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Sexual Violence Policy

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
39.01 Vice President, College Services and CFO Director, Human Rights & Equity Services Board of Governors Apr. 19, 2018 Apr. 22, 2021 Apr. 23, 2021 Apr. 2026
  1. Purpose
    1. Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is committed to the dignity, respect and equitable treatment of all College Community members. The College recognizes that anyone can experience Sexual Violence, and that it can deeply affect the emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of individuals and communities. The College is committed to maintaining a safe and respectful learning and working environment.
    2. The purpose of this Policy and its related Procedures is to:
      1. foster an environment in which all members of the College Community are safe, secure, and free from Sexual Violence in any form; and
      2. set out the way in which the College addresses Sexual Violence.
  1. Scope
    1. This Policy applies to all members of the College Community including visitors.
    2. This Policy applies to Sexual Violence perpetrated or experienced, or alleged to have been perpetrated or experienced, by a member of the College Community:
      1. occurring, in whole or in part, on physical College sites;
      2. occurring, in whole or in part, in electronic environments such as online or in social media, where such behaviour negatively impacts the ability of a person who has experienced sexual violence to learn and/or work at the College, and/or could have an adverse impact on the reputation of, or experience of, the learning or working environment of the College;
      3. occurring, in whole or in part, in the course of employment or studies with the College, including without limitation to field work, off-campus learning, work experience placements, studies abroad and other international learning opportunities, as part of an NSCC program;
      4. occurring, in whole or in part, in the course of participation in College-sponsored activities or programs;
      5. occurring wholly outside of College property, where such behaviour negatively impacts the ability of a person who has experienced sexual violence to learn and/or work at the College, and/or could have an adverse impact on the reputation of, or experience of, the learning or working environment of the College.
    3. Where it appears that the concern is outside of this Policy or is one that should be more appropriately dealt with under another policy, Act or procedure, the College reserves the right to determine the approach to deal with the concern or refer it to the appropriate forum. Where a matter falls within the scope of this policy and one or more other College policies, the College will determine which policy or policies and related procedures will be invoked.
    4. Nothing in this Policy precludes any member of the College community from exercising their rights under a Collective Agreement, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act or reporting to police.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Accommodation reasonable and appropriate measures implemented in the context of education or employment to provide support in order to reduce barriers and allow for a fair opportunity to engage in academic and/or work-related activities, programs and services including participation in any activity or process under this policy.
Campus Counsellor an individual who is employed by NSCC who is responsible for providing personal counselling to students (e.g. “Student Services Counsellor, Personal and Career ALP Counsellor). This does not include NSCC employees who have counselling backgrounds but do not hold the title of “Counsellor” at NSCC.
Central College Department the non-campus departments of the College.
College Community

College Community member under this policy/procedure includes, but is not limited to the following:

  1. Employee: any person who is currently employed by NSCC or provides services to NSCC under an employment contract. This includes all employees, regardless of status, as well as current employees who are on a leave of absence (paid/unpaid).
  2. Student: anyone registered in NSCC programs or otherwise participating in NSCC courses, programs, events and activities.
  3. Volunteer: any person performing work for NSCC in an unpaid capacity.
  4. Contractor: any individual or company (and its employees) who provides services to NSCC under a service contract (i.e. a non-employee-employer relationship).
  5. NSCC Community Member: any person working in collaboration with NSCC for a business or academic purpose or an external community member, including all graduates and alumni of NSCC.
  6. NSCC Board of Governors: the governing body of the College.
Consent voluntary, ongoing, active, willing and conscious choice and agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. Consent cannot be obtained through force, coercion, threat or fraud. There is no consent when a person expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage, or continue to engage, in sexual activity. A person who is asleep or unconscious is incapable of consenting to sexual activity. A person may be incapable of consenting to sexual activity when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs or when there is an imbalance of power or authority, or when one person is in a position of trust and induces another to engage in sexual activity.
Complainant a member of the College Community who, in accordance with this Policy and the Procedures, makes a disclosure of an experience of Sexual Violence. A person who makes a confidential disclosure for the purposes of seeking support and accessing resources will not be considered a complainant.
Confidential Disclosure Student: A student may share an experience of Sexual Violence with a Campus Counsellor with the intent of receiving confidential support and advice.

Employee: An employee may share an experience of Sexual Violence with the intent of receiving confidential support and advice by contacting the Employee and Family Assistance Program.

