Vancouver Community College (VCC) students and staff have new options for reporting sexual violence and getting help.
Over the past few months, VCC staff have been working in collaboration with REES (Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors) to build an online reporting option for sexual violence on campus.
The REES platform was developed through consultation with stakeholders, including administration and sexual violence experts from post-secondary institutions; the platform was created to be compliant with the needs of campuses across Canada.
REES allows members of the college community to create a record of the incident and choose from multiple reporting options: Anonymous Report, Connect to My Campus, or Repeat Perpetrator Identification (RPI). REES provides information about campus and community-based resources such as sexual assault centres, healthcare, and support services.
“VCC is committed to supporting those impacted by sexual violence. Bringing the REES anonymous reporting platform to our college will reduce barriers to disclosing, reporting sexual violence on campus and will provide important information about the services and supports available on campus and the broader community," says Ajay Patel, VCC President & CEO.
VCC’s Safety & Security department and a working group from areas across the college have been working together with REES since last fall to make online reporting available to the campus community.
“I am proud that VCC continuously works to create safe and accessible learning and working spaces. REES is another tool to support our college community. It’s a safe and easy online reporting system for students and staff to be able to report sexual misconduct,” says Caralee Maloney, VCC Manager, Safety, Security & Risk Management. “And they can do so anonymously, or they can choose to reach out to the college. It will be 100 per cent their choice.”
While the campus community at VCC had the ability to disclose or report sexual violence or misconduct to the college prior to the launch of REES, the platform is intended to help address barriers.
“There is great hesitancy to come forward because they’re not sure what the college is going to do and they’re not sure how it’s going to be addressed or who’s going to be told,” adds Caralee. “So, this helps them walk through that process before they have to tell anybody and puts the decision in their hands.”
REES can be accessed online anywhere, anytime. Go to reescommunity.com/campus and select VCC from the drop-down list.
According to a 2019 Stats Canada Survey on Individual Safety in the Postsecondary Student Population, 71 per cent of postsecondary students witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours over the past year, yet less than one in ten spoke about what happened with someone associated with the school.
VCC joins Okanagan College, King’s University, Bishop’s University, Mount Allison University, St. Francis Xavier University, University of Winnipeg and other institutions across Canada in adopting the REES platform.
REES is a simple, secure online platform for reporting sexual violence, tailored to the unique setting of post-secondary institutions.
Trauma-informed and centred on the needs of survivors, REES gathers critical data for institutions while bridging anonymous incident reporting with access to information about reporting options, resources, and supports.
Learn more at: www.reescommunity.com.