security Services has been notified of an act of sexual violence, an assessment will be conducted to determine the College’s response. Security will consult with appropriate stakeholders to determine what actions are required.

In cases involving a student as the survivor, regardless of a formal complaint, Security Services will activate the Manager, Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Manager, Student Rights and Responsibilities will work with the student to assist with decision making and consideration of process options. In addition, the Manager Student Rights and Responsibilities will work with the student to determine any necessary accommodations, referral to counselling services and to community support groups as required. It is up to the survivor what accommodations and/or services will be accepted and acted upon.

During the assessment, risk management will be conducted. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • The involvement of Police if there is a threat to the College community and/or the survivor requests police involvement. Security cannot report on behalf of the survivor but can provide support for the individual in doing so.
  • As required, Security Services will conduct a violence risk assessment to evaluate the level of risk posed by the perpetrator. This violence risk assessment will assist in determining whether any interim measures are required to provide for the personal safety of the survivor and/or the community. These measures may include a behaviour management plan to manage the perpetrator during the course of the internal investigation.

Security Services reserves the authority to temporarily remove individuals from the College community for the purposes of providing for safety, to provide for time to determine the College’s response and/or for the purposes of conducting an investigation. Individuals who are removed under these conditions, are entitled to academic accommodation as this is not a punitive measure.

7.3 Investigation

A formal investigation will only be initiated with the express consent from the survivor unless it is deemed to be a direct threat to the College community. A Security Administrator will conduct the investigation and collect evidence and statements from the survivor, respondent, witnesses and others as necessary. The College reserves the right to hire a third-party investigator as required.

Where criminal and/or civil proceedings are commenced in respect of the allegations of sexual violence, the College will maintain an independent investigation and make determinations in accordance with this Policy. Where there is an ongoing criminal investigation, the College will cooperate with the local police.

7.4 Reporting

The Security Administrator will compile all statements and collected evidence into a formal report. The report will be distributed to the Dean of Students, Chief Human Resources Officer or Vice President, Corporate Services as required to determine necessary discipline and/or sanctions.

7.5 Decision Making

  • 7.5.1 Where the Respondent is a Student
    If a complaint is substantiated following the investigation, the Dean of Students will impose discipline and/or sanctions in accordance with Appendix C of the Student Behaviour Policy.
  • 7.5.2 Where the Respondent is a College Employee
    If a complaint is substantiated following the investigation, the Chief Human Resources Officer will decide on the appropriate disciplinary action consistent with any applicable laws, College policies, Terms and Conditions of Employment and collective agreements.
  • 7.5.3
    Where the Respondent is member of the External Community
    Contractors, suppliers, volunteers or visitors who are on College property will be subject to complaints if they engage in prohibited conduct. Where a complaint against the respondent is substantiated, the Vice President, Corporate Services will determine appropriate College action.

All contractual relationships entered into by the College will be governed by a standard contract compliance clause stating that contractors must comply with this Policy and the Ontario Human Rights Code, including cooperating in investigations. Breach of the clause may result in penalties, cancellation, or other sanctions.

8) Administration

8.1 Costs

Mohawk College shall be responsible for all costs of the administration of this policy. All parties retaining legal or any other assistance external from the College will be solely responsible for the costs incurred.

8.2 Document Retention

Subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, records pertaining to a disclosure or complaint of sexual violence will be held in strict confidence in files separate from any academic or personnel records. Only records of reprimand or discipline will be placed in an individual’s personnel or student file. In the event of multiple or subsequent allegations, reference may be made to previous complaint files.

8.3 Statistics/Annual Report

The Manager, Security & Parking is responsible for compiling and the internal reporting statistics on a monthly basis regarding sexual assault and sexual violence.

Definitions

Acquaintance sexual assault is sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend or acquaintance.

Age of consent for sexual activity is the age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity. In Canada, children under 12 can never legally consent to sexual acts. Sixteen is the legal age of consent for sexual acts. There are variations on the age of consent for adolescents who are close in age between the ages of 12 and 16. Twelve and 13 year-olds can consent to have sex with other youth who are less than 2 years older than themselves. Youth who are 14 and 15 years old may consent to sexual involvement that is mutual with a person who is less than 5 years older. Youths 16 and 17 years old may legally consent to sexual acts with someone who is not in a position of trust or authority.

Coercion in the context of sexual violence, coercion is unreasonable and persistent pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation, blackmail, threats to family or friends, or the promise of rewards or special treatment, to persuade someone to do something they do not wish to do, such as being sexual or performing particular sexual acts.

