Divesting from punitive approaches and working productively with people who have caused harm are necessary components of an institution’s survivor-centered approach to addressing campus gender-based violence. Possibility Seeds’ seminal report, Courage to Act: Developing a National Framework to Address and Prevent Gender-Based Violence at Post-Secondary Institutions in Canada (2019) revealed few, if any, resources and supports for working with people who have caused harm, or respondents, within a campus setting.
Campuses need to create opportunities for accountability, healing and transformative change. It decreases the risk of further harm against survivors, increases positive participation in the complaints process, and enhances overall campus safety. This expansive framework also recognizes that the terms “survivor” and “perpetrator” do not represent a binary. Many of those who have caused harm have also been subjected to harm. It is therefore important that institutions move away from traditional, carceral approaches to addressing campus gender-based violence, and work to support everyone affected.
We hope the documents below will be valuable resources to those seeking to address and prevent campus gender-based violence. They represent the start of an important conversation, and we encourage readers to seek out training, education, and professional development opportunities in relevant areas to enhance their knowledge and sustained engagement with this work.
Campus GBV is not solely a complainant, victim and survivor issue. It is a social and community problem that requires a coordinated community response – one that centers and prioritizes the rights and safety of complainants, victims and survivors, while recognizing the rights and safety of respondents, those who have been alleged to have committed GBV, and people who have been found to have caused GBV harm. This tool offers a guiding framework for working with respondents and people who have caused harm.
This tool provides guiding principles to help a worker who supports people who have caused harm to navigate the tension and resistance that may arise when doing this work, and center you during these difficult and sometimes tense discussions. It also provides questions for reflection and a self-audit tool to help you raise your awareness when performing this work.
This tool provides foundational principles to help guide workers supporting respondents through a complaints process. It contains questions for self-reflection and a values clarification exercise to assist in helping you to find your own solid grounding when performing this type of work.
This tool focuses on assisting students, staff, faculty and administration; with step-by-step instructions towards developing a bill of rights for all those that are a party to a PSI’s GBV policy. It recognizes that when individuals partake in a process or procedure, they should be guaranteed fundamental rights. Such guarantees not only help to protect all individuals involved in the process, but also the community it serves and the system that administers such processes and procedures.
We know that institutional GBV complaint processes are inherently harmful to both complainants and respondents, many of whom may be coming to the process with their own experiences of trauma. This comprehensive guide provides strategies to ensure that complaint processes are designed to ensure procedural fairness and support trauma-informed harm-reduction measures for both parties. It shows how these practices can not only strengthen procedural fairness, but also contribute to healing, learning, and resilience.
This webinar features Jesmen Mendoza in conversation with Farrah Khan about 6 new tools he created for Courage to Act’s Response & Support working group, to help campus practitioners address sexual and gender-based violence with care and compassion. These cover critical topics like creating information-sharing agreements, guidelines on confidentiality and reporting, creating a bill of rights, and promising practices when working with respondents and people who have caused harm.
Suggested Reference: Courage to Act (2023, April). No One is Disposable: Resources for Working with People who have Ca