In either case the disclosure will remain confidential except as prescribed by the counsellor’s professional protocols or by law.
Disclose or Disclosure sharing information about an experience of sexual violence with a NSCC College Community Member other than a Campus Counsellor. The disclosure of information about an experience related to an actual or alleged perpetration or experience of sexual violence to an NSCC employee also initiates a Duty to Consult with Human Rights and Equity Services within 2 days. A disclosure may lead to a Report as defined within this policy and subsequent fact finding, investigation or alternative resolution and confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed. At NSCC, only a counsellor can receive a confidential disclosure.
Disclosing Student/Disclosing Employee a person who makes a confidential disclosure of an experience of Sexual Violence for the purpose of seeking support and/or advice.
Duty to Consult Each employee who is a NSCC College Community Member other than a Campus Counsellor who receives a disclosure or information about an experience related to the actual or alleged perpetration or experience of sexual violence within the NSCC community has a duty to consult with Human Rights and Equity Services within 2 days and prior to taking actions or making decisions that may have consequences for complainants, respondents and community members affected under this policy.
Fact Finding activities used to gain understanding of a report or disclosure to determine the most appropriate policy and process application, while ensuring procedural fairness for all parties. The range of activities may include but is not limited to a fact-finding inquiry, a more detailed investigation or a blend of resolution options, such as information gathering and alternative resolution. The College determines the extent of the fact-finding process.
Interim Measures temporary, non-disciplinary measures that may be imposed on a person, usually the person alleged to have committed Sexual Violence, to help facilitate a safe learning and working environment. Interim measures are not intended to be punitive, and the implementation of interim measures is not an indication that an adverse finding has been made, or will be made, against any of the parties.
Intersectionality the complex, cumulative way in which the effects of multiple forms of discrimination (such as racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and classism) and social identity combine, overlap, or intersect especially in the experiences of equity-seeking individuals or groups.
Investigator a person, selected by the Sexual Violence Response Team (SVRT), who conducts a College investigation under the Policy and Procedures. An investigator may be an NSCC employee, or an external person engaged by the College.
Principal the Principal(s) of the College campus(es) at which a complainant and/or respondent is a student, employee or other member of the College Community.
Procedural Fairness

describes the duty of fairness that is owed to anyone whose interests, or rights may be impacted by an investigation and any subsequent outcome from said investigation. Two primary rights are the right to be heard and the right to an unbiased decision. Procedural Fairness requires:

  • notice of the matter under consideration;
  • access to information that will be considered when the decision is made to allow parties an ability to fully respond to the report. The College considers personal privacy and safety factors when determining access to information
  • the right to respond;
  • a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  • an impartial and unbiased decision-maker;
  • reasons for the decision or outcome.
Rape Culture broader social attitudes about gender, sex and sexuality that normalize sexual violence and undermine equity.
Report a Report is a written allegation of sexual violence that is initiated by Human Rights and Equity Services and submitted to the Sexual Violence Response Team (SVRT) to be addressed. A Report is based upon a Disclosure. A Report initiates a fact-finding process and may result in a range of accommodations, actions or sanctions as noted in the Procedures.
Respondent a person who is alleged to have violated this policy.
Sexual Assault any form of sexual contact without consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, unwanted kissing, fondling, touching, disrobing, oral or anal sex, vaginal intercourse or other forms of penetration. It also includes inducing intoxication, impairment or incapacity for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.
Sexual Harassment

a course of unwelcome, humiliating, and/or embarrassing comments of a sexual nature, persistent or abusive sexual solicitation or advances directed at an individual based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, by another individual or group who knows, or ought reasonably to know, that this attention is unwelcome; any solicitation or advance which is known, or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, humiliating and/or embarrassing made by an individual who is in the position to confer or deny a benefit; and /or any reprisal or threat of reprisal, for refusing to comply with an implied or expressed sexual solicitation or advance. Sexual harassment also includes:

  1. stalking or unwanted and repeated direct or indirect communication, including emails, gifts, letters or notes
  2. indecent exposure;
  3. voyeurism;
  4. display of sexually suggestive pictures, posters, objects or graffiti;
  5. unwanted behaviours or comments that fetishize perceived personal characteristics such as gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and/or race, age, or size etc.
  6. any of the behaviours described here when these behaviours are displayed or communicated on any form of social media or other electronic media.
Sexual Violence

These include in-person and digital/cyber actions. This violence takes different forms including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Acts of Sexual Violence can also include, but are not limited to:

