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Sexual Violence, Sexual Assault and/or Harassment
Policy & Action Plan
The Loft Academy Ottawa is committed to maintaining a positive environment with values and respect for all individuals, civility, diversity, dignity, equality, and freedom. Our academy is committed to maintain a healthy and safe learning and working environment in which any form of sexual violence will not be tolerated. The purpose of this policy is to clearly state the academy’s commitment to addressing sexual violence/assault or harassment. We urge all members of the academy community to review the Policy and Protocol to learn about options and resources available to those who require support or who wish to support others. Please help to ensure that the academy remains a safe and positive space where members of the academy community fell able to learn, work and express themselves in a safe environment and that we continue to foster an environment that upholds human equality.
Paul Valletta and Bruno Racine
What is sexual violence? Sexual violence happens when a women, man or transgender, a gender identity or to someone expressing their gender expression, is forced, pressured or tricked into a sexual activity. If it is not consensual, it is sexual assault also known as sexual violence and/or harassment.
This policy applies to all members of the academy community including all students, employees of the academy, Loft Urban Salon and Loft Gala, contractors, clients of the academy & Loft Urban Salon, The Loft Toronto and Loft Gala, volunteers and persons visiting the academy or Loft Urban Salon, The Loft Toronto and Loft Gala or anyone acting within the context of The Loft Academy Ottawa, Loft Urban Salon, The Loft Toronto and The Loft Gala.
- Purpose and Intent of the Policy.
All members of The Loft Academy and its community have a right to study and work in an environment that is free from any form of sexual violence. This document sets out our policy and response protocol to sexual violence and ensures that those who experience sexual violence are believed and their rights respected, that the academy has a process of investigation that protects the rights of individuals and holds individuals who have committed an act of sexual violence accountable.
- Policy Statement.
Sexual assault and sexual violence are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We are committed to challenging and preventing sexual violence and creating a safe space for anyone in our academy community who has experienced sexual violence. The academy is expected to be a safe and positive space where members of the academy community feel able to study, learn, work and express themselves in an environment free from sexual violence.
All reported incidents of sexual violence will be investigated to the best of the administration’s ability and in a manner that ensures due process. It is the policy’s intention to make individuals feel comfortable about making a report in good faith about sexual that they have experienced or witnessed.
We recognize that sexual violence can occur between individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity or relationship status as articulated in the Ontario Human Rights Code. We also recognize that individuals who have experienced sexual violence may experience emotional academic or other difficulties.
- We are Committed to.
- Assisting those who have experienced sexual violence providing choices, including detailed information and support, such as provision of referral to counselling and medical care, information about legal options, and appropriate academic accommodations.
- Ensuring that those who disclose that they have been sexually assaulted are believed, and that their right to dignity and respect is protected throughout the process of disclosure, investigation and institutional response.
- Addressing harmful attitudes and behaviours (e.g., adhering to myths of sexual violence) that reinforce that the person who experienced sexual violence is somehow to blame for what happened.
- Treat individuals who disclose sexual violence with compassion recognizing that they are the final decision-makers about their own best interests.
- Ensuring that an on-academy (internal) investigation procedures are available in the case of sexual violence, even when the individual chooses not to make a report to the police.
- Engaging in appropriate procedures for investigation and adjudication of a complaint which are in accordance with academy policies, standards and applicable agreements, and that ensure fairness and due process.
- Ensuring coordination and communication among the various departments who are most likely to be involved in the response to sexual violence on academy grounds.
- Engaging in public education and prevention activities.
- Providing information to the academy community about our sexual violence policies and protocols.
- Providing appropriate education and training to the academy community about responding to the disclosure of sexual violence.
- Contributing to the creation of academy atmosphere in which sexual violence is not tolerated.
- Monitoring and updating our policies and protocols to ensure that they remain effective and in line with other existing policies and best practices.
- Complaint Process, Reporting, and Responding to Sexual Violence Investigations.