Consent refers to the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. It is the act of willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour, and requires that a person is able to freely choose between two options: yes and no. This means that there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words which indicates a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is also imperative that everyone understands the following:

  • Silence or non-communication must never be interpreted as consent and a person in a state of diminished judgment cannot consent.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent if are asleep, unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate.
  • A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. is not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in the sexual activity is not consenting to it.
  • A person who is drugged is unable to consent.
  • A person is usually unable to give consent when they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding the sexual acts.
  • The fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual or dating relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity.
  • A person is incapable of giving consent to a person in a position of trust, power or authority, such as, a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach, an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position.

It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to obtain clear and affirmative responses at all stages of sexual engagement. It is also the initiator’s responsibility to know if the person they are engaging with sexually is a minor.

Note: For information purposes only, the Criminal Code defines “consent” as follows:

The voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. No consent is obtained, where:

  • the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant;
  • the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;
  • the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
  • the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity; or
  • the complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.

Drug-facilitated sexual assault refers to the use of alcohol and/or drugs (prescription or non-prescription) by a perpetrator to control, overpower or subdue a victim for purposes of sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim and involves a range of behaviours from any unwanted touching to penetration. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to.

Sexual violence is a broad term that describes any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This violence takes different forms including sexual abuse and sexual assault.

Stalking is a form of criminal harassment prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada. It involves behaviours that occur on more than one occasion and which collectively instill fear in the victim or threaten the victim/target’s safety or mental health. Stalking can also include threats of harm to the target’s friends and/or family. These behaviours include, but are not limited to non-consensual communications (face to face, phone, email, social media); threatening or obscene gestures; surveillance; sending unsolicited gifts; “creeping” via social media/cyber-stalking; and uttering threats.

Survivor is the term used throughout this policy referring to an individual who has experienced sexual assault or sexual violence as some believe they have overcome the violent experience and do not wish to identify with the victimization. It is the prerogative of the person who has experienced these circumstances to determine how they wish to identify.

If you have experienced Sexual Assault or Sexual Violence

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. If you would like to disclose to the College you may contact Security Services. If you have experienced sexual violence and require additional support before formally disclosing to Mohawk College you may contact Counselling Services or a support resource outlined in Attachment 1 of this document. Counselling Services provides private and confidential assistance to those in need. In case of emergency, always call 9-1-1.

Security Services

Fennell Campus & Stoney Creek Campus
905-575-1212 ext. 55
If you are on campus simply dial 55

IAHS Campus
905-575-1212 ext. 88
If you are on campus simply dial 88
Other phone line: 905-574-5111
Security Office: 905-575-2316

Counselling Services

Fennell Campus
Room C102 – The Square
905-575-2211
Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm

Stoney Creek Campus
Room A118
905-575-5000
Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm

IAHS Campus
Room 121 – The Square
905-540-4247 ext. 26107
Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm

Information on Filing a Sexual Assault of Sexual Violence Complaint

If you are a student, employee, contractor or guest of Mohawk College who has experienced an act of sexual violence or has been made aware of sexual violence occurring you may enter into the complaint process according to this policy.

If you have experienced sexual violence, a Mohawk College Security Administrator will assist you with filing a formal complaint. Counselling Services are also available in instances where the survivor needs additional support in disclosing sexual violence. A complaint can be withdrawn at any stage of the process. However, investigations will continue where the act poses a direct threat to the College community.

Individuals who have experienced sexual violence may also wish to press charges under the Criminal Code. A Security Administrator or Counselling Services listed above can assist you with contacting the local police.

If the respondent is a member of the College community an internal assessment and investigation will commence according to Section 7 of this procedure. In instances where the respondent is external to the College an internal investigation will not take place but the College will provide support and resources for accommodations, counselling, reporting to local authorities and any other support that may be necessary.

What to do if you have Witnessed Sexual Assault or Sexual Violence

If you witness an act of sexual violence report the incident as soon as possible to Security Services at the contact information provided above. Security Services will assist you by providing necessary resources and support. In case of emergency, always call 9-1-1.

