Sexual Violence is unacceptable and represents unchristian behaviour that will not be tolerated in the Providence community. We are committed to challenging and preventing Sexual Violence and creating a safe space to respond to anyone in our Providence community who has experienced Sexual Violence. Providence is expected to be a safe and positive space where members of the Providence community are able to live, work, learn, and express themselves in an environment free from Sexual Violence.
Providence University College and Theological Seminary (hereafter Providence) endeavours at all times to provide an environment that exemplifies the gospel of grace by upholding the dignity of, showing respect to, and serving all people regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or culture, as agreed to by every member of the Providence community in our Covenant of Community Life. Providence does not condone behavior that undermines the dignity, self-esteem, or productivity of any student, staff member, or faculty member. All members of the Providence community have a responsibility to ensure that the human rights of members of this community are not violated and that the Covenant of Community Life is upheld. All members of the Providence community should be always be free from Sexual Violence and the threat of Sexual Violence.
Human beings are created male and female in the image of God. They are called to glorify God, to live in communion with God and one another, and to be stewards of God’s creation. All people fail to live up to this calling. They are sinners by nature and by choice. This sin has touched all human interactions, including those related to human sexuality. As a result, human sexuality and gender differences are sometimes exploited in demeaning and hurtful ways by those who are willing to exercise their own power at the expense of another.
Providence is a community that desires every person to be free from Sexual Violence. However, recognizing the sin that has touched all human interaction and that sexual violence is far too prevalent on all post-secondary campuses, we recognize the need for the following Policy and Procedures. Providence recognizes our responsibilities (as citizens of this province, and as educators, employers and providers of living accommodations) under the Covenant of Community Life, the Criminal Code of Canada, as well as the Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Act of the Province of Manitoba.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we have the greater responsibility to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. We desire to seek redemption even where relationships among us have been thwarted and made painful by ignorance, misunderstanding, or willful wrongdoing. However, we recognize that it is not always possible or prudent to seek reconciliation in relationships involving Sexual Violence. This is the express motive of the Policy and Procedures that follow.
We recognize that Sexual Violence can occur between individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or relationship status. We also recognize that individuals who have experienced Sexual Violence may experience emotional, academic, or other difficulties. We are committed to:
I. Supporting and respecting all Survivors of Sexual Violence:
Ensuring that individuals who disclose that they have been the Survivor of Sexual Violence are listened to without judgement, that they are supported, and that their right to confidentiality, dignity, and respect is protected throughout any process of disclosure, reporting, investigation, and institutional response which they choose to pursue;
Treating individuals who disclose Sexual Violence with compassion, and respecting the Survivor’s right to choose the services and/or actions they feel are most appropriate and their right to decide whether to report internally and/or externally or not to report at all;
Assisting individuals who have experienced Sexual Violence by providing detailed information and support, such as provision of and/or referral to counselling and medical care, information about legal options, and appropriate academic and other accommodation, whether or not they have formally reported the incident;
Ensuring that internal investigation procedures are available in the case of Sexual Violence, even when the individual chooses not to make a report to the police;
Engaging in appropriate procedures for investigation and adjudication of a complaint which are in accordance with Providence policies and standards, and that ensures fairness and due process;
II. Striving to create a campus that is free from Sexual Violence:
Addressing harmful attitudes and behaviours (e.g. myths of Sexual Violence) and communicating that Sexual Violence is never the responsibility of the Survivor;
Ensuring that all people involved in supporting, advocating, investigating, and adjudicating in situations of Sexual Violence are trained in trauma-informed care for Survivors as well as the Providence Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures, and ensuring that those people are available to members of the Providence community who may have experienced Sexual Violence or may have had an incident of Sexual Violence disclosed to them;
Contributing to the creation of a campus atmosphere in which Sexual Violence is not tolerated by actively engaging in the prevention of Sexual Violence in all possible ways, including the education of the Providence community;
III. Ensuring that all members of the Providence community can respond to Sexual Violence appropriately:
Providing information to the Providence community about the Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures;
Providing appropriate education and training to the Providence community for responding to disclosures of Sexual Violence; and,
Regularly monitoring and updating our Policy and Procedures to ensure that they remain effective and in line with other existing policies and best practices.
