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Silence and Silos Project: Breaking Down Barriers and Enhancing University and Police Collaboration

silence and silos paintingOur research involved a qualitative methodology which gathered data from participants through individual interviews and focus groups. Interviews and focus groups were held with campus police, municipal police, university administration, university staff, and community service providers that support victim-survivors of gendered violence. Research participants were provided two case studies to reflect on how they would respond in their role in the cases. These case studies were written to demonstrate the nuances and intersectionalities specific to individual cases of gendered and sexual violence. Contradictions in messaging between university administration websites and policing websites appeared to manifest themselves on several of the university websites that were studied. The former sharing messages around consent and choice, the latter often sharing a message of “stranger danger” and victim responsibility for personal safety.

Our findings, acknowledged widely by our research participants, reveal that formal reporting of gendered violence is rare, and that disclosure is more common. The most common barrier to reporting and disclosure on campus was a lack of clarity and transparency as to what resources, options and formal procedures were available to students. Many participants noted the need for survivors to understand the difference between disclosure and reporting and what these separate choices mean. Additionally, throughout our research process there appeared to be a dissonance with regards to how best to address the issue of gendered violence and the inherent tensions between responding to stranger versus acquaintance assaults.

Contact Us:

Ginette Lafrenière, MCCHR Director

T: 519.884.0710 x5237
Office Location: FSW 310