Reporting Options

 

Deciding whether to report should be your choice. It’s no one else’s decision to make.

Deciding whether to report should be your choice.

It’s no one else’s decision to make.

Deciding whether to report a sexual assault is something you need to decide for yourself, based on what meets your needs -- not anyone else's. When it comes to reporting, the options will have different benefits and drawbacks. You may want to talk this over with someone who can help you decide what is best for you. The Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office can provide you with detailed and reliable information about the different procedures available, which may help you make this decision. Contact Dusty if you would like to discuss options.

You may also consider seeking guidance from a health care provider, a counsellor, someone from the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre (SACC), or someone from a crisis line (consult Off-Campus Services > Distress lines and crisis centres).


Reporting to the University of Windsor

The University of Windsor's Sexual Misconduct Policy outlines a tiered reporting structure that gives you options. There are three levels that range from informal to formal. For more information on institutional reporting options you can refer to Section 7 of the Policy (pp. 5-7).

 

Reporting to the Police

If the misconduct that you experienced falls within the scope of the Criminal Code of Canada, you have the option of reporting the incident to the local police, at which time the incident may proceed through the Criminal system. Dusty can provide you with more information regarding what this process entails.

If you would like to file an online report please click this link, please use the Windsor Police online reporting tool.

Regardless of whether you choose to report to the police, you still have the option of reporting your experience to the University of Windsor if you would like to have the institution complete an internal investigation. You can choose to do either, both, or neither, depending upon what is best for you.

 

You may choose to share your experience with any staff or faculty member for the purpose of receiving support and accommodation. In most cases, this will not trigger an internal investigation, unless either you or the accused are supervised, in an employment context, by the person you disclose to. Under these circumstances, they may be obliged to formally file a report.

If the person you disclose to feels there is a threat of imminent harm to you or someone else, or if you disclose the current abuse of a minor, they may be obliged to contact the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office.

You may want to file a formal record of an event of misconduct but not be ready to trigger a formal investigation. This is your choice! If you would like to formally document the incident, contact the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office. Dusty will receive your report and keep it confidential until you decide if you want to move forward with an investigation. You can file a report without any commitment to move forward.

Bystanders may also choose to report acts of sexual misconduct that they witness or instances where they perceive a specific pattern of sexual misconduct that they believe is creating a hostile or toxic environment where they work, study, or live.

You can use one or more complaint mechanism(s) at the institutional level to make a formal, written complaint of sexual misconduct. Complaints are addressed through various University bylaws and policies, depending on who is involved. The filing of a written complaint triggers a formal procedure at the institutional level, involving documentation, investigation, and formal and/or legal proceedings. If you wish to file a written complaint, you should contact the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office to discuss the options available and for assistance with filing.


Frequently Asked Questions

The Advisor in the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office will provide you with information on how to file a complaint and will help facilitate that process. She will take a written statement from you and will submit it to the appropriate office for investigation.

All formal complaints lodged in accordance with the policy will be investigated (consult section 7.3). Informal disclosures of sexual misconduct will not typically be investigated unless they are told to a workplace supervisor, or member of senior University administration, or if there is a risk to the University community.

In all cases, survivors are encouraged to contact the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office first for assistance and guidance. It can be difficult for survivors to understand what the options are. The Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office is the best place to access detailed and reliable information about procedures.

The investigation and process for adjudicating a student complaint of an act of sexual misconduct perpetrated by another student is specified in the Procedures for Addressing Student Non-Academic Misconduct. This policy outlines the elements of procedural fairness, the rights of the parties, interim measures in cases that present a risk to person or persons, the appeal process, and sanctioning guidelines. The alleged perpetrator will be given written notice of the complaint by the VP Student Experience. Another option would be to pursue a human rights complaint through the Office of Human Rights, Equity, and Accessibility.

If the student is also an employee, there are also additional avenues of complaint and resolution. See Question 4.

In all cases, survivors are encouraged to contact the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office first for assistance and guidance. It can be difficult for survivors to understand what the options are. The Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office is the best place to access detailed and reliable information about procedures.

There are a number of potential procedures that may be used to investigate and adjudicate complaints of sexual misconduct perpetrated by staff and faculty. They may be found in the respective Collective Agreements (accessible via the University of Windsor Human Resources site), the Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies, and Senate Bylaw 32 on Procedural Irregularities and Discrimination Regarding Academic Instruction, Academic Evaluation and Academic Grade Appeals. These policies outline the elements of procedural fairness, the rights of the parties, interim measures in cases that present a risk to person or persons, the appeal process, and sanctioning guidelines.