This Policy applies to all members of the Providence community, including:
Individuals registered as students at any of Providence’s schools (Providence University College and Theological Seminary), whether full-time or part-time (including special students), at the non-credit, certificate, undergraduate, or graduate level;
All employees and faculty, including all academic and support staff, as well as those whose salary is paid through sources other than Providence funds, such as grants, research grants, or external contracts;
Persons with an academic appointment including, but not limited to, adjunct, visiting and emeritus professors;
Members of the Board of Governors, of the Senate and any of their respective committees, as well as members of any advisory committee formed to help Providence achieve its goals;
Independent and dependent contractors, consultants, suppliers of services, volunteers, and any individuals who are acting in a capacity defined by their relationship to Providence; and
Visitors to Providence whether they are in the school’s learning, living, or work environment, on or off campus, or interacting through social or electronic media.
II. This Policy covers any conduct relating to Providence University College or Theological Seminary, which is defined as:
At any Providence campus, on its grounds, or in its buildings;
Using Providence equipment or systems, such as Providence email, telephone, or fax systems); or
On Providence business or programs (including work and study assignments off campus, athletic, choir, or other Providence group events, work-related or study-related social functions, travel, conferences, and training). This Policy may also apply to occurrences of Sexual Violence which involve Providence community members, but which do not occur on campus or on official Providence business. This includes interactions on social media involving members of the Providence community.
It is contrary to this Policy for anyone to retaliate, engage in reprisals, or threaten to retaliate against a Complainant or other individual for:
Having pursued rights under this Policy, the Criminal Code of Canada or the Manitoba Human Rights Code;
Having participated or co-operated in an investigation under this Policy, the Criminal Code of Canada or the Manitoba Human Rights Code; or
Having been associated with someone who has pursued rights under this Policy, the Criminal Code of Canada or the Manitoba Human Rights Code.
Anyone engaged in such conduct may be subject to disciplinary action.
This Policy and the formal complaint process do not prevent and are not intended to discourage an individual from also reporting Sexual Violence to the police and pursuing a complaint of Sexual Violence through the criminal justice system or from pursuing a complaint of Sexual Harassment with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, or any other legal avenue. Survivors may report Sexual Violence through one or both of these avenues as they are applicable and as they feel comfortable, and we will endeavor o support any community member in the reporting process and through any subsequent process, in addition to co-operating with any external investigations. Providence retains the right to suspend its own internal investigation processes while external investigations are ongoing.
A Survivor who has formally disclosed and/or reported an incident of Sexual Violence.
The informed, knowing, voluntary, and active agreement to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity. It is the act of willingly agreeing to engage in specific sexual behaviour (including kissing and intimate physical contact), and requires that a person is able to freely be able to choose not to engage in it. This means there must be an understandable exchange of affirmative words which indicates a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is imperative that everyone understands the following:
Silence or non-communication can never be interpreted as consent
A person is incapable of giving consent if they are asleep, unconscious, otherwise unable to communicate, or if they are in a state of diminished judgement (incapacitated)
A person who has been threatened or coerced (i.e. they are not agreeing voluntarily) into engaging in the sexual activity is not consenting to it
A person who is drugged is unable to consent
A person in a diminished state of judgement cannot consent. Verbal agreement from a person in a state of diminished judgement is NOT consent
A person is unable to give consent when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
A person may be unable to give consent if they have a mental disability preventing them from fully understanding sexual acts
The fact that consent was given in the past to a sexual, dating, or marriage relationship does not mean that consent is deemed to exist for all future sexual activity
A person can withdraw consent at any time during the course of a sexual encounter
A person is incapable of giving consent to a person in a position of trust, power, or authority over them, such as a faculty member initiating a relationship with a student who they teach, an administrator in a relationship with anyone who reports to that position, or a coach in relationship with a student team member
It is not possible for minors to consent under most circumstances, and they are never able to consent within a relationship of dependence, authority, or exploitation. See section 150 of the Criminal Code of Canada for details.