A complaint of sexual assault/sexual violence can be filled under this policy by any member of the academy community that includes students, instructors, administration and owners/managers. The academy will seek to achieve procedural fairness in dealing with all complaints. As such no sanction and/or disciplinary action will be taken against a person or group without their knowledge where there is an alleged breach of this policy. Respondents will be given reasonable notice, with full details of the allegations and provided with an opportunity to answer to the allegations made against them.
- Members of the academy community should immediately report sexual violence incidents they witness or have knowledge of, or where they have reason to believe that sexual violence has occurred or may occur. Members who have experienced sexual violence are encouraged to come forward to report as soon as they are able to do so.
- Persons in a position of authority, including persons directing the activities of others, shall take immediate action to respond to or to prevent sexual violence from occurring.
- Where the academy becomes aware of incidents of sexual violence by a member of the academy community or against a member of the academy community, which occur on or off academy property and that pose a risk to the safety of members of the academy community, the academy shall take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the academy community.
- The Right to Withdraw a Complaint.
A complainant has the right to withdraw a complaint at any stage of the process; however. The academy may continue to act on the issue identified in the complaint in order to comply with its obligation under this policy.
- Protection, Reprisals, Retaliation or Threats.
No person shall threaten to retaliate, or engage in reprisals against a complainant or other individual for having pursued their rights, participated in an investigation or been associated with any person who has pursed rights under this policy or any related federal or provincial legislation. Anyone engaged in such conduct may be subject to sanctions and/or discipline.
- Unsubstantiated Complaints.
If a person in good faith discloses or files a sexual assault, sexual violence complaint that is not supported by evidence gathered during an investigation, that complaint will be dismissed. However, disclosures or complaints that are found following investigation to be frivolous, or in bad faith complaints, that are made to purposely to annoy, embarrass or harm the respondent, may result in discipline against the complainant.
Confidentiality is particularly important to those who have disclosed sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment. The confidentiality of all persons involved in a report of sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment or in subsequent disciplinary proceedings must be strictly observed, and the academy does its best to respect the confidentiality of all persons, including the complainant, respondent and witnesses.
However, confidentiality cannot be assured in the following circumstances:
- An individual is at imminent risk of self-harm
- An individual is at imminent risk of harming another and/or
- There are reasonable grounds to believe that others in the academy community may be at risk of harm.
In such circumstances, information may be shared with only the necessary service to prevent harm. Where the academy becomes aware of an allegation of sexual assault/violence or harassment by a member of the academy community against another member of the academy community, the academy may also have an obligation to take steps to ensure that the matter is dealt with in order to comply with the academy’s legal obligation and/or its policies to investigate such allegations.
- If You Have/or Are Experiencing Sexual Assault/Violence or Harassment.
Anyone who has and is experiencing sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment has the right to:
- Confidentiality and to be treated with dignity and respect.
- Be listened to without judgement and have their disclosure accepted as true.
- Be informed about on and off academy services and resources.
- Decide whether to report to academy official or local police.
- Have an academy investigation with the academy’s full cooperation.
- Have reasonable and necessary actions taken to prevent further unwanted contact with the alleged perpetrator(s).
- Any victim may chose not to request an investigation by our academy community and that a victim has the right not to participate in any investigation that may occur.
- Support Options Available to You.
In all instances of an emergency, contact administrator, instructor at 613.232.0202 ext.# 228 or owners Paul Valletta or Bruno Racine, at 613.232.0202 Ext.# 224 or #225. If neither option is available during this emergency, please telephone local police using 911.
Otherwise if you have experienced sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment and are seeking information or guidance, please speak to the academy administrator for more support services or use the following information: The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre Ottawa, 24 hour crisis line #613.562.2333 or go to their website, www.orcc.net, The sexual assault support centre of Ottawa (SASC) 24 hour support line 613.234.2266, website, www.sascottawa.com, OCTEVAW – Ottawa Coalition To End Violence Against Women and men, 24 hour information & help line 745.4818 or toll free 1.866.863.0511, website, www.octevaw-cocvff.ca, You can obtain pamphlet information from the administrator of the academy.
