FAMILY REFUTES JOHN ABBOTT COLLEGE STATEMENT IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE
Montreal, August 12, 2016 — Emily, the student who was sexually assaulted at John Abbott College last June, and her family refute the College's statement as published in today's Gazette (http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/john-abbott-student-and-famil...).
According to the College's statement, “The College has also met with the student, her parents, and the CRARR representative and the student's concerns were heard. During this meeting, College policies were explained, including the right to file a detailed complaint about the incident she is alleging to have occurred and the investigation which would be launched in the event of such a complaint. Counselling services were again offered.” (...) “Finally, the College has taken measures to ensure the safety of both students for the fall semester.”
However, at the meeting held this past Tuesday on campus, at which the College's Director of Student Services, Director of Human Resources and lawyer were present, there was only a superficial mention about the complaint process and the availability of counselling.
The family was not even provided with a complaint form and other guidance to enable the complaint process to start immediately.
Despite Emily and her family's prodding, College officials provided no clear and adequate explanation of the measures that would be taken by the College to ensure Emily's safety, both physical and psychological, when she returns to school on August 22. The family was only told that the College would get back to them next week about these measures.
In addition, College representatives at the meeting did not explain why Emily and her family were not contacted and informed for almost two months after the incident about the resources and services available to them, except for an initial invitation in June from the counsellor to meet with Emily (when the latter replied with a date, she did not hear back from the counsellor).
The family considers the College's silence towards its concerns to be a demonstration of insensitive indifference at best, and a dereliction of duties at worst.
The lack of empathy, the refusal to acknowledge Emily and her parents' feelings as well as the absence of detailed protective and preventive measures, all of which were evident at the meeting last Tuesday, reaffirm the family and CRARR's belief that the College's policy on sexual harassment and violence has not been followed through.
This institutional failure to act with diligence and sensitivity perpetuates the suffering by Emily and her family, and possibly, the violation of Emily's right to equality, dignity and security of the person as guaranteed by the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.
CRARR calls on the College's Board of Governors, to act immediately and to adopt concrete measures to:
❐ Inform Emily and her family as soon as possible, of concrete measures to protect her safety when she returns to school on August 22;
❐ Provide, in a speedy and pro-active manner, Emily with counselling and information on her rights and the recourses she can take, internally and externally, against the aggressor;
❐ Set up an information and prevention campaign to inform, educate and reassure the student population on measures to combat campus sexual violence, and
❐ Correct the College's sexual violence policy, which contains gaps and flaws, and delegate its enforcement to a person with adequate training and experience in sexual violence.
It will call for the intervention of Quebec Higher Education Minister Hélène David if these four conditions are not met.