Consent cannot be given on behalf of another person.
It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to ensure clear and affirmative responses are communicated at all stages of sexual engagement. It is also the initiator’s responsibility to know if the person they are engaging with sexually is of the age of consent for sexual activity. Consent cannot be obtained by use of force, which includes coercion.
Cyber Harassment takes many online forms, but typically involves the use of social media, email, texting, instant messaging, derogatory websites, graphic images or posts to bully or otherwise harass an individual or group causing emotional distress and/or the fear of bodily harm. It is a form of Sexual Harassment and is therefore prohibited under the Manitoba Human Rights Code.
When someone discloses to a member of the Providence staff or faculty, or a Providence Student Leader that they have experienced an incident of Sexual Violence.
In the context of Sexual Violence, the term “force” includes the use of any of the following: physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access to that person; implied or direct threats of harm to self or others including threats of sexual assault; threats of future harassment; abuse of power or authority; intimidation; and/or coercion to overcome resistance. The use of force to cause someone to engage in sexual activity is, by definition, non-consensual contact. Coercion: In the context of Sexual Violence, coercion is the unreasonable and unwelcome pressure for sexual activity, including the use of emotional manipulation, or the promise of rewards or special treatment to persuade someone to do something they do not wish to do.
A form of Sexual Harassment prohibited under section 173 of Canada’s Criminal Code. It involves a person who, in any place, for a sexual purpose, exposes his or her genital organs to a person who is under the age of 16 years. Section 174 of Canada’s Criminal Code also prohibits nudity in public spaces or on private property when exposed to public view.
Means all individuals who have a relationship with or to Providence University College and Providence Theological Seminary. See Section C above for further detail.
A formal report of complaint under this policy of an incident of Sexual Violence made for the purpose of initiating some form of investigation or adjudication.
In the context of this policy, Reprisal is an act of retaliation taken against a Survivor, typically with the purpose of encouraging them not to disclose or report an act of Sexual Violence or to encourage them to withdraw a Report already made. Reprisal may take many forms including: implied or direct threats of harm to self or others; threats of future harassment; abuse of power or authority; and/or intimidation. Reprisal may come from the Respondent or from any other party.
A person against whom an accusation of Sexual Violence is made, once a formal proceeding has been commenced.
Sexual assault is defined as an assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. It is a criminal offense under section 271 of Canada’s Criminal Code. It is defined as sexual activity or touching by any object or body part of another person without consent or by force. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force, threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, or that is carried out in circumstances in which the person has not fully agreed, consented to, or is capable of consenting to.
Sexual Exploitation is a form of Sexual Violence prohibited under section 153 of Canada’s Criminal Code. Sexual Exploitation of children and young people under 18 involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where the young person receives from a person of trust or authority ‘something’ (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. A judge may determine that a relationship is exploitative based on the age difference between the parties, the nature of their relationship, or the degree of control the older person has over the young person.
Sexual Harassment is a form of discrimination that includes comments or conduct involving unwelcome sexual advances or other comments or conduct of a sexual nature when such conduct might reasonably be known to be unwelcome or to cause insecurity, discomfort, offense, or humiliation to another person or group. This includes Harassment on the basis of sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation that has the effect of creating a poisoned environment (demeaning, humiliating, intimidating, hostile). Such conduct may be considered Sexual Harassment if one’s status or treatment as a student, staff, or faculty member is dependent upon submission to such conduct. Sexual Harassment can happen to anyone regardless of their gender or sexual orientation and can be committed by a person of any gender or sexual orientation.
Examples of conduct that constitutes Sexual Harassment include:
Displays of pornographic or other sexual materials in the form of degrading pictures, graffiti, cartoons, or sayings, including through social media and/or the internet
Sexually suggestive or obscene gestures
Derogatory or degrading remarks or jokes about or directed towards another person or group for any reason, including sexual orientation, gender, or gender expression
Repeated or persistent unwelcome flirtations, advances, or propositions, including “leering” or unwanted staring
Unwanted physical contact
Revealing or threatening to reveal a person’s sexual orientation without their consent
Making comments, circulating information, or spreading rumours about another person, including about their sexual orientation, gender, or gender expression, including through social media and/or the internet
Sexual advances with actual or implied work or education-related consequences.
