Gender-Based & Sexual Violence Action Committee

Background on the Action Committee: 

In response to heightened concerns about student safety and sexual violence on campus, the Action Committee on Gender-Based & Sexual Violence was created in October 2021 to study the issue and make recommendations for changing the culture at Western.

The Committee was identified as one element in a broader action plan implemented to enhance student safety following incidents of sexual violence arising during OWeek 2021. 

Co-chaired by Dr. Terry McQuaid and Prof. Nadine Wathen, the Committee began meeting semi-monthly on November 2, 2021, and will deliver a report of its findings and recommendations in spring of 2022.

See TERMS OF REFERENCE for more details on the Committee's mandate.

See ACGBSV MEMBERSHIP for short bios on each of the Committee's 13 members.  

See MEETING OUTCOMES for the latest update on the Committee's work.

Outcomes from January 14, 2022 meeting:

  • The Committee would like to highlight work happening across campus, including training, awareness-raising, outreach, and engagement activities led by Western Student Experience, the University Students’ Council, the Society of Graduate Students, and the student-led Safe Campus Coalition. There is a lot of important activity underway, and we are collaborating with key partners at Anova and the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women & Children to develop recommendations we hope will help enhance, extend, and assess the impact of this impressive work.

  • The Committee’s work is intensifying, with each working group pushing forward on specific activities to gather input to formulate actionable recommendations.

  • A key focus is on communications. USC, SOGS, Western Student Experience and our partners – Anova and CREVAWC – have been extraordinarily busy rolling out new initiatives, but there is a sense these have not been adequately communicated in a coordinated way, leaving the campus community unaware.

  • The Committee will prioritize a plan to communicate in the near term what’s been happening (beyond these key points on the website) and, moving forward, provide consolidated summaries of ongoing and planned activities.

  • Ultimately, we will develop a proposed communication strategy to accompany the recommendations put forward to the President.

  • Questions for the brief community survey are being finalize for release this month.

Outcomes from December 9, 2021 meeting:

  • The four working groups have begun meeting and engaging additional expertise and experience from across campus, including reaching out to specific groups and individuals with valuable insights to share.

  • In January, the campus community will be invited to share specific ideas and strategies for action via an online survey – please stay tuned.

  • This will be followed up by targeted group discussions in February.

  • An important goal of the Committee is to assess the range of activities being undertaken, ensure coordination and lack of duplication, provide strategies to measure the impact of these actions, and continue to ensure clear and ongoing communication among those conducting these activities, and with the broader community.

Outcomes from November 19, 2021 meeting:

  • The Committee is forming working groups around four topic areas: 1) Consultation/engagement; 2) Communication/coordination; 3) Policy/accountability; 4) Evaluation/assessment

  • Each working group will bring ideas in these areas to inform actionable recommendations to the larger Action Committee for discussion and integration 

  • We heard about the extraordinary amount of activity being undertaken across campus, both by the Gender and Sexual Violence Education and Response group in Wellness, and by USC, with both sets of activities being supported in multiple ways by experts from Anova and CREVAWC

  • This included discussion of the various GBSV Education Programs currently underway at Western, and the range of Support Options for Survivors of Sexual Violence

  • A key goal of this Committee will be recommending ways for cross-campus activities to be better coordinated and communicated.

  • We have already heard through various consultations that specific environmental measures would make people feel safer on campus, including better lighting in specific areas.

  • The Committee has asked for a review of existing Safe Cities data for campus, and will make recommendations on immediate changes that could support safety. 

Outcomes from November 2, 2021 meeting

  • At its first meeting, the Committee reviewed, enhanced, and finalized its Terms of Reference

  • Members observed that GBSV is a complex issue that intersects with other social issues affecting our campus and the broader community. The Committee notes that work aimed at addressing social norms and practices that enable and glorify sexual violence is inherently political.

  • Members heard about the new student-facing education, launched October 21 by Student Experience, Wellness and Equity Education in partnership with CREVAWC and Anova

  • Members heard about new employee-facing education that is underway in partnership with CREVAWC, to support survivors disclosing violence. 

  • The Committee will develop a project plan structured with working groups, each focused on a key topic with actionable recommendations and implementation considerations, to be outlined in a final report to Western's President in early Spring 2022. 

  • Building on existing and ongoing work, we’ll be looking for a broad range of inputs from stakeholders across campus and the London community to support best practices in prevention, education and response.