LINKS Institute Sexual Violence Policy


This policy is applicable to all individuals associated with the Institute, including students, instructors, other staff and administration. The standards also apply to practicum settings. The Institute believes that all individuals of its community should enjoy the opportunity to study and work in an environment free of sexual violence and harassment.

The Institute acknowledges that there are population groups which experience an increased risk of sexual violence in Canada, including but not limited to:

•           Young women and girls

•           Indigenous women

•           Women living with cognitive or physical disabilities

•           Individuals within the LGBT2SQ+ community

•           Newcomer women and women from ethnocultural and racialized communities

The Institute acknowledges that many students who pursue vocational education may be within such groups and is committed to providing a positive and safe learning environment. 

This policy provides definitions for sexual violence and harassment and outlines an inquiry process for complaints under the policy. It further outlines the procedures the institution will undertake to educate its community on avenues to prevent sexual violence and harassment.

Note about consultation

The Institute invites student feedback regarding this policy, which can be submitted in confidence via the Institute website. This feedback will be used in the policy review process after one year of operation, in addition to a formal invitation for students to participate at that time.


The Institute will actively raise awareness of the issues of sexual violence within its community as a risk for people both offline and online. As much of the Institute’s activities are offered online, it is recognized that there are increased possibilities for individuals to be subject to acts of sexual harassment such as the sharing of pictures of a sexual nature without consent, unsolicited/unrequited text messages, social media messages, or emails with content of a sexual nature. 

During virtual orientation sessions for each new cohort, the Institute will present a session on sexual violence in post secondary education, with a focus on the Institute. Additionally, the Institute will send “e-blasts”, or email campaigns focused on issues of sexual violence, to all students enrolled in the Institute on an appropriate time line. A copy of this policy will be included with all new student contracts.

All Institute staff members will participate in an orientation upon their hiring (including contract staff), with an additional focus on student safety. Professional development opportunities raised at increasing awareness may also be presented to the staff.

This policy will be posted on the Institute website.

A copy of this policy will be included with all practicum placement contracts.


Consent: Consent is central to sexual assault. The Criminal Code of Canada defines consent as it relates to sexual assault as the voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. An individual must actively and willingly give consent to sexual activity. Simply stated, sexual activity without consent is sexual assault.

Consenting to one kind, or instance, of sexual activity does not mean that consent is given to any other sexual activity or instance. No one consents to be sexually assaulted.

Where consent does not exist (lack of agreement), a person can express a lack of agreement verbally or through conduct (such as physically resisting advances). The Criminal Code makes it clear that a person can, after initially giving consent to engage in sex, revoke consent at any time by expressing a lack of agreement to continue engaging in sexual activity.

In other words, consent:

Is never assumed or implied

Is not silence or the absence of “no”

Cannot be given if the victim is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or is unconscious

Can never be obtained through threats or coercion

Can be revoked at any time

Cannot be obtained if the perpetrator abuses a position of trust, power or authority

It is not for the institution to weigh or determine whether or not consent has been given. The purpose of the policy is to inform all members of the Institute community of their responsibility to eliminate harassment and inform victims of their rights.

Cyber Harassment/Cyber Stalking: Often used interchangeably, cyber harassment and cyberstalking are defined as repeated, unsolicited, threatening behavior by a person or group using a cell phone or Internet technology with the intent to bully, harass, and intimidate a victim. The harassment can take place in any electronic environment where communication with others is possible, such as on social networking sites, message boards, chat rooms, through text messages, or through email.

Date Rape: The term “Date Rape” is interchangeable with “acquaintance sexual assault”. It is sexual contact that is forced, manipulated, or coerced by a partner, friend, or acquaintance.

Disclosure: For the purposes of this document, a disclosure is made to any individual other than the police or other judicial official.

LGBT2SQ+: The LGBT2SQ+ community includes people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Two-Spirit, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and/or gender fluid.

Rape: a term used to describe vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse without consent. Although the term is no longer used in a legal sense in Canada, it is still commonly used and widely understood.

Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. Sexual assault is characterized by a broad range of behaviours that involve the use of force threats, or control towards a person, which makes that person feel uncomfortable, distressed, frightened, threatened, carried out in circumstances in which the person has not freely agreed, consented to, or is incapable of consenting to sexual assault is a crime. 

Sexual Violence: means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender identity or gender expression – whether the act is physical or psychological in nature – that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, and sexual exploitation.

