Yasir Naqvi, Ontario minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, has announced $278,000 in funding for Carleton researchers Dawn Moore and Dale Spencer for research on sexual assault.
Ontario is investing in six projects as part of its action plan to end sexual violence and harassment. The results will be used to inform future policies and programs to better support survivors.
“It’s a pleasure to be joined by so many folks from the Carleton community who have shown leadership and have worked so hard on this important issue,’’ said Naqvi.
“This research is about identifying best practices based on evidence… It is about learning and implementing best practices to encourage more survivors to report sexual violence and continuing to improve how police respond to and investigate cases of sexual violence.”
Moore will receive $236,220 to look at sexual violence on Ontario university campuses, including how incidents are reported and investigated, relationships between post-secondary institutions and police and how different sectors should co-ordinate supporting victims and investigations. She will also look at whether post-secondary institutions take a victim-centred approach and how, as well as challenging rape culture on campus.
“Our research will contribute to a gap in knowledge, especially with regards to how victims of sexual violence interact with both campus officials and municipal police,’’ said Moore, an associate professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies who is collaborating with several colleagues.
“We are happy that the ministry is dedicating resources to this incredibly important issue and look forward to the opportunity to provide solid empirical evidence that will support the development of best practices and most importantly a victim-centred approach to sexual violence.”
Spencer is getting $42,000 to work with five municipal police services in cities across Ontario to look at how police respond to various forms of sexual violence, how they are trained, and broader police networks and innovative investigative practices.
“My research probes how police respond to and interact with children, youth and adult victims of sexual violence and harassment in the community and online,” said Spencer, who also teaches in Law and Legal Studies.
“It also explores what training investigators in municipal police service organizations across Ontario receive, and the broader networks and innovative investigative practices that have been created to respond to sexual violence and harassment.”
Ontario has committed $41 million over three years to support implementation of the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan.
It is estimated that one in three Canadian women experiences sexual assault. Research indicates that fewer than four per cent of sexual assaults are reported to police.
Carleton is one of the first universities to create a Sexual Assault Centre and a dedicated sexual assault counsellor position staffed by a professional with a counselling designation.