Responding to Critical Incidents of Sexual Violence on Post-Secondary Campuses

Courage to Act is creating a Responding to Critical Incidents (RCI) workbook to guide institutional responses to critical incidents of sexual violence (SV) at post-secondary institutions (PSIs). We are looking for input from frontline GBV support workers on campus, and hosting a Design Jam on Thursday, November 3rd to inform this work. Facilitated by our Response & Support Working Group co-leads Farrah Khan and Amal Elmi, this is a collaborative brainstorming space to envision promising practices together, and think about what a coordinated response team dealing with critical incidents could look like at your institution.

About the RCI

The forthcoming RCI workbook introduces a model for a coordinated response team for critical incidents of SV on campus. Critical incidents are those that involve multiple students, unknown substances, and/or public disclosures in social or other media. These have the potential to harm the wider community and create significant institutional risks, including increased distrust for students accessing support and services, and the normalization of SV as an experience on campus.

PSIs responding to an incident should be able to mobilize support for those affected, offer support to those who witnessed the incident, and/or de-escalate the person who caused harm. They should also be prepared to deal with further complications that can arise when the incident involves police, and the PSI is compelled to work with, take direction from, and coordinate services with those conducting criminal investigations.

The RCI workbook will introduce a conceptual model of a coordinated response team that would help PSIs prepare for a critical incident in advance and, in doing so, significantly reduce harm and decrease risk.

The coordinated response team model demonstrates an assembly of specialized trauma-informed PSI personnel empowered to make decisions, take action and offer support in a collaborative way, centred on addressing harm, reducing risk, and working toward positive outcomes for people affected by sexual violence and the campus community as a whole.

Attend the Design Jam!

Critical Response Design Jam. A collaborative space for Frontline GBV workers to envision promising practices on campus."

As experts in the field, we hope you would be open to sharing your expertise in this creative space on what an RCI could look like at your institution, and what you feel is key to include in the workbook. The Design Jam will be held over Zoom on November 3rd 2022 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm (ET). If you have any questions, please contact Amal Elmi at


Suggested Reference : Courage to Act. (2022, October). Responding to Critical Incidents of Sexual Violence on Post-Secondary Campuses. Courage to Act.

Related news