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To constitute Sexual Misconduct, behavior may be a single serious incident or may be repeated or persistent behavior. Sexual Misconduct is any form of sexual contact without a person’s consent, including the threat of sexual contact without consent. Sexual Misconduct may include one or more of the following:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation
- Sexual harassment
- Criminal harassment (Stalking)
- Indecent exposure
- The attempt to commit an act of sexual misconduct
- The threat to commit an act of sexual misconduct
- The distribution of a sexually explicit photograph or video of a person to one or more persons other than the person in the photograph or video without the consent of the person in the photograph or video and with the intent to distress the person in the photograph or video
Sexual harassment refers to unwanted communications or actions that are sexual in nature, and are offensive, intimidating or humiliating. It can take many forms including verbal, written or visual. Sexual harassment may include any of or all of the following conditions:
- Conduct or comment of a sexual nature made by a person who knows or ought to reasonably know that such conduct or comment is unwanted or unwelcome
- Expressed or implied promise or a reward for complying with a request of a sexual nature
- Actual reprisal or an expressed or implied threat of reprisal or refusal to comply with a request of a sexual nature
- Actual denial of an opportunity or an expressed or implied threat of denial of opportunity for refusal to comply with such a request
- The conduct or comment is intended to, or has the effect of, creating an intimidating or hostile environment
- Differential treatment of a former or current intimate partner where a power relationship exists
- Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited, to the following
- Remarks or innuendos regarding an individual’s appearance, clothing or sexual life
- Unwelcome questions or sharing a personal information regarding a person’s marital status, sexuality, sexual activity, sexual orientation, or gender/transgender issues
- Persistent, unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, propositions, invitations or requests
- Sexually suggestive, obscene, or degrading comments or gestures
- Displaying or circulating sexually graphic or derogatory pictures or written materials
- Use of online activities such as email, text messaging or social networking to initiate or participate in any of the above behaviors
- Leering, ogling or sexually oriented gestures
- Inappropriate and unnecessary touching
Sexual assault is any form of sexual contact that occurs without any freely given consent. Sexual assault includes any form sexual contact where consent has not been given (i.e., non-consensual touching that is sexual in nature, forced penetration). Sexual assault includes date rape or acquaintance rape, which happens between acquaintances, friends or between people who are dating. There are three levels of sexual assault in the Criminal Code of Canada.
- Level 1: any forced sexual contact without bodily harm
- Level 2: forced sexual contact causing or threatening to cause bodily harm or using a weapon (imitation or real)
- Level 3: forced sexual contact that causes aggravated bodily harm or endangers the life of the victim or others
Criminal Harassment (Stalking):
Criminal harassment, which includes stalking, is prohibited by the Criminal Code of Canada. Criminal harassment prohibits deliberate conduct that is psychologically harmful to others. For stalking to be criminal harassment, here’s what’s required:
A person does one or more of the following things:
- repeatedly follow you, or anyone you know
- repeatedly communicate with you, or anyone you know, directly or indirectly
- repeatedly watch you, or anyone you know, or lurk around your home, workplace, or any other place you happen to be
- engage in any threatening conduct directed at you or a member of your family
- The person knows that their conduct is harassing you or they are reckless about whether their conduct is harassing you. Reckless means they know their conduct may harass you, but they do not care
- The person’s conduct causes you to fear for your safety or the safety of someone you know. Your fear must be reasonable. The person does not have to realize that their conduct is scaring you for it to be criminal harassment.
A person can be stalking even if they do not physically hurt anyone or damage any property. The law is designed to protect psychological, emotional, and physical safety. Stalking may start with conduct that seems more annoying than dangerous. Often, the conduct is legal and even socially acceptable if it is just an isolated incident. But when it is repeated, it may scare the victim. Conduct such as following someone, or sending gifts or letters, may become intimidating if done continually and against the person’s wishes.
Sexual exploitation is the sexual abuse of children and youth through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money. Sexual exploitation includes involving children and youth in creating pornography and sexually explicit websites.
The Oscar International College Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy will be triggered if all following criteria are met:
- Both parties (the Complainant and the Respondent) are students, employees, guests, or visitors
- The last incident of alleged misconduct occurred within the preceding six (6) months
- The behavior occurred in the context of a college related activity (e.g., on Oscar International property or at an Oscar International sponsored event)
- The behavior, if true, would constitute a contravention of the Policy by meeting a definition of Sexual Misconduct as stated in the policy
The College will deal with allegations of Sexual Misconduct in a procedurally fair, unbiased, and timely manner. Complainants and Respondents shall be advised of the procedures available to them and will be provided with a copy of this Policy.