- If You Would Like to File a Formal Complaint.
The academy can also assist you with filing a complaint. If the alleged perpetrator is another member of the academy or its community, you may file a complaint under this policy. Individuals who have experienced sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment may also wish to press charges under the criminal code. The academy can also assist you with contacting the local police. Individuals who have experienced sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment may also wish to exercise their rights to contact the police at any time to press charges under the criminal code.
- If You Become Aware of an Incident of Sexual Assault/Violence/Harassment.
Becoming aware of an incident of sexual assault/violence or harassment includes situations where you have witnessed an incident and circumstances where an incident has been disclosed to you. If you witness sexual assault/violence or harassment, please contact the administrator, instructor or owners and include situations where you have witnessed an incident and circumstances where an incident has been disclosed to you. A number of other resources are available to you including:
- Counselling services through a recognized local counselling centre and
- Health Services.
A person may choose to confide in someone about an act of sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment, such as a student, instructor, teaching assistant, administrator, Urban Salon employee. A supportive response involves:
- listening without judgement and accepting the disclosure as true
- communicating that sexual assault, sexual violence or harassment is never the responsibility of the survivor
- helping the individual identify and/or access available on or off academy services, including emergency medical care and counselling
- respecting the individual’s right to choose the service they feel is most appropriate and to decide whether to report to the police
- recognizing that disclosing can be traumatic and an individual’s ability to recall the events may be limited
- respecting the individual’s choices as to what and how much they disclose about their experience
- making every effort to respect confidentiality and anonymity.
If disclosure is made to an employee by a student seeking support the employee should refer the student to the support services that are available in the Ottawa area to ensure that the student receives all appropriate support, which may include other accommodations.
If a member of the academy community becomes aware of an allegation of sexual violence, sexual assault, discrimination or harassment against another member of the academy community, the member of the academy community is required to report the alleged incident immediately, respecting the individual’s rights from above. The matter will be addressed in accordance with the confidentiality provisions outlined above.
- Communicating with Individuals Who Have Experienced Sexual Violence.
Sensitive and timely communication with individuals who have experienced sexual violence, sexual assault or harassment is a central part of the academy’s first response to sexual violence, sexual assault or harassment. To facilitate communication, the academy will:
- Ensure that employees in the designated departments, who are knowledgeable about sexual violence, are responsible for advocacy on academy property on behalf of employees, students or any other member of the academy community who have experienced sexual violence, assault or harassment.
- Ensure designated employees respond in a prompt, compassionate, and personalized fashion, and
- Ensure that the person who has experienced sexual violence, assault or harassment and the respondent are provided with reasonable updates about the status of the academy’s investigation of the incident when such investigations are undertaken.
- Roles and Responsibilities of the Academy Community
While everyone at the academy community has a role to play in responding to incidents of sexual violence, assault or harassment, some academy members will have specific responsibilities which might include:
- Provision of awareness and safety strategies related to sexual violence, assault or harassment, and promotion of a culture of safety, support and openness that diminishes sexual aggression and survivor blaming.
- The academy community can provide support through assistance with referrals to other services in the greater Ottawa area.
- The responsibility of staff and administration of the academy community to facilitate academic needs of those who have experienced sexual violence, assault or harassment by extensions on assignments, and/or an agreed time of finishing student contractual dates.
- The responsibility of administration to assist with any incidents relating to employees.
- The responsibility of administration to assist with investigation and gathering evidence to implement measures to reduce sexual violence, sexual assault or harassment on academy community property and to collaborate with local police where appropriate.
