Strengthening Channels of Communication on Your Campus to Address and Prevent GBV

Strong communication is so important in coordinating prevention and response efforts around gender-based violence (GBV). Possibility Seeds put this curated list of resources together to help you strengthen the channels of communication regarding GBV within your post-secondary institution amongst your staff, faculty, students, community and other stakeholders.


1. Responding to Critical Incidents of Sexual Violence at Post-Secondary Insitutions

This workbook is designed to assist in creating a well-planned response to a critical incident and details the steps for the Coordinated Response Team before, during and after a critical incident. Both in creating the plan and executing it, the function of the Coordinated Response Team is to Convene, Collaborate, Coordinate, Communicate and Care.

  • Page 9 outlines the role of the response team, which is Convene, Collaborate, Coordinate, Communicate and Care.

  • Page 26 discusses how the response team can create a communication strategy before an incident.

  • Page 40 highlights the importance of clear consistent and trauma-informed communication during an incident.

  • Page 48 has reflection questions to review the communications strategy after an incident takes place.

2. Use the Right Words: Media Reporting on Sexual Violence in Canada

This guide is for communications professionals, journalists and media professionals to discuss and report on gender-based violence from a trauma-informed framework that prevents additional harm.

  • Page 35 reviews the different terms to identify a person subjected to sexual violence.

  • Pages 46 – 49 has self-care tips for survivors when speaking to the media.

  • Page 50 outlines why and when to use a content note to inform the audience of any material that could be sensitive or distressing.

  • Page 51 delves into the use of the term ‘allegedly’ and highlights substitute language that could be used.

3. Use the Right Words Checklist for Reporting on Sexual Violence 

This checklist accompanies the Use the Right Words: Media Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Canada. This checklist explores in-depth approaches to frameworks, language and imagery that will prevent those working in communications and media from perpetuating additional harm when discussing instances of sexual violence.

4. Creating Information-Sharing Agreements Among Stakeholders Responding to Gender-Based Violence

This tool provides an aerial framework and instructions on how to collaborate with other stakeholders on sharing relevant information, both on and off-campus to properly respond to experiences of GBV.

  • Page 9 has reflection questions to help you decide who would be the best facilitator for this conversation.

  • Page 10 has reflection questions on who else should be sitting at the table.

  • Page 13 reviews how to host the conversation with some suggested guidelines participants should agree on beforehand.

  • Pages 14 – 16 has discussion questions to help guide the conversation.

5. Responding to Sexual Harassment in Experiential Learning: A Toolkit for Staff and Faculty at Post-Secondary Institutions

Students participating in internships, practicums, placements, co-op, and other experiential learning contexts are uniquely vulnerable to sexual harassment. The Sexual Harassment in Experieriential Learning research-to-action project created this toolkit so staff and faculty can better understand sexual harassment and violence, what it might look like for students, and how to respond when a student discloses that they have been subjected to sexual harassment and/or violence in their experiential learning opportunity. This toolkit explains the ARC model, which stands for Acknowledge, Respond, and Connect. Possibility Seeds developed the ARC model, specifically to support people in professional roles in responding to disclosures at work.

  • Page 11 has an email template on how to contact Human Resources or Human Rights Services at your institution to get clarification on your role and responsibilities and limitations around confidentiality.

  • Page 12 outlines a three-step model developed to better equip post-secondary employees to respond to disclosures of sexual harassment and violence in experiential learning settings.

  • Page 26 explains the difference between a “disclosure” and a “report” of sexual harassment and/or violence that could be shared with students.

  • Page 27 includes a template to help map out disclosure and reporting options available to students.

6. Supporting International Students affected by GBV: A Customizable Tool for International Students, Post-Secondary Administrators, and Frontline Workers

This customizable FAQ resource guide supports international students studying in Canadian post-secondary institutions who have experienced, witnessed, or perpetrated gender-based and sexual violence. It provides information on accessing services and support, and answers questions about immigration and legal issues that international students may face when disclosing, accessing services, or participating in processes about sexual violence.

7. Preventative Information Sharing Between Post-secondary Institutions: Privacy, Human Rights & Safety in the Context of Campus Gender-based Violence

This whitepaper focuses on information sharing between post-secondary institutions, specifically ways that PSIs can avoid “passing the problem” in cases where there has been a finding of sexual misconduct and the respondent has moved/is moving on to a different institution. Convening a panel of experts, we’ll explore the limits to information sharing as set out in privacy laws, collective agreements, and other policies and practices to identify strategies or promising practices for PSIs.

  • Page 17 discusses a consent-based approach to hiring and admissions processes.

  • Page 20 highlights promising practices from U.S. universities on policies that include sexual harassment reference checks during the hiring process.

  • Page 22 discusses the importance of being clear on how the information collected will be used.

  • Page 23 includes a recommendation that provincial and territorial information and privacy laws be revisited.

We hope these resources will be valuable to those seeking to address and prevent campus GBV. They represent the start of an important conversation, and we encourage readers to also seek out training, education, and professional development opportunities in relevant areas to enhance their knowledge and sustained engagement with this work.


Suggested Reference: Courage to Act. (2023, September). Strengthening Channels of Communication on Your Campus to Address and Prevent GBV. Courage to Act.

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