author Marlee Hirson, Wednesday November 18, 2015

The recent article by Academica discusses an important topic centered around university and college campuses across North America – sexual violence. The article, “We Must Take a Proactive Approach to Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education” discusses the attention that reports about sexual violence are receiving in the media. As well as the point that academic institutions need to put proposed policies into action in order to see a result. Proactivity is part of why we feel mobile safety apps can make a difference in campus safety, and why we feel Academica’s article is a great piece to share.

Many post-secondary institutions across the country have introduced sexual assault policies to improve the way sexual assault cases are handled by universities and colleges. To that end, the article makes this excellent point:

“In order for policies to effectively address and discourage sexual violence, members of the higher ed community need to know what such policies exist, they need to understand what constitutes sexual violence, and they need to know whom to seek out on campus if they experience such behaviour.” Meranda McLaughlin, Academica.ca

The article addresses the fact that universities need their students to be aware of what resources are available to them if they experience an assault, as well as what proactive measures should be taken.

Mobile safety apps can fill in some of these gaps, by providing students with contacts if they witness any type of assault, click-to-call contacts during a dangerous situation, and campus resources and contacts if an individual is seeking support. The article emphasizes the need for universities and colleges to be be proactive in how they not only react to, but prevent sexual assaults on campus. Empowering students with information on what they can do to prevent and respond to sexual assaults is helping to pave the way for safer campuses.

The article mentions a valuable point about how an institution’s safety measures shouldn’t be focused solely on women, as it can be interpreted that sexual assaults fall under the responsibility of women. Strategies towards preventing sexual violence should include male students, and messaging should have a larger focus on bystanders.

The resources and click-to-call contacts in a mobile safety app can help universities and colleges take a proactive approach towards preventing sexual assaults on campus. Every student should be comfortable and safe on campus.

Is your campus introducing a sexual assault policy? How does your department make these policies more actionable? Have you heard of mobile safety apps playing a role in preventing sexual assault? Comment below and let us know!

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