  1. distribution of intimate images without consent;
  2. coercion of another person’s sexuality by physical or psychological intimidation;
  3. removal of or failure to use a condom during intercourse without consent;
  4. denial of another person’s sexual decision-making rights.
  5. retaliation or threats by an individual as a result of their sexual advances not being accepted.
Sexual Violence Response Team (SVRT) Sexual Violence Response Team is the committee convened when determined necessary by Human Rights and Equity Services to address Reports of Sexual Violence.
Survivor-Centric an approach that, wherever possible, seeks to empower the individual who has experienced Sexual Violence by placing their needs at the centre of decision-making related to support and response.
Trauma-Informed an approach based on an understanding of the profound and complex physical, psychological and social impacts trauma can have on an individual including their: behaviour, decision-making, memory and willingness to seek services or
accommodations or in reporting incidents. In the context of Sexual Violence, it rejects myths and stereotypes about Sexual Violence and seeks to empower those who experience Sexual Violence and minimize further victimization, including when Disclosing or Reporting.
  1. Policy
    1. Guiding Principles and Commitment
      NSCC expects that all interpersonal relationships and interactions will be grounded upon mutual respect, open communication, and clear consent and that all members of the College Community will take an active role in upholding the inherent dignity of all individuals.

      NSCC is committed to:
      1. ensuring that people who Disclose Sexual Violence are listened to and treated with compassion;
      2. responding promptly to Disclosures and Reports in an intersectional, trauma-informed and survivor-centric manner;
      3. supporting the individuals involved and providing information regarding options for supports, medical care and Reporting;
      4. assessing the safety of the individuals involved and the safety of any of the campuses or departments that are involved;
      5. engaging appropriate response mechanisms and ensuring procedural fairness; and
      6. ensuring a commitment to confidentiality whenever possible.
    2. Sexual Violence Prevention and Education
      The College recognizes the role it plays in countering rape culture and reducing Sexual Violence through awareness, education and prevention.

      NSCC is committed to:
      1. ensuring that educational opportunities will be provided to students and employees;
      2. ensuring investigators responsible for Sexual Violence Reports will be trained on trauma-informed approaches to investigations; and
      3. forming a Sexual Violence Prevention and Education Committee (SVPEC), comprised of diverse representatives, including students, College leaders, Student Services staff, faculty, as well as subject-matter experts. The SVPEC’s mandate is to work towards Sexual Violence prevention and education in NSCC communities.
    3. Confidential Disclosure
      A student may share an experience of Sexual Violence with a Campus Counsellor at any NSCC Campus with the intent of receiving support which may include counselling services; external resources; information on medical care, accommodations and possible interim measures, although many interim measures will require a Report. Information shared will remain confidential, except as required by the counsellor’s professional protocols or by law. All Student Services Personal and Career Counsellors and Adult Learning Program Counsellors employed by the Nova Scotia Community College adhere to Codes of Ethics and Standards of Practice. On matters of confidentiality, counsellors must adhere to ethics and standards set forth by their respective regulatory or certifying body.

      A student or employee may request a Report be filed at any time after they make a confidential disclosure. The student or employee may also decide to make both a confidential disclosure and a non-confidential disclosure as they determine appropriate. A student or employee who wishes to maintain the highest degree of confidentiality available should make a Confidential Disclosure to a Campus Counsellor or the Employee and Family Assistance Program only.
    4. Disclosure
      Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed when a student or employee is making a disclosure to a NSCC College Community Member who is not a Campus Counsellor or working on behalf of the Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP).Disclosures may be made by a person who has experienced sexual violence, a witness, or a third party with knowledge of Sexual Violence committed against any member of the College Community.

      Duty to Consult after Disclosure

      An Employee of the College receiving a disclosure has a duty to consult with Human Rights and Equity Services. The primary purpose of the duty to consult is to ensure that the person who makes a disclosure has access to on and off campus supports, including counselling, sexual violence resources, legal advice and police, if these resources are wanted. In most cases where a person discloses and does not wish to have the College address a complaint, the person consulting with Human Rights and Equity Services will not need to provide names or identifying information. Following consultation, Human Rights and Equity Services may initiate a Report, depending on associated risks including ongoing risk of harm to a member(s) of the College community.
    5. Initiation of a Report by Human Rights and Equity Services
      A written Report of actual or alleged Sexual Violence is initiated by Human Rights and Equity Services and submitted to the Sexual Violence Response Team (SVRT) with the intent of having the College address the Report. This may lead to a fact-finding process to determine the most appropriate next steps and the response may be addressed by a Sexual Violence Response Team (SVRT) established by the College. Prior to or following the initiation of a Report by Human Rights and Equity Services, interim measures, accommodations and the potential for alternative resolution will be considered, as appropriate.
      1. No Mandatory Disclosure
        Any member of the College Community or visitor who has been subject to Sexual Violence is encouraged to Disclose the incident immediately. However, there is no mandatory disclosure except in the limits of confidentiality as described in section 4.8.
      2. No Time Limitation on Making a Report
        The College encourages the complainant to make a Disclosure as soon as possible, recognizing that some types of information and evidence may expire with time. It may take a complainant time to process their experience and make a decision regarding their options after Sexual Violence occurs, therefore, there are no deadlines for making a disclosure or for the initiation of a Report by Human Rights and Equity Services.
      3. Anonymous Disclosure
        College Community members may anonymously disclose actual or alleged Sexual Violence within the College community to Human Rights and Equity Services. The person disclosing may choose not to provide their name or other personal information in the anonymous disclosure. Human Rights and Equity Services will collect and maintain information provided in an anonymous disclosure. The College has limited ability to act on anonymous disclosures.
    6. Report Process
      A Report of Sexual Violence is initiated under this Policy by Human Rights and Equity Services. The Sexual Violence Procedures provide detailed steps for making a Report.

