The federal government is providing B.C. with $500,000 to help address sexualized violence at its universities and colleges.
Announced Thursday (Sept. 8), the half-a-million dollar investment will go to improving B.C.’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Training Series.
The series has been available to post-secondary institutions since June 2021 and provides training on consent and sexual violence, supporting survivors, accountability and repairing relationships and active bystander intervention. The new funding will focus on the safety of Indigenous students, graduate students and international students. It will also better address rising rates of online sexualized violence.
According to Statistics Canada, 71 per cent of post-secondary students witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours in 2019. In the same year, 11 per cent of women said they had been sexually assaulted in a university or college setting. Less than 10 per cent of both men and women said they spoke about what happened with someone associated with the school, citing mistrust of how it would be handled.
Improvements to B.C.’s training series will be complete by summer 2024. The federal government said the investment is part of its commitment to ending gender-based violence in Canada.