Sexual Harassment is prohibited under the Manitoba Human Rights Code.
“Means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression – whether the act is physical or psychological in nature – that is committed, threatened, or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, Sexual Harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism and sexual exploitation” (as defined in The Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention Act section 2.2(1), Bill 15, 1st Session, 41st Legislature of the Province of Manitoba). In the case of this policy, Sexual Violence includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, cyber harassment, indecent exposure, sexual exploitation, stalking, and voyeurism. All terms are defined below.
A form of criminal Harassment prohibited under section 264 of Canada’s Criminal Code. It involves repeated behaviours that cause the target to fear for their safety or mental health, or that of anyone known to them. These behaviours include, but are not limited to: non-consensual communications (face to face, phone, email, social media); threatening or obscene gestures; surveillance; sending unsolicited gifts; “creeping” via social media/cyber-stalking; and uttering threats.
Some who have experienced Sexual Violence may choose to identify as a Survivor. Individuals might be more familiar with the term “victim.” We use the term Survivor throughout this policy because some who have experienced sexual assault believe they have overcome the violent experience and do not wish to identify with the victimization. It is the prerogative of the person who has experienced the Sexual Violence to determine how they wish to identify.
Prohibited by section 162 of Canada’s Criminal Code, voyeurism is the non-consensual observation — including by mechanical or electronic means — or visual recording of a person who is in circumstances that give rise to a reasonable expectation of privacy, if the person is in a place in which they can reasonably be expected to be partially or fully nude, or to be engaged in explicit sexual activity, or if the observation or recording is done for a sexual purpose. This includes any non-consensual recordings of any sexually explicit activity.
There are many resources both within the Providence community and in the Province of Manitoba that are available for your emotional and/or physical support if you have experienced Sexual Violence. We encourage any person who has experienced Sexual Violence to use these supports as they deem appropriate.
Drop-in line: 204-784-4067
Sexual assault crisis line: 1-888-292-7565
Crisis line: 1-888-322-3019
Local Police – Non-emergency calls: (204) 433-7908
South Eastman Health Crisis Response Team (24hr): 1-888-617-7715
Providence will ensure that several staff members are trained in trauma-informed Sexual Violence Response. These will be known as Compassionate Responders (“CR”).
The CRs will serve members of Providence in the implementation of this Policy in the following ways:
Responding to disclosures of Sexual Violence with compassion, listening without judgement, and respecting the Survivor’s confidentiality, dignity, and respect;
Informing the Survivor of the supports, services, and accommodations available to them, and helping them access those supports, services, and accommodations;
Informing the Survivor of their options under the Providence Policy and Procedures and allowing them the choose their preferred option;
Assisting Survivors in filing a Formal Report if they choose to;
Assisting Survivors in filing a report with local police or a complaint of Sexual Harassment with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission if they choose to; and
Keeping informed of any changes to the Providence Policy and Procedures, and to best practices in trauma-informed care of Survivors of Sexual Violence.
The following staff positions will require training as a Compassionate Responder:
Associate Vice-President for Student Life
Director of Student Development
International Student Services Coordinator
Director of Athletics
All Head Coaches of Varsity Teams
At least one faculty member in both the UC and the Seminary
Other members of the staff and faculty of Providence may also be trained as Compassionate Responders.
Sexual Violence Advisory Committee
Providence will appoint a Sexual Violence Advisory Committee (hereafter SVAC) that will consist of the following members: Director of Student Development (chair), Associate Vice-President for Student Life (vice-chair), a Human Resources representative, a faculty representative from both the University College and the Seminary, and three student representatives, with at least one representing the University College and one representing the Seminary. The SVAC serves members of Providence in the implementation of this Policy in the following ways:
Evaluating the effectiveness of education in the Providence community about Sexual Violence and the Providence Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures;
Informally reviewing the Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures annually, with any changes to be presented at the June board meeting; and
Formally reviewing the Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures every four years, including external assessment; and
Each year, the SVAC will report out to the public on the Providence website information about the education delivered to the community aimed at eliminating Sexual Violence on campus. An aggregate report of formally disclosed cases of Sexual Violence will be shared with the Providence Board of Directors.