The Parties shall be advised of the allegations and responses of both the Complainant and Respondent and shall be accorded reasonable opportunity to provide comments in support or defense of their own positions. Both the Complainant and Respondent have a reasonable right to respond to any information gathered during the investigation that will be utilized in determining a finding of Misconduct/Harassment or No-Misconduct/Harassment.
For a complaint to be considered under this Policy, it must be submitted within six (6) months of the date of the last alleged incident of Sexual Misconduct. The Regional Director may consider an extension to file a complaint past the six (6) month limit if reasonable grounds for such an extension exist in extenuating circumstances.
Disclosure and Reporting Options
Complainants have the following disclosure and reporting options, available both on and off campus, and may choose any of these options or any combination of the available options.
- No Report: The Complainant may wish to disclose sexual violence to seek emotional support, medical support, or advocacy, but may not want to report to police or other campus authorities. Subject to certain limited exceptions, this decision should be respected, and the Complainant should still be offered support services.
- Report to Police: The Complainant may wish to make a police statement, which would be followed by a criminal investigation. An appointed campus employee can accompany the Complainant if requested or the College can contact a community-based victim support worker to support and accompany the Complainant.
- Third Party Report to Police via Community Victim Service Agency: The Complainant may wish to make an anonymous Third-Party Report through a community-based victim support worker; reports are sent to police by an intermediary agency and provide detailed information about the incident and the Respondent, but do not include the name or contact information of the Complainant. A Third-Party Report is not in and of itself a police investigation; it is an option of last resort for the Complainant who would not otherwise provide information to the police but who may want to access support and let the police know of a sexual predator to protect others.
- Medical Assistance / Forensic Medical Exam: it is advisable for anyone who has experienced a sexual assault to seek medical attention to address possible physical injury, pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections. The Complainant will be referred to the nearest hospital and to relate to a sexual assault response worker or advocate who can provide support and can accompany her/him to the hospital. The Complainant will be informed of the need to collect any forensic samples while he/she decides whether to report the sexual assault to police. Forensic samples can be collected and stored for up to one year while the Complainant decides whether to speak with the police.
- Formal Complaint to College: The Complainant may wish to make a formal report to the College, precipitating the College Sexual Misconduct process if either the Complainant or Respondent is a student, staff, visitor, or guest to the College.The Complaint Procedure process is outlined below.
The College or Authorized Representative may take whatever interim measures he or she deems necessary to protect the College community, pending the completion of an investigation into a Sexual Misconduct complaint. Such measures may include, but are not limited to:
- No-contact between the Complainant, Respondent, Witnesses, or other parties
- Ordering the Complainant, Respondent, Witnesses, or other parties to cease and desist from engaging in a particular type of behavior
- Restricting access to a specific campus or specific areas of campus
- Suspending one or both Parties from the College pending investigation
- Reassignment of supervision/assessment duties in cases where the Respondent is an instructor or employee
Specific conditions to be included in the interim provisions will be dependent upon the circumstances of each case and the level of risk to the Complainant. All parties will be advised that the interim protection provisions, implemented by the College, are not to be confused with a legal protection order obtained through the Criminal Justice System.
Confidentiality and Anonymity
Allegations of Sexual Misconduct may require the disclosure of sensitive and personal information, which is protected from unauthorized disclosure by applicable privacy legislation. To encourage persons who have been subject to Sexual Misconduct to come forward, and to protect the rights and reputations of the Complainant and the Respondent throughout the investigation process, the College will attempt to ensure that confidentiality is maintained except where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating and resolving the complaint or where required by law.
Confidentiality must, however, be distinguished from anonymity. If a Complainant wishes to proceed with a Formal Investigation by the College, procedural fairness requires that the Respondent be made aware of the nature of the complaint, including the identity of the Complainant.
All parties and witnesses to a complaint will endeavour to maintain confidentiality throughout the Formal Investigation procedures. Investigators will stress the confidentiality of the investigation with all persons involved in the process, including the Complainant, Respondent and Witnesses. Individuals involved in the investigation process who are found to have breached confidentiality may be subject to discipline.
The limits to confidentiality will be outlined to the Complainant as soon as possible after disclosure. The Complainant will be advised that privacy rights are not absolute, and the College may be required to take immediate action, such as contacting the police, in relation to a disclosure of Sexual Misconduct or violence in the following circumstances:
- There are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the College community may be at significant risk or harm based on the information provided
- An individual is at imminent risk of severe or life-threatening self-harm
- An individual is at imminent risk of harming another person
- There is a legal requirement to report
- There is a requirement to comply with a court order for release of information
The College has the authority to make the decision to release information without consent in the above circumstances. If a decision is made to release information without consent, only information relevant to the health or safety concern in question will be released. The Complainant will be informed of any decision to release personal information.
