A Shifting Position: Responding Restoratively to Sexualized Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions in Waterloo Region




Martin, Leah

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Recent, high-profile cases of sexualized violence on Canadian post-secondary campuses have drawn attention to the frequency of these incidents, the prevalence of underreporting, and the inadequacy of institutionalized responses to campus sexualized violence. As of January 1st, 2017 all publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Ontario must have a stand-alone policy in place to respond to campus sexualized violence. However, these policies have been criticized for failing to meaningfully respond to the needs of victim/survivors and doing little to change the circumstances that contribute to sexualized violence. Restorative responses to sexualized violence offer an alternate frame of response that focuses on meeting needs of victim/survivors, holding perpetrators accountable, and engaging the broader community in responding to the rippling effects of sexualized harm. This research explores the suitability of restorative responses to campus sexualized violence, the openness of Waterloo Region’s three post-secondary institutions to utilizing such responses, and the barriers and opportunities associated with responding restoratively to campus sexualized violence. Ultimately, the report articulates recommendations to the project client for how they might engage with the region’s post-secondary institutions to offer restorative responses to campus sexualized violence.



restorative practice, restorative justice, sexualized violence, post-secondary institutions, higher education, sexual violence policy, campus sexualized violence