      The Report will be initiated by Human Rights and Equity Services. If a Report falls within the scope of this Policy and purview of the Sexual Violence Response Team (SVRT), a SVRT will be convened to determine next steps including investigations and alternative resolution as appropriate and as outlined in the Procedures.

      There are other considerations when filing a Report:
      1. Retaliation
        No member of the NSCC Community shall retaliate, engage in reprisals and/or threaten a person who:
        1. has made a Disclosure under this Policy;
        2. participated in any process under this Policy; or
        3. has associated with a person who has made a Disclosure or participated in a process under this Policy.
      2. Accommodations and Interim Measures
        1. Accommodations: NSCC recognizes the importance of supporting continued learning and/or working at the College during a Sexual Violence process where appropriate, which may include increasing the physical and/or psychological safety of participants. NSCC will consider accommodations to the learning and/or working environment as needed. In some circumstances a Report may be required in order to obtain accommodations.
        2. A Complainant, Respondent, or other participant in a process under this policy may require accommodation in order to ensure their full and fair participation. This requirement may be based on disability or some other protected characteristic. The College has a duty to provide accommodation to the point of undue hardship.
        3. Interim Measures: In some cases, the imposition of interim measures on a Respondent and/or other individual may be considered, however, a Report is required. In the case of interim measures for a student, the College will take reasonable steps to provide continued access to learning. Any alleged breach of interim measures will be investigated by the College. See Procedures for more information.
      3. Right to a Support Person
        Complainants, respondents and witnesses may have a support person present during Sexual Violence Disclosure and/or Report related meetings. An individual who is likely to be interviewed as a witness in the investigation will not be allowed to also act as a support person.
      4. Drug and Alcohol Use
        Use of drugs and/or alcohol will not prevent access to supports under this Policy nor change the College’s response to Disclosures. The Complainant will also not be subject to discipline under the application of the Drug and Alcohol Policy.
    7. No Appeal
      Factual findings and decisions made under this Policy are final and there is no right of appeal. A person who is dissatisfied with the outcome reached under this Policy including an employee who receives discipline may seek options through any applicable provisions of the Collective Agreement(s), the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act or in any other proceedings available in law.
    8. Confidentiality
      NSCC recognizes that confidentiality is important to those who have disclosed Sexual Violence. NSCC will take reasonable precautions to maintain confidentiality of all persons involved in a Disclosure and/or Report under this Policy.

      However, when Disclosing to a NSCC College Community member other than a Campus Counsellor and/or Reporting as initiated by Human Rights and Equity Services, confidentiality cannot be assured in cases where:
      1. confidentiality would inhibit the effective investigation, processing, resolution or referral of Reports or the imposition of disciplinary or remedial action;
      2. confidentiality would inhibit a Respondent’s ability to respond fully to a Report of Sexual Violence;
      3. an individual is at imminent risk of self-harm;
      4. an individual is at imminent risk of harming another;
      5. a child or other vulnerable person(s) has been harmed or is at imminent risk of being harmed;
      6. disclosure is required under the law;
      7. the respondent is a person in a position of trust and/or authority; or
      8. other significant safety risks as determined by NSCC.
  1. Policy Supports

Related Policies

33.01 Student Code of Conduct
33.02 Student Appeals Policy
42.01 Employee Code of Conduct
41.01 Respectful Community Policy
42.31 Safe Disclosure Policy
73.21 Violence Prevention policy

Collective Agreements

Faculty
Professional Support
Operational Support

Related Acts

Nova Scotia Human Rights Act
Criminal Code of Canada

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