The chair of the SVAC (typically the Director of Student Development) will be responsible for:
Overseeing annual training for CRs and other members of the Providence community as necessary;
Overseeing education and awareness of members of the Providence community about Sexual Violence and the Providence Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures;
Providing consultation and acting as a resource for CRs and for any Providence community member who may require it, as well as acting on Evaluation Committees with regard to individual cases; and
Providing overall coordination and monitoring of incidents, including secure filing and storage of documents related to individual cases.
Education, Prevention and Awareness
Providence is committed to contributing to the creation of a campus atmosphere in which Sexual Violence is not tolerated. We recognize that this will not happen without education, active prevention, and intentionality. Providence will build the capacity of the community to address Sexual Violence and play a role in ending Sexual Violence in our community.
Providing education to all members of the Providence community about Sexual Violence and consent and how all types of Sexual Violence violate the Covenant of Community Life;
Providing appropriate education to Providence staff, faculty, and student leaders about how to respond to the disclosure of Sexual Violence; and,
Engaging in the prevention of Sexual Violence through education, as well as through ensuring necessary changes are made to make the campus safer for all members of the Providence community.
B. Educational Programs:
Providence expects all community members to take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop any incident of Sexual Violence they may be witnessing. Taking action may include direct non-violent intervention, calling law enforcement, and/or seeking assistance from a person in authority. Community members who choose to exercise this positive moral obligation in good faith and a reasonable manner will be supported by Providence and protected from retaliation.
The following process will be followed by any Survivor wishing to disclose an incident of Sexual Violence. All parts of the process are optional for the Survivor, and they should only do what they feel comfortable doing:
Formal Disclosure (previous Informal Disclosure not necessary)
Alternative Dispute Resolution (not available for all incidents) OR
A. Informal Disclosure
All full-time faculty members, staff members, and student leaders in the Providence community have received basic training on trauma-informed response to disclosures of Sexual Violence. They have also been informed of the Providence Sexual Violence Policy and Procedures. Survivors can therefore disclose an incident to any full-time Providence staff member or student leader with whom they feel comfortable, knowing that they will be treated compassionately and will be informed of all their options.
A Survivor can choose to disclose an incident of Sexual Violence to any faculty member, staff member, or student leader, and they will be informed of their options for support and reporting. The Survivor will be allowed to decide how they wish to proceed, if at all. The Survivor may also view these options on their own, at any time, on the Providence website, or on posters found around the school.
Informal disclosure does not constitute a formal report under this procedure. Informal disclosures will not be reported to a CR or to the SVAC, except on the request of the Survivor.
If the Survivor is seeking accommodations that are within the occupational control of the person hearing the disclosure, those accommodations can be made without going through the process of Formal Disclosure. For example, if a student tells their professor that they would like an extension on an assignment because of an incident of Sexual Violence, the professor can make that accommodation without the Survivor formally disclosing the incident to a CR.
NOTE: Survivors can informally disclose to a CR without beginning the process of Formal Disclosure.
All people who hear a disclosure of Sexual Violence will strictly protect the confidentiality of all persons involved in the incident. However, if they believe there is a serious risk to the safety of Providence members or members of the outside community, that confidentiality cannot be ensured. See section I: Confidentiality below.
B. Formal Disclosure
If a Survivor wishes to access supports, accommodations, and services that are not freely available or within the control of a person they feel comfortable disclosing to (e.g. If the Survivor wishes to change dorm rooms, receive an extension on their semester, have another person sanctioned, etc.), then they will be required to formally disclose the incident to a CR. They may do so in the presence of any person whom they choose to bring with them as a support.
Survivors may formally disclose an incident of Sexual Violence to a CR at any time, whether they have gone through the process of Informal Disclosure or not.