Subject to the exceptions listed above, consent from the Respondent would be required before this information could be disclosed further by the person receiving the disclosure or report. Provincial privacy laws allow such information to be shared without consent in the following circumstances:
- If there are compelling circumstances that affect anyone’s health or safety
- To assist in an investigation or in deciding to start an investigation
- If the disclosure is for the purposes for which the information was originally collected, and the disclosure is necessary for these purposes
In some instances, the College may need to alert the College community to incidents or potential threats by sexual predators. These alerts will be communicated in multiple formats and media to ensure accessibility by all members of the College community. The alerts will not identify the Complainant but will include the following information:
- Date and time that the disclosure or report was made
- The College employee to whom the disclosure or report was made
- Date and time that the incident occurred
- Location where the incident occurred
- Information about the incident
- Non-identifying information about the perpetrator (i.e., gender, approximate age, ethnicity, height, weight, hair color, eye color, what the perpetrator was wearing, distinguishing marks)
- Information on how to access support services
Initial Consultation: Campus Director
A member of the College community who feels he or she has experienced or witnessed Sexual Misconduct and is considering a complaint process is encouraged to discuss the matter with the Campus Director. The Campus Director will engage in a confidential discussion regarding the Complainant’s options, and provide the Complainant with information and guidance regarding:
- Whether the behavior(s) in question may fall within the definition(s) of Sexual Misconduct under this Policy
- Procedures and options available to the Complainant under this Policy or under alternate Policy or process (as appropriate)
- Where a Complainant wishes to pursue a formal complaint, he/she will be referred to the appropriate individual as provided in the Policy
- Available support for the Complainant both on and off campus
The Campus Director does not determine whether behaviors are Sexual Misconduct; the Campus Director only confirms that behaviors as described by the Complainant may constitute Sexual Misconduct. Only a Formal Investigation can determine whether Sexual Misconduct has taken place.
The Campus Director works with the Complainant, providing options for the Complainant to deal with presented behaviors.
The Campus Director will maintain confidentiality of this discussion. However, if the Complainant claims that the Sexual Misconduct involves violence, the Campus Director must report the situation to the Regional Director who will investigate and may encourage the Complainant to report the situation to the police, following one of the reporting options set out above. A Complainant is not precluded from reporting to police if they have reported the Complaint to the College.
If the Complainant, after initial consultation, wishes to proceed to a formal complaint of Sexual Misconduct under the Policy, the Campus Director may provide advice on the necessary elements for a Request for Formal Investigation.
If a Complainant wishes to pursue further actions after an initial consultation with the Campus Director and the Misconduct and/or harassment behaviors are subject to process under this policy, he/she may first seek Informal Resolution. Informal Resolution is not mandatory and may not be appropriate for all manner of Sexual Misconduct. The Complainant may choose to proceed immediately to Formal Resolution.
If the behaviors are student-to-student and classroom based, the Complainant may request that the Instructor or Campus Director intervene to address the Misconduct or harassment behaviors and act as appropriate to the situation.
Where Misconduct or harassment behaviors are not student-to-student/ classroom based or faculty intervention is not appropriate or possible, the Complainant may seek Informal Resolution through the Regional Manager. When a Regional Manager receives a verbal or written complaint of Sexual Misconduct, he/she will follow-up on such allegations in a timely manner including informing the Respondent of the Complaint and providing a copy of this Policy. Such follow-up may involve attempting to facilitate a mutually agreed-to resolution between the Complainant and Respondent, applying appropriate College Policy or procedures, and/or taking appropriate preventative, disciplinary or remedial measures. Disciplinary actions may include but are not limited to:
- Warning or reprimand
- Referral to educational or psychological services.
- Restricted/no access to specific areas of the College or to a specific campus
- Suspension/expulsion from specific classes and/or from the College
Where the complaint is against a Campus Manager the request for Informal Resolution would be directed to a Regional Manager. Where the complaint is against a Regional Manager the request for Informal Resolution would be directed to the Ethics Committee. Where the complaint is against a member(s) of the Ethics Committee the request for Informal Resolution would be directed to the College President. Where the complaint is against the College President the request for Informal Resolution would be directed to Regulatory Board.
Where such complaints involve a college employee, the Campus Director will consult with the Regional Manager.
Where the Regional Manager determines that the Investigation of the allegations of Sexual Misconduct may result in profound consequences for the College, he/she will consult with the Ethics Committee to determine if the complaint resolution process should move directly to a Formal Investigation.
Where the Complainant wishes to pursue Formal Investigation and both Complainant and Respondent are students, the Complainant must submit a written and signed request for Formal Investigation, to the Regional Manager. Where the complaint involves a college employee as Complainant or Respondent, a written and signed request for Formal Investigation must be submitted to the Campus Director. Where the complaint is against a Campus Manager the request for Formal Investigation would be directed to a Regional Manager. Where the complaint is against a Regional Manager the request for Formal Investigation would be directed to Ethics Committee. Where the complaint is against an Ethics Committee the request for Formal Investigation would be directed to the College President. Where the complaint is against the College President the request for Formal Investigation would be directed to the Regulatory Board.