Myths and Misconceptions about Sexual Assault

This policy and procedure document refers to the offence of sexual assault to align with the current offence contained in the Criminal Code. The word “rape” is no longer used in criminal statutes in Canada. The term was replaced many years ago to acknowledge that sexual violence is not about sex but is about acts of psychological and physical violence. The term “sexual assault” provides a much broader definition and criminalizes unwanted behaviour such as touching and kissing as well as unwanted oral sex and vaginal and anal intercourse. Although the term no longer has a legal meaning in Canada, the term rape is still commonly used.

The following chart aims to dispel myths and misconceptions regarding sexual assault.

Myths Fact
It wasn’t rape, so it wasn’t sexual violence. Sexual assault and sexual violence encompasses a broad range of unwanted sexual activity. Any unwanted sexual contact is considered to be sexual violence. A survivor can be severely affected by all forms of sexual violence, including unwanted fondling, rubbing, kissing, or other sexual acts. Many forms of sexual violence involve no physical contact, such as stalking or distributing intimate visual recordings. All of these acts are serious and can be damaging.
Sexual assault can’t happen to me or anyone I know. Sexual assault can and does happen to anyone. People of all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds are victims of sexual assault, but the vast majority of sexual assaults happen to women and girls. Young women, Aboriginal women and women with disabilities are at greater risk of experiencing sexual assault.
Sexual assault is most often committed by strangers. Someone known to the victim, including acquaintances, dating partners, and common-law or married partners, commit approximately 75 per cent of sexual assaults.
Sexual assault is most likely to happen outside in dark, dangerous places. The majority of sexual assaults happen in private spaces like a residence or private home.
If an individual doesn’t report to the police, it wasn’t sexual assault. Just because a victim doesn’t report the assault doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Fewer than one in ten victims report the crime to the police.
It’s not a big deal to have sex with someone while they are drunk, stoned or passed out. If a person is unconscious or incapable of consenting due to the use of alcohol or drugs, they cannot legally give consent. Without consent, it is sexual assault.
If the person chose to drink or use drugs, then it isn’t considered sexual assault. This is a prominent misconception about sexual assault. No one can consent while drunk or incapacitated.
If the victim didn’t scream or fight back, it probably wasn’t sexual assault. 

If the victim does not fight back, the sexual assault is their fault.
When an individual is sexually assaulted they may become paralyzed with fear and be unable to fight back. The person may be fearful that if they struggle, the perpetrator will become more violent.
If you didn’t say no, it must be your fault. People who commit sexual assault/abuse are trying to gain power and control over their victim. They want to make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for their victim to say no. A person does not need to actually say the word “no” to make it clear that they did not want to participate. The focus in consent is on hearing a “yes.”
If the victim isn’t crying or visibly upset, it probably wasn’t a serious sexual assault. Every woman responds to the trauma of sexual assault differently. She may cry or she may be calm. She may be silent or very angry. Her behaviour is not an indicator of her experience. It is important not to judge a woman by how she responds to the assault.
If someone does not have obvious physical injuries, like cuts or bruises, they probably were not sexually assaulted. Lack of physical injury does not mean that a person wasn’t sexually assaulted. An offender may use threats, weapons, or other coercive actions that do not leave physical marks. The person may have been unconscious or been otherwise incapacitated.
If it really happened, the victim would be able to easily recount all the facts in the proper order. Shock, fear, embarrassment and distress can all impair memory. Many survivors attempt to minimize or forget the details of the assault as a way of coping with trauma. Memory loss is common when alcohol and/or drugs are involved.
Individuals lie and make up stories about being sexually assaulted; and most reports of sexual assault turn out to be false. According to Statistics Canada, fewer than one in 10 sexual assault victims report the crime to the police. Approximately 2% of sexual assault reports are false. 

The number of false reports for sexual assault is very low. Sexual assault carries such a stigma that many people prefer not to report.
Persons with disabilities don’t get sexually assaulted. Individuals with disabilities are at a high risk of experiencing sexual violence or assault. Those who live with activity limitations are over two times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than those who are able-bodied.
A spouse or significant other cannot sexually assault their partner. Sexual assault can occur in a married or other intimate partner relationship. The truth is, sexual assault occurs ANY TIME there is not consent for sexual activity of any kind. Being in a relationship does not exclude the possibility of, or justify, sexual assault. A person has the right to say “no” at ANY point.
People who are sexually assaulted “ask for it” by their provocative behaviour or dress. This statement couldn’t be more hurtful or wrong. Nobody deserves to be sexually assaulted. Someone has deliberately chosen to be violent toward someone else; to not get consent. Nobody asks to be assaulted. Ever. No mode of dress, no amount of alcohol or drugs ingested, no matter what the relationship is between the survivor and the perpetrator or what the survivor’s occupation is, sexual assault is always wrong.
Sexual assault only happens to women Not true. The majority of sexual assaults are committed against women by men, but people of all genders, from all backgrounds have been/can be assaulted.
Sexual abuse of males is rare. According to Statistics Canada, six percent of males 15 or over reported that they have experienced sexual victimization. Sexual assault/abuse occurs in every economic, ethic, age and social group.
If you got aroused or got an erection or ejaculated you must have enjoyed it. It is normal for your body to react to physical stimulation. Just because you became physically aroused does not mean that you liked it, or wanted it or consented in any way. If you experienced some physical pleasure, this does not take away the fact that sexual abuse happened or the effects or feelings of abuse.

