Professors and coaches are often the first to hear about incidents of sexual violence from students or those they mentor, research shows — though many feel unprepared to help in spite of their good intentions.
To combat this, a new training program developed through UWindsor’s Office of Student Affairs will give faculty and staff a set of tools to proceed confidently if they are approached by an assault survivor.
The three-hour workshop, funded through the University’s Strategic Priority Fund, is the result of a year-long consultation process that included pilot testing and feedback from faculty experts Lori Haskell and Dusty Johnstone, as well as frontline service providers from the community. Using the framework of “Recognize, Respond, Refer,” the session aims to have participants leave feeling prepared, but not pressured to be experts.
“I spoke to a broad range of faculty and staff in order to ensure we were meeting the needs of the campus, and people almost across the board reported feeling unsure of what to do if a survivor shared their story,” said project co-ordinator Caiti Casey. “This discomfort seemed to come mostly from folks wanting to be able to do the right thing, but also not wanting to cross boundaries or cause harm.”
She said the project follows the implementation of the University’s stand-alone Sexual Misconduct Policy, and the development of the Sexual Misconduct Response and Prevention Office.
“This project represents a continuation of the University of Windsor’s ongoing commitment to increasing prevention efforts and to improving responses to disclosures of sexual violence,” Casey said.