Where the Complaint is against the Campus Manager, Regional Manager, or Ethics Committee, the Request for Formal Investigation will be submitted to the College President who will name a designate to fulfill the role of initiating an investigation as described below.
- The Campus Manager, Regional Manager, or Ethics Committee will review the merits of any complaint that falls under the provisions of this Policy and determine that it falls under the provisions of this Policy and make arrangements for Formal Investigation, including whether an Internal or External Investigator should be appointed.
- Where the complaint moves to Formal Investigation under College Policy, an Investigator will be appointed. Every effort will be made to do this within five (5) working days of the complaint being received by the Regional Manager, Ethics Committee, or College President.
The appointed Investigator will ensure that both the Complainant and the Respondent are aware that a Formal Investigation has commenced, and that each has a copy of the Sexual Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
The Investigator will receive information from the Complainant, the Respondent, and any other individuals whom the Investigator believes may have information relevant to the complaint.
Information may be received through written documentation, and/or interviews. The Investigator will ensure that both the Complainant and the Respondent are aware of the positions of the other, and of any allegations made against them, and are given a reasonable opportunity to respond.
Where an Investigator conducts interviews, the Complainant and the Respondent may request that a support person be present. This person will act as an observer/support and will not participate in the proceedings. An interpreter for either or both the Complainant and Respondent (where either or both parties have English as a second language) may be provided by the Investigator.
After completion of the investigation, and within ten working days, the Investigator will complete a written report, including a copy of the written complaint and findings of fact, and submit the report to the College President. The report will state a positive or null Finding of Misconduct/Harassment based on the balance of probabilities and may include recommendations for resolution of the complaint and/or for remedial or disciplinary action.
The College reserves the right to initiate an independent investigation of Sexual Misconduct if sufficient cause has been demonstrated to warrant such action.
After reviewing the Report of the Investigator, the College President will make decision(s) on findings of Sexual Misconduct and on appropriate actions in the circumstances.
The President’s decision will be rendered, in writing, to the Complainant and Respondent as soon as possible but in any case, within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the report of the Investigation. The President will provide a summary of the findings of the Investigator with his/her decision to the Complainant and the Respondent.
Where the President finds that Sexual Misconduct has occurred, disciplinary decisions may include, but are not limited to:
- Warning or reprimand
- Referral to educational or psychological services
- Restricted/no access to specific areas of the College or to a specific campus
- Suspension/expulsion from specific classes and/or from the College
- Disciplinary action up to, and including, termination of employment
Where the President finds that Sexual Misconduct has occurred, the College will endeavor to protect the Complainant from any subsequent harassment, discrimination, or reprisal, within the College’s jurisdiction.
Where the President finds that the complaint was frivolous, vexatious, or vindictive in nature, he/she may take appropriate disciplinary action against the Complainant.
A copy of the Investigative Report and the President’s decisions will be placed in a confidential file maintained by the Office of the President for a period of five years.
In addition to disciplinary outcomes the President may require further action including workshops and/or mediation for the employees/students in the learning or workplace environment affected by the complaint and/or investigation, changes to college practices/procedures that may be deemed to be discriminatory, or other proactive steps to ameliorate existing conditions.
If the Complainant or Respondent feels that appropriate process was not followed or that this Policy was incorrectly applied, he/she may appeal the decisions of the College President to the Regulatory Board. The appeal must be submitted in writing within ten (10) days of the decision being received by the Complainant/Respondent and must provide specific grounds for the appeal, describing how the Policy was incorrectly applied and/or due process was not followed. The appeal will deal with appropriateness of process or disciplinary decisions and will not reconsider the original complaint.
If the College President’s decision results in disciplinary action against a College employee, that employee shall have access to appropriate College appeal processes.
Training and Education
The College will ensure that Sexual Misconduct education and training, including prevention, responding to disclosures, bystander intervention and making effective referrals to local community-based response services, is provided to Campus Managers, Regional Managers, the Ethics Committee, the College President, appointed Investigators and all potential first responders.
The College will initiate and maintain a program to ensure that members of the College community are made aware of this Policy, are educated on the scope of Sexual Misconduct and that information and materials regarding sexual health, safety and community-based resources are displayed and made readily available to members of the campus community.
This institution is certified by the Private Training Institutions Branch (PTIB). Certified institutions must comply with regulatory requirements, including the requirement to have a Sexual Misconduct policy. For more information about PTIB, go to www.privatetraininginstitutions.gov.bc.ca.