Another series of sexual assaults on young women at the University of Victoria has students pleading for help from the province.
Four female students between the ages of 19-20 came forward last month, alleging the same man sexually assaulted all of them at different times over the course of the school year.
The man has since been arrested and banned from campus, and Saanich Police are recommending five counts of sexual assault against him.
“It’s important, I think, to do a couple of things and one is to acknowledge the bravery of the people who came forward and how important it is to recognize that,” said Jim Dunsdon, associate vice-president of student affairs. “And secondly, UVic is absolutely committed as an institution to creating the safest possible environment for all our students.”
The university’s student society set up shop in the main cafeteria on campus Tuesday to spread awareness after the latest attacks.
The UVSS says the school doesn’t have a clear policy to deal with sexual assaults, and that a province-wide platform could outline help for survivors on campuses across B.C.
“If we don’t have policies in place for survivors and for approaches to sexualized violence on campus, we are not going to be able to create a safer community,” said UVSS spokesperson Kenya Rogers.
Last year, Ontario became the first province in Canada to create a standard sexual assault policy, which has since been implemented at all of its 24 universities.
Rogers said a similar policy at UVic and other post-secondary schools in B.C. is long overdue.
“I really strongly encourage the provincial government here in B.C. to look at that framework and bring us into the conversation,” she said.
The Ministry of Advanced Education told CTV News it is considering developing a uniform approach to dealing with sex assaults, especially after ongoing issues at the University of British Columbia this year.
UBC was heavily criticized for its slow response in dealing with several sexual assault allegations against a PhD student.
“Reports out of the University of Victoria recently are very troubling. We’re very concerned primarily for the safety of students,” said minister Andrew Wilkinson. “We’re now working on best practices for an approach by all of our institutions to sexual assault issues.”
The report is expected in the next several months and findings could be implemented by the start of the next school year.
The latest accusations at UVic brings the total number of reported sex assaults involving students this school year to nine.
Experts say even though more sexual assaults have been reported this year than in the last six years, it doesn’t necessarily mean more have taken place – it could simply be because people are more comfortable reporting them.