U of T Mississauga hosted an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 14 to officially open the Sexual Assault Prevention and Support Centre on campus. The centre, which launched in June, is one of three located across the university’s three campuses. Sexual violence prevention and response coordinators offer confidential support to students, staff and faculty experiencing sexual violence.
UTM coordinator Paula Lam and Vice-President & Principal Ulrich Kull cut the ribbon to open the office. Centre coordinators Cheryl White, Colleen Boehme and Meg Saxby joined the celebrations, along with Terry McQuaid, executive director of personal safety, high risk, sexual violence and support, and centre director Angela Treglia.
“We work with individuals who have been affected, directly or indirectly, by sexual violence,” Treglia said. “We coordinate resources and help people navigate the different options available to them on campus and in the community.”
“People can come hear about options, including coping strategies, self-care and services. Individuals can choose which services they might wish to access so they can make a fully-informed decision, with no pressure to report,” Lam said.
Education about sexual violence prevention is another key part of the centre’s mandate. “We collaborate with departments and units at the university around education, targeting prevention and response to sexual violence,” Treglia said.
UTM alumna Samra Zafar welcomed the centre. She spoke about how support at UTM helped her and her two young daughters to escape an abusive marriage. “School changed my life,” she said, recounting the pivotal meeting with a support counsellor on campus. “It gave me the power, the awareness and the courage to leave an abusive situation. It was because of the love, support and friendship I received on this campus that I was able to succeed.”
The initiative, created through consultations with stakeholders across the university, is designed to provide a welcoming, safe environment.
The Tri-Campus Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre is a key part of the University’s Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment, which covers all members of the U of T community. Centre staff are available to receive disclosures, take and provide options for formal reports to the University, and offer services and supports related to incidents of sexual violence. The Centre also offers training and education, and is the first point of contact for those who need accommodation.
The U of T Mississauga Centre, located in 3094G in Davis Building, operates from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm Monday through Friday. The St. George Campus centre is located at 702 Spadina Avenue. The UTSC centre is located in Room 141 of the Environmental Science & Chemistry Building. All three locations can be reached by telephone at 416-978-2266. After-hours messages left on the Centre’s voicemail will be returned the following day. At UTM, after-hours urgent calls may be directed to UTM Campus Police at 905-569-4333.
Contact the centre online at http://safety.utoronto.ca/.