As a result of the different categories of individuals who could be involved with a complaint involving sexual misconduct, the following officials, offices, or departments will be involved in investigations into sexual misconduct:

In cases involving only students, matters will be investigated by the Associate Vice-President, Student Experience as outlined in the the Procedures for Addressing Student Non-Academic Misconduct.

In the event that faculty are involved, matters will proceed by way of Article 59 of the University of Windsor Faculty Agreement.

In the event that any employee other than faculty members is involved, investigations will proceed with the assistance of the University of Windsor Department of Human Resources.

While a complaint is being reviewed, interim measures may be applied including but not limited to: emergency suspension and/or exclusion from campus of the threatening student or suspension from work of the faculty/staff member. Where there is a finding of sexual misconduct, the perpetrator is subject to a range of disciplinary measures up to and including expulsion (if the perpetrator is a student) or dismissal (if the perpetrator is a faculty or staff member). Please refer to the Collective Agreements, the Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy, and Senate Bylaw 32 on Procedural Irregularities and Discrimination Regarding Academic Instruction, Academic Evaluation and Academic Grade Appeals.

The Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Officer will be the point of contact for survivors throughout the investigation process. She will provide you with updates and answer questions as the proceedings unfold, in accordance with rights to confidentiality outlined in policy and collective agreements.

It is recommended that complaints of sexual misconduct be filed with the assistance of the Advisor in the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office. However, if the survivor chooses to file a complaint through another office on campus, the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office will be notified that a complaint has been filed. Survivors are not required to contact the Advisor in the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office, but they are encouraged to do so as she is best positioned to provide information about the investigative and decision making processes at the University.

The investigator will provide a report to a designated University official and that individual will be responsible for making a decision, based on the balance of probabilities, whether sexual misconduct did or did not occur. Based on the outcome of that decision, the designate will determine the appropriate sanctions, as applicable.

The designate will provide a written summary of the outcome of the investigation and the designate’s decision supported with reasons for the decision to the survivor and alleged perpetrator. Because Provincial legislated privacy laws cover universities and employment, the extent of what may be communicated to those involved in any complaint will be balanced against the need to comply with the privacy rights of those involved.

The Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office will receive copies of all reports and decisions, some of which may be anonymized to protect individual privacy, for the purposes of maintaining records and providing advice on what can be done to reduce the incidence of sexual misconduct.

If you decide, as the complainant, that you do not want to have the incident investigated, you still have the option of disclosing or reporting the experience to the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office.

Please be aware that disclosing or reporting sexual misconduct to a member of the senior University administration may trigger an investigation.

Generally speaking, we will take every measure to protect your confidentiality and respect your wishes with how we proceed. However, when the safety of the University community is believed to be at risk, the University may be obliged to pursue an investigation without your consent.

Neither the complainant nor respondent are required to participate in any University-led investigation of sexual misconduct.

Retaliation is prohibited under the University of Windsor’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. Individuals who retaliate or threaten to retaliate against a person reporting or filing a complaint of sexual misconduct, will be subject to sanctions and/or discipline under the relevant policy/procedures (section 8.3).

For example, substantiated threats or acts of retaliation may result in emergency suspension and/or exclusion from campus of the threatening student or suspension from work of the faculty/staff member. Please refer to the Collective Agreements, the Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy, the Procedures for Addressing Student Non-Academic Misconduct, and Senate Bylaw 32 on Procedural Irregularities and Discrimination Regarding Academic Instruction, Academic Evaluation and Academic Grade Appeals. The Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Officer can provide assistance in identifying how to proceed in such cases.

Where there is retaliation or threat of retaliation, appropriate accommodation(s) can be arranged for the person reporting or filing a complaint of sexual misconduct and may include: “no contact” undertakings; moving the survivor, the person reporting the incident, or the alleged perpetrator to another class section; relocating work spaces, etc. (Consult Sexual Misconduct Policy sections 4.2, 5.1)

Confidentiality and the protection of personal information are basic principles underlying the policy. Any information that you provide is automatically considered and treated as confidential; however, there are certain circumstances under which confidentiality cannot be assured (consult Sexual Misconduct Policy sections 6, 7.2.3 and 7.2.4). Confidentiality cannot be assured if there is imminent risk of harm to self or others or if there is the involvement of a minor.

Before you make a decision about lodging a formal complaint, the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Officer will make you aware of potential ways in which information will be protected and the limits of confidentiality. Investigators will also inform those interviewed that information may not be kept confidential.