The CR will maintain documentation of all accommodations made and the dates they were completed, as well as documentation of any meetings held. Any documentation created during the process will be kept in a secured location (password protected and/or locked) by the CR. Aggregate numbers of incidents will be reported to the SVAC at the end of the academic year.
If the Survivor chooses to formally disclose an incident to a CR, the CR will provide the Survivor with access to supports, services, and appropriate accommodations.
The CR will present the Survivor with the option of making a Formal Report and then either pursuing Alternative Dispute Resolution or Investigation, or of not moving forward with the resolution process.
All Survivors will go through and be encouraged to sign a checklist with the CR to ensure that they have been informed of all their options, whether they wish to pursue them at that time or not.
The CR shall maintain confidentiality of personal information collected in relation to an Informal Disclosure in accordance with Section 9 of these Procedures. Providence may commence an investigation on the basis of a Formal Disclosure when it reasonably believes that there is serious risk to the safety of Providence community members.
C. Formal Report
In order to pursue any Resolution involving the Respondent, the Survivor must file a Formal Report with a CR. Formal Reports are submitted to the chair of the SVAC. The Survivor will be known as the Complainant once the Report has been filed. Resolution processes are only able to take place once the Formal Report has been filed.
Some individuals filing disclosures or reports may want their identity to remain anonymous. However, should the person choose to formally disclose or report under the Providence Policy, their identity will be required to be disclosed, but will only be revealed to necessary parties. Issues of confidentiality must be balanced against Providence’s need to investigate and take appropriate action.
1. Alternative Dispute Resolution
In any Alternative Dispute Resolution process, the following core commitments will be upheld and made known to all involved in the process:
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) will not be an option for Sexual Assault cases or for any Sexual Violence incident in which ADR will cause further trauma to the Survivor in the opinion of the Survivor, the CR, and/or the chair of the SVAC. Examples of incidents that may be resolved with ADR include: repeated contact which makes the Survivor feel uncomfortable but not unsafe, degrading remarks not directed toward the Survivor specifically but which are offensive, sexually suggestive drawings, etc.;
Although the CR may present ADR as an option, the Survivor will never, at any time, feel pressured to pursue ADR over any other option;
ADR will only be pursued at the request of the Complainant;
The Complainant will be permitted to terminate ADR at any point in the process; and
The Complainant will maintain control over their participation in the process at all times (e.g., when the process will begin, whether they will meet the Respondent at any point in the process, etc.).
ADR Process When the Survivor chooses, without coercion or pressure, to initiate the ADR process, the following will take place:
The CR to whom the Survivor disclosed the incident(s) will bring a report to the chair of the SVAC detailing the incident and the process that the Complainant would prefer to pursue;
The CR and the chair of the SVAC will decide together how best to proceed with the ADR process based on the desires of the Complainant;
Resolutions may include, but are not limited to: mediation, a settlement agreement, separating the parties, referring parties to counselling, conducting targeted educational and training programs, etc.;
When the resolution process is completed, the CR will complete a report to be submitted to the chair of the SVAC and maintained in a secured, confidential location; and
The Complainant will maintain the right to terminate the ADR process at any time with or without a reason. They may also choose to submit a Formal Report even after the ADR process has been completed.
In any formal reporting process, the following core commitments will be upheld and made known to all involved:
Each person involved in the investigation process will receive trauma-informed training on responding to reports of Sexual Violence before the process begins;
Each person involved in the investigation is required to identify any conflicts of interest that may affect their decision-making abilities. Any person involved may be asked to withdraw at any time for reasons of substantiated conflict of interest;
The number of times that a Complainant is asked to repeat an account of Sexual Violence during an investigation will be minimized in order to reduce further trauma; and
The Complainant and Respondent will not be required to meet face-to-face during any part of the investigation process.
When a Formal Report is created in cooperation with a CR, the following process will take place:
A Reporting Team will be hired external to the Providence Community. The Team will consist of one female and one male who have been trained in trauma-informed response to Sexual Violence.
