Responding to Sexual Violence in Residence

The university’s academic mission can only succeed within a safe and vibrant learning environment. Acts of sexual violence go against this mission so Residence Services and the University of Alberta are committed to supporting the needs of survivors to restore this environment for them.

Should a survivor choose to disclose or make a complaint, there will be services and experienced professionals ready to assist and support them.

Survivor-driven approach

Survivors are allowed to pursue any of the reporting and support options available to them. Responses to disclosures or complaints will be focused on the needs of the person who was subjected to harm rather than on punishment for the person who caused harm. In some cases, the survivor will request that the individual be allowed to remain in the community and we will honour that request, whenever it is deemed safe for the rest of the community to do so. That is why the actions that result from a disclosure or complaint will vary—responses are always guided by the individual circumstances and the survivors’ wishes.

Community safety

It is important for residents to feel safe and supported in order to fully participate in the academic environment. While the result of a disclosure or complaint may not always be understood by others in the community, be assured that all appropriate measures have been taken to support the needs of the survivor and the safety of the community.

Together, we can build a culture of safety and consent and improve how sexual violence is addressed within residence. Residence Services is committed to:

Improved first-responder training

Student and professional staff will be adequately trained to offer the required support to survivors

Continued support for survivors

Residents can get support regardless of when or where an incident occurred or who committed it

More educational programming

Community events that focus on supporting survivors and building a culture of consent

Working with the community

Addressing concerns to ensure residents can participate in a safe and vibrant learning environment


Residents who have experienced sexual violence can get the support they need regardless of when or where the violence took place or who committed it.

If you are struggling as a result of sexual violence during your time at the university, one of the following will be able to provide appropriate and timely help, or connect you with someone who can, so that you understand your options:

  • Resident Assistant or other Residence Life student staff
  • Residence Services professional staff
  • Sexual Assault Centre or any other support service on campus

Individual reactions to sexual violence differ greatly, and a person's decision about how to respond to an experience of sexual violence may change over time. If you have experienced sexual violence, view Help for Survivors.

Help for survivors

Frequently Asked Questions

What are my options if I don't wish to disclose sexual violence to my RA?
You can speak with anyone you trust—a friend, family member, peer, colleague, supervisor, teacher, etc. To access more information, support, complaint options and interim measures and modifications, consider disclosing to:
Residence Life professional staff member
(contact the Residence Care Coordinator at
What happens once a disclosure has been received?
Residence Services will take direction from the survivor on whether they want to be connected to support services on campus and/or to the Office of The Dean of Students to learn about actions that could be implemented under the Sexual Violence Policy, such as modifications and interim measures.
What is the timeline for making a disclosure?
There is no time limit to receiving support on campus.
What if the sexual violence took place outside of residence?
Support is available regardless of when the sexual violence took place, where it took place (on campus or off campus) or whether it was committed by a student, staff, faculty member or non-U of A person.
What resources are available for making a disclosure within residence?
A survivor can request a room transfer for themselves through Residence Services. Other options (i.e. moving the person who caused harm) can be requested through the Office of The Dean of Students under the Sexual Violence Policy with the support of Residence Services.
What can I expect when I disclose or make a complaint of sexual violence?
Under the Sexual Violence Policy, regardless of where or when sexual violence took place, any person who discloses and/or makes a complaint of sexual violence can expect to be:
  1. treated with respect, dignity and compassion,
  2. informed about on- and off-campus resources and supports,
  3. provided with access to support which is non-judgmental, coordinated and comprehensive
  4. offered options for academic, recreational, University residence and/or workplace modifications to prevent further unwanted contact with the subject of the disclosure and ameliorate, to the extent possible, the negative impacts of the sexual violence on the person’s working, study or student residence environment,
  5. provided with information about available complaint processes should they wish to pursue a complaint within the University and/or to an external law enforcement agency, and
  6. offered safety planning assistance.
Why is someone still in the community who may have committed sexual violence?
There are a few reasons this may occur:
  • The survivor requested that the person who caused harm not be removed
  • No disclosure or complaint has been made to Residence Services (please recognize that it can be hard for survivors to come forward and share their experiences)
  • Residence Services has not had a chance to hear from the survivor about what they need in order to fully participate in university life
What can Residence Services do vs. the Dean of Students
Residence Services can move a survivor to a different room, floor or building at their request. Residence Services, at the direction of the Dean of Students, will move or remove a person who has been committed sexual violence from residence, in accordance with the Sexual Violence Policy.
What training do Residence Services staff receive?

All professional Residence Life staff receive First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse Training and training from the Dean of Students on the Sexual Violence Policy. They also receive ongoing training on topics such as family and domestic violence, trauma-informed care and more.

All student staff receive training from the University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre before beginning their role on creating a culture of consent in their community, identifying sexual violence, receiving sexual violence disclosures, and connecting survivors to campus and community supports they may choose to access. Student staff also receive Supportive Conversation training and Mental Health Awareness training from a Community Social Worker on campus, which they apply to support students in residence in navigating the university support system.