Sexual violence without limiting the generality of the foregoing includes:

Sexual assault which is any type of an unwanted sex act done by one person to another, without that person’s consent, that violates the sexual integrity of an individual ranging from unwanted conversations, touching to penetration;

Any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality, including sexual abuse; and

Criminal harassment (including stalking and cyberbullying)

Sexual Harassment: without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes:

Any course of vexatious comment or conduct of a sexual nature that is known or ought reasonably to have been known to be unwelcome, including;

Offensive jokes or comments of a sexual nature;

Displaying of pornographic or sexist pictures or materials, including online;

Suggestive or offensive remarks;

Unwelcome language related to gender;

Remarks, jokes, innuendoes, propositions, or taunting about a person’s body, attire, sex or sexual orientation;

Leering or inappropriate staring;

Bragging about sexual prowess;

Physical contact such as touching, patting, or pinching, with an underlying sexual connotation; and

Sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the person where the person making the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome.

Stalking: is a crime called criminal harassment. Stalking consists of repeated behaviour that is carried out over a period of time, and which causes a person to reasonably fear for their safety.

Victim Blaming: occurs when the victim of a crime or an accident is held responsible – in whole or in part – for the crimes that have been committed against them.

Sexual Misconduct: this Policy prohibits sexual misconduct, which includes sexual violence and sexual harassment.

The goal of the institution is to provide information to all stakeholders within its community on matters of sexual violence. Sexual assault allegations, and issues of whether or not consent has been given, should be pursued through local law enforcement in the stakeholder’s community. 

Further information on consent can be found at:


The Institute is committed to the implementation of actions meant to end the occurrence of sexual violence within its community. Examples of these actions include the steps taken in awareness. Additionally, within one year of operation the Institute will establish a sexual violence prevention committee, and review this policy after the reality of 12 months of operation.

Complaint/Disclosure Procedures, and Response Protocols 

Any member of the Institute community may file a report of an incident or a complaint to a member of the leadership team. The Institute believes that the student making the disclosure should feel in control of the process and know that they are neither compelled or restricted from managing the situation in a way consistent with their desires.  The following steps outline the manner in which this should occur:

The student should make their complaint in writing. In response,

(a) The student will be informed of their options which include:

1. For the victim/survivor to make a police statement by going to their local police station.

2. That the victim/survivor can seek medical attention in situations where the sexual violence has been physical.

3. Have a formal complaint (within the institution) instigated. In the event that an investigation reveals misconduct, a student misconduct protocol will be triggered if the alleged perpetrator is a student or a relevant HR investigation if the accused is an employee.

4. Using the disclosure as a way of seeking emotional support from the Institute without a formal report.

If a member of the Institute community believes she/he has been sexually harassed by a member of the Institute community, she/he may confront the harasser personally or in writing pointing out the unwelcome behavior and requesting that it stop.

Formal complaint process

Members of the leadership team, as appropriate, will conduct a review of the behaviour of parties involved in the allegation. The purpose of the interview would be to gather and compare objective information. A decision about the response of the Institute to the complaint will be made at a leadership level and may include a student misconduct protocol if the allegations are found to be true and involve another student, or a referral as a HR matter in the case the allegation is found to be true and involves a staff person. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the complainant will continue to be supported by the Institute through the provision of academic accommodations and being provided with connections to appropriate resources.

Student misconduct protocol 

If it is determined that a student member of the Institute community has been involved in sexual violence or sexual harassment of a member of the Institute community, immediate disciplinary or corrective action will be taken up to and including termination of employment or expulsion of a student.

Staff misconduct protocol

If it is determined by the Institute that a staff person has been involved in sexual violence or sexual harassment, the staff person will be subject to appropriate human resource ramifications as per relevant standards and legislation, up to and including termination.

Policy accessibility

This document is available in alternative formats. Students or other individuals who require this policy in alternative formats for reasons of accessibility should contact the Institute

Public Reporting

The Institute will make the student body and public aware of its compliance with this policy by stating on its website and in printed matter the following:

List of those responsible for conducting an inquiry into any complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment, including contact information;

Listing the dates of training sessions for staff and faculty of the Institute including reporting on the number of participants that attended the training sessions; and

Listing the dates of student group meeting sessions where this policy is discussed and include the number of participants at each session.

Policy Review

In addition to the initial review to be conducted 12 months into operation of the Institute, a comprehensive review of this policy will be conducted once every 4 years and will include substantive consultation with students.