Hélène David, Ministre responsable de l'Enseignement supérieur

"As a woman, a mother, a Quebecer and Minister responsible for Higher Education, I cannot allow sexual violence to continue to traumatize students and cause them to drop out of school. Sexual violence has many harmful consequences for those who experience it as well as for the people around them. When the victims are students, it can have serious repercussions on their schooling and may even cause them to fail or drop out of school.

It is vital that we speak up and take action to ensure that victims are no longer alone, and that we stand together to fight this phenomenon. The consultations on preventing and countering sexual violence on Québec’s college and university campuses revealed a strong determination to join forces to address this problem."

Hélène David
Minister responsible for Higher Education

The fight against sexual violence in institutions of higher education reflects a determination to ensure healthy and respectful study and work environments for all Quebecers. In addition to satisfying a social imperative, it must foster a change of culture in these institutions.

CONSULTATIONS

In 2016-2017, MEES held consultations with all higher education stakeholders. More than 75 briefs were submitted, and nearly 400 people participated in five days of discussions on how to prevent and counter sexual violence on college and university campuses in Québec.

These consultations helped identify various measures aimed at fighting sexual violence (such as prevention policies, better physical security measures on campuses, and effective complaints management mechanisms). MEES also studied research papers on the subject.

INTERVENTION STRATEGY

This intervention strategy reflects a strong commitment to address this issue. It is consistent with the Québec government’s 2016-2021 strategy to prevent and counter sexual violence, and is unique in that it takes into account all students and staff in institutions of higher education. It also makes provisions for the special needs of students with disabilities, members of cultural and Indigenous communities, and sexual and gender minorities.

Intervention on the part of MEES and initiatives by institutions of higher education can be divided into the following broad areas:

  • Awareness, prevention and knowledge development
  • Handling of disclosures and complaints
  • Support
  • Personal safety
  • Collaboration
  • Framework

This intervention strategy is based on collaboration with all stakeholders and proposes a rigorous framework, including eventual legislation to ensure proper implementation.

Action can take many forms, from legislative intervention to financial support for educational institutions. However, before we do anything we must learn more about the nature and scope of the problem within the student population of each institution. Once we have a full picture of the situation, the choice of tools and actions will become clearer.

Read the consultation report on the “Sans oui, c’est non!” campaign (In French only), the product of a joint initiative by postsecondary institutions, partner student associations, the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur and the Secrétariat à la condition féminine.