Concordia shares its training on sexual violence awareness and prevention with institutions across Quebec and beyond
On August 15, Concordia launched mandatory sexual violence awareness and prevention training across the university.
It’s the latest step in Concordia’s ongoing effort to foster a safe and respectful environment.
Faculty, staff and students have until October 4 to complete the training.
Titled It takes all of us, the training was designed by Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) and KnowledgeOne — the university’s eLearning partner. It is based on consultations with a wide cross-section of the university community as well as the Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence.
Preventive in nature
At the heart of the training are modules that focus on the following themes:
- What constitutes sexual violence, and the myths and realities surrounding this prevalent issue
- How to ask for informed consent and ensure that it is mutual, voluntary and ongoing
- Understanding how power dynamics complicate consent
- When and how a bystander can intervene if they witness behaviours that could escalate to sexual violence
- How to support people who have experienced sexual violence
The training also informs the community about key processes and policies related to this issue as well as resources available on and off campus.
Finding ways to reach the whole community
The idea of an online training addressing sexual violence originated in 2015 and was spearheaded by SARC coordinator Jennifer Drummond.
“SARC had been doing a lot of in-person training to small groups at the time,” explains Drummond. “The feedback was positive and we wanted to find a way to scale up training opportunities to the whole community.”
Given Concordia’s size and the diversity of its population, Drummond saw online training as a practical and efficient way of disseminating this information.
In 2016, SARC started developing the content and engaged in focus groups with students, faculty and staff to get feedback that would eventually be incorporated in the training.
“For this to be successful, we really wanted to create something that people would want to engage with,” Drummond explains.
SARC worked closely with KnowledgeOne on developing engaging visuals, audio and storyboards. Further focus groups were held at different stages of the development process to see how people responded to the look, feel, voice and navigation of the training.
"This training educates people on what constitutes sexual violence and the on-campus resources available to the Concordia community,” says Lisa Ostiguy, chair of the Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence responsible for implementing the training as required by Bill 151: An Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions.
Adopted province-wide and beyond
Beyond serving the Concordia community, this training was offered free of charge to other post-secondary institutions who are in the process of rolling out sexual violence awareness and prevention training required by Bill 151.
To date, the following universities and CEGEPs have adopted It takes all of us:
- McGill University
- Université de Montréal
- HEC Montréal
- Polytechnique Montréal
- The network of Universités du Québec
- Bishop’s University
- Université de Sherbrooke
- Collège Marianopolis
- Collège Bart
- Fédération des cégeps (48 in total; in the process of signing)
- University of Saskatchewan
KnowledgeOne CEO Robert Beauchemin says making the training available to other institutions at no cost is about spreading knowledge and education in this area as far as possible.
“We worked really hard with Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre to create a training that is educative and engaging. This is a very important subject matter and the more people who can benefit from It takes all of us, the better.”
Interim president and vice-chancellor Graham Carr agrees.
“I am proud of the work that Concordia has undertaken on this important issue,” he says.
“I would like to thank Lisa Ostiguy, special advisor to the provost on campus life, Jennifer Drummond, our partners at KnowledgeOne and the Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence for their hard work in creating this dynamic and important training.”
Take the mandatory sexual violence awareness and prevention training now at concordia.ca/allofus.