Women's Safety On-Campus

Other Resources available to you

Contact Information Services
Assaulted Women’s Helpline

Phone: 1-866-863-0511
Visit Assaulted Women's Helpline (opens new window)
Provides confidential and anonymous telephone crisis counselling, information and support, referrals to emergency shelters, legal information and community services, safety planning and culturally appropriate resources for abused women. Telephone interpretation in over 154 languages available
Sexual Assault Center

24/7 Crisis Line: 905-525-4162
Phone: 905-525-4573
YWCA: 75 MacNab Street South, 3rd Floor
Hamilton, ON L8P 3C1
Visit Sexual Assault Centre (opens new window)
Provides support and advocacy to individuals who have experienced sexual violence at any point in their lives. Programs and services include 24 hour support line, counselling and advocacy, diverse communities outreach, public education and counselling for male survivors.
Juravinski Hospital Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre

Sexual Assault Support Line: 905-525-4162
Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 1-866-863-0511
Phone: 905-521-2100 Ext 73557
711 Concession Street
Hamilton, ON L8V 1C3
Visit Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre (opens new window)
Provides specialized healthcare for adolescents, women, transgendered persons, and men who have experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence.
Hamilton General Hospital Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre

Sexual Assault Support Line: 905-525-4162
Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 1-866-863-0511
Phone: 905-521-2100 ext. 73557
237 Barton Street East
Hamilton, ON L8L 2X2
Visit Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre (opens new window)
Provides specialized healthcare for adolescents, women, transgendered persons and men who have experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence.
Hamilton Police Service - Victim Services Branch

Phone: 905-546-3879
155 King William St
Hamilton, ON L8N 4C1
Visit Hamilton Police - Victim Services Branch (opens new window)
24-hour on scene crisis intervention service for victims of crime and trauma in the City of Hamilton. Victim Services provide practical assistance, emotional support and referrals for additional community resources.
Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre

Sexual Assault Centre Support Line: 905-525-4162
Assaulted Women’s Helpline: 1-866-863-0511
Phone: 905-521-2100 ext 73185
McMaster University Medical Centre
1200 Main St. West
Hamilton, ON L8N 3Z5
Visit Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre (opens new window)
Providing effective, comprehensive and supportive care for children and adolescents who have experienced sexual assault and are 17 years of age and under.
Sexual Assault Centre of Brant

Crisis Phone: 519-751-3471
Phone: 519-751-1164
211 Brant Avenue
Brantford, ON N3T 3J1
Visit Sexual Assault Centre of Brant (opens new window)
Provides 24-hour crisis line for survivors of sexual violence. Provides individual counselling and support to women and men over 14 years of age. Will accompany survivors to hospital, police or court and advocate on their behalf.
Access Counselling & Family Services, Counselling for Abused Women and their Children

Phone: 1-866-457-0234
460 Brant Street Suite 200,
Burlington, ON L7R 4B6
Visit Access Counselling and Family Services (opens new window)
Individual counselling for women who have experienced any kind of abuse including physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse. Women receive support, counselling and education.
Joseph Brant Hospital Regional Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre

Burlington Crisis Line: 905-332-7892
Milton Crisis Line: 905-878-8555
Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services Line: 905-875-1555
1230 North Shore Boulevard
Burlington, ON L7R 1W7
Visit Joseph Brant Hospital - Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre (opens new window)
A sexual assault/domestic violence crisis centre providing specialized health care, police services and agency referrals for men, women and children of all ages who have experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence within the past 72 hours.

 

Who Will You Help? 

Ontario Government unveils “It’s Never Okay” 3-year, $41-million campaign to fight sexual assault and harassment. #WhoWillYouHelp

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