The Reporting Team will hear all relevant testimony from all involved parties and witnesses and will make a record of all relevant information.
The Reporting Team will create a report to be submitted to the chair of the SVAC. Decisions about the truth of the complaint will be made based on a balance of probabilities. This means that the Complainant will not have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the incident took place, but rather that it is more likely than not to have happened. We recognize that it is often not possible to balance probabilities in Sexual Violence cases, but will do so to the best of our ability.
The chair and the vice-chair of the SVAC will determine, in consultation with the Reporting Team, how to proceed with any disciplinary actions. Any documentation created will be maintained in a secured, confidential location that is locked and/or password protected.
Because a claim is not proof of prohibited conduct, a claim shall not be taken into account during a performance review, promotion, re-appointment, or other evaluation unless a final determination has been made that this policy has been violated. If possible, it is recommended that such evaluations be deferred until the claim is resolved.
E. Burden of Proof
For a disclosure made pursuant to this policy, the person being disclosed to will have a presumption that the Survivor is telling the truth.
For a Formal Report made pursuant to this policy, investigations will begin with the presumption that the Complainant is telling the truth. However, no disciplinary action will be taken against the Respondent unless there is sufficient evidence to support the allegations made by the Complainant (see section 4D2Biii above for details).
In the rare occurrence that disclosures or complaints that are found following investigation to be made purposely to annoy, embarrass, or harm the Respondent or others may result in disciplinary action against the Complainant.
As a way of reducing barriers to reporting incidents of Sexual Violence, students who come forward with a complaint made in good faith will be exempt from discipline by Providence for violating areas of the Community Life Policies and Procedures related to consumption of drugs, alcohol, open dorm hours, previous consensual intimacies, and other similar violations, insofar as they relate to the incidents in question.
G. Third Party Disclosure
If a member of the Providence community witnesses or hears about an incident of Sexual Violence, they are free to disclose the incident to a CR. The third-party will be supported through whatever trauma they may have experienced as a result of what they witnessed or heard. However, in order to protect the rights of the Survivor, only a Survivor can make a Formal Disclosure or file a Formal Report.
If a third party disclosure leads the CR to believe that there is a serious risk to the safety of Providence members or members of the outside community, then Providence reserves the right to begin an investigation on the basis of that disclosure. Please see Procedures Section 9 for details.
H. Other Proceedings
Where criminal or civil proceedings are initiated regarding an incident of Sexual Violence, Providence may simultaneously conduct its own investigation in accordance with this Policy, or may choose to suspend its investigation while external proceedings are ongoing. Where there is an ongoing investigation, Providence will cooperate with external authorities.
A Complainant at any step in this Procedure may choose to request an external investigation either alongside or instead of any investigation that may occur under this Procedure.
Confidentiality is particularly important to those who have disclosed Sexual Violence. The confidentiality of all persons involved in a report or disclosure of Sexual Violence will be strictly observed as much as is possible. This is in order to protect the rights of those involved in the allegations, to prevent an unjustified invasion of their personal privacy, to preserve the integrity of the investigation, and to safeguard individuals against unsubstantiated allegations. Providence will make every reasonable effort to maintain confidentiality when it becomes aware of an incident of Sexual Violence and will limit disclosure of information about individuals to those within Providence who need to know for the purposes of addressing or investigating the situation, or taking corrective action.
However, confidentiality cannot be assured in the following circumstances:
An individual is at imminent risk of self-harm,
An individual is at imminent risk of harming another,
There are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the Providence community or elsewhere may be at risk of harm,
When the situation involves the abuse of a minor, in which case, reports must be made to external agencies, and/or
When Providence is ordered by a court to release confidential or privileged information.
In such circumstances, information would only be shared with necessary services to prevent harm, and the name of the Survivor would not be released to the public. Any information or documentation created regarding a formal complaint, including the written formal complaint, written responses, witness statements, investigation notes and reports, and documents related to the formal complaint and its investigation will be securely maintained by the Student Development Department or by Human Resources as appropriate. Any documentation created in the process of an informal or formal disclosure will be securely maintained by the individual to whom the situation was disclosed.