HALIFAX—Students are calling on the Government of Nova Scotia to pass the Sexual Violence Action Plan Act, introduced yesterday by the Progressive Conservative Party. This legislation, like the New Democratic Party’s Safer Universities and Colleges Act, which the government has so far blocked from going to a vote, was developed in consultation with students and is necessary to prevent, mitigate and address sexual violence on university and college campuses in Nova Scotia.
“It is indefensible that once again Stephen McNeil is poised to block legislation designed to combat sexual violence at post-secondary institutions across Nova Scotia,” said Charlotte Kiddell, Women’s Representative of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia. “Students cannot afford to wait this government out before our right to safely pursue a post-secondary education is guaranteed by law.”
The proposed legislation introduced yesterday would require Nova Scotia’s universities and colleges to address the high rates of sexual and gender-based violence on their campuses. The legislation would require institutions to develop sexual assault policies, which would be renewed every three years, with student input, require universities to publicly report on incidents of sexual violence, and provide survivors with 24-hour supports.
“Student need access to 24-hour support services, and this is why the Dalhousie Student Union launched the sexual assault and harassment phone line last fall,” said Kaitlynne Lowe, Vice President Internal at the Dalhousie Student Union. “By passing this legislation, our government must ensure that these supports continue to be offered at universities and colleges across Nova Scotia.”
The Canadian Federation of Students has challenged sexual violence on campus through its long-standing “No Means No” campaign that has been used by students’ unions, administrations, bars and businesses across the country. The Canadian Federation of Students- Nova Scotia will be holding a consent culture forum this fall to continue the work to end violence on campus.
The Canadian Federation of Students is the oldest and largest national student organization in Canada, representing over 650,000 college, undergraduate and graduate students across the country.
The Dalhousie Student Union is the province’s largest student union, representing over 18,500 undergraduate and graduate students at all campuses of Dalhousie University.
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