We all have a role to play in preventing workplace sexual violence

We all have the right to learn and work in an environment free of sexual violence.

HRHSE e-course

At the University of Alberta, we all have the right to learn and work in an environment free of sexual violence. Together, we can build a campus where not only are we aware of our responsibilities and how to act upon them, but one that is free of sexual violence. So, what can we do?

The university is committed to educating our community on sexual violence and preventing sexual violence on our campuses. As such, the university is proud to offer two new e-courses on workplace sexual violence available to all university leadership, staff and faculty. These e-courses help connect our campus sexual violence policies and workplace responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Why is this important?

Here are the facts: 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence.

The University of Alberta has a strong set of policies and processes with regards to the rights and roles of those involved in cases of sexual violence—as survivors, recipients of disclosures, and as supporters and allies. On our campuses, we take a survivor-driven approach to sexual violence, which means that we encourage safe disclosure while protecting the confidentiality of those who disclose.

Disclosing sexual violence is a difficult and traumatic conversation and workplace sexual violence remains one of the most underreported incidents in the workplace. If we all understand not only our responsibilities but what resources and support are available, we can create a workplace culture where everyone feels empowered and encouraged to raise issues and concerns. 

What you can do to build a culture free of sexual violence?

Building psychologically safe workplaces free of sexual violence is everyone’s responsibility. This means creating a culture where everyone feels free to disclose without fear or inaction, losing their job, or not being believed. Here’s what you can do:

  • Build your knowledge of sexual violence and prevention by enrolling in a new e-course
  • Discuss and understand the risks of sexual violence regularly with your manager and teams
  • Understand where to report sexual violence

As university staff, we can support our university community by raising awareness of the processes and policies in place to protect survivors of workplace sexual violence—from receiving disclosures to acting upon the desires of the survivor. Those of us in leadership roles have a responsibility to seek guidance and take action if we become aware of sexual violence.

We can all work to prevent acts of sexual violence in our workplaces, by educating ourselves and each other and staying aware of our responsibilities should these acts take place.

New e-courses available now

The new e-courses – Sexual Violence Prevention Training for Faculty & Staff, and Sexual Violence Prevention Training for Leaders – on workplace sexual violence are tailored to university staff and leadership respectively. Registration is now open, and I encourage all university employees to learn more and register by visiting the HSE Training Portal.

Additional Resources

Tanya Wick
Associate Vice-President, Human Resources, Health, Safety & Environment