- How Will the Academy Respond to a Report of Sexual Violence/Assault
Where a complaint of sexual violence, sexual assault or harassment has been reported to The Loft Academy Ottawa and/or its community, the academy community will exercise care to protect and respect the rights of both the complainant and the respondent. The academy understands that individuals who have experienced sexual violence, sexual assault or harassment may wish to control whether and how their experience will be dealt with by the police and/or the academy. In most circumstances, the person will retain this control. However, in certain circumstances, the academy may be required to initiate an internal investigation and/or inform the police of the need for a criminal investigation, even without the survivor’s consent, if and only if, the academy community believes that the safety of other members of the academy community is at risk. The confidentiality and anonymity of the person(s) affected will be made a priority in these circumstances.
A report of sexual violence, sexual assault or harassment may be also be referred to the police, or to other community resources at the complainant’s request; where the person involved are not members of the academy community or in circumstances where the academy is unable to initiate an internal investigation under this policy.
- Where the Respondent is a Student
Sexual violence, sexual assault and/or harassment are a violation of the policies listed in the Academy Policies document of the Student Enrolment Contract. It is considered a serious offence and will be addressed in a manner which is consistent with other serious offences. Please read your contractual agreement on academy policies with regards to disciplinary action that the academy will take.
- Where the Respondent is an Employee
Sexual violence, sexual assault and/or harassment may be a violation of the code of conduct policy, as well as all laws that are in place in the province of Ontario that addresses Workplace Violence, Prevention, Sexual Violence and/or Harassment in the Workplace or at an Academic community (property). If the complaint is sustained following an investigation, the academy will decide on the appropriate disciplinary actions consistent with any applicable collective agreement and/or policies regarding discipline.
- Where the Respondent is not a Student or Employee
Contractors, suppliers, volunteers or visitors who attend on campus will be subject to complaints if they engage in prohibited conduct. Where a complaint against the respondent is substantiated, the academy will take appropriate action.
All contractual relationships entered into by the academy will be governed by a standard contract compliance clause stating that contractors must comply with academy policies, including co-operating in investigations. Breach of the clause may result in penalties, cancellation, or other sanctions.
- Multiple Proceedings
Where criminal and/or civil proceedings are commenced in respect of the allegations of sexual assault/sexual violence, the academy shall conduct its own independent investigation into such allegations, and will make its own determination in accordance with its policies and procedures. Where there is an ongoing criminal investigation, the academy will cooperate with the local police.
- Other Resources and Supports available to you in the Ottawa Community.
Ottawa Police/Partner Assault Section.
Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women.
Ottawa Victim Services.
The Sexual Assault Network.
Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Ontario 24/7 Assaulted Women’s Hotline: 1-866-863-0511
Tex on your cellphone: #SAFE (#7233) (Bell, Fido, Rogers, TELUS).
Good2Talk 24/7 Ontario Student Helpline: 1-866-925-5424
211 Ontario: You can call 211 as a helpline or use the online database of Ontario’s community and social services. *211 is answered and updated by highly-trained specialist.
Consent: means an active, direct, voluntary, unimpaired and conscious choice and agreement between
adults to engage in sexual activity.
Sexual Violence: means any sexual act or act targeting a person’s sexuality, whether the act is physical or
psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without
the person’s consent, and includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent
exposure, voyeurism, and sexual exploitation. This also includes gender identity and/or
Sexual Assault: means any form of sexual contact without mutual consent. It can include unwanted kissing,
fondling, touching, oral or anal sex, vaginal intercourse or other forms of penetration, or any
unwanted act of a sexual nature that is imposed by one person onto another without consent.
Sexual Harassment: means a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours, or communications of a sexually
oriented nature and/or a course of unwanted remarks, behaviours or communications
based on gender – where the person responsible for the remarks, behaviours or
communication know or ought reasonably to know that these are unwanted. Sexual
Harassment includes, but is not limited to:
- Sexual solicitations, advances, remarks, suggestive comments and gestures (including songs and chants)
- The inappropriate display of sexually suggestive pictures, posters, objects or graffiti
- Non-consensual posting of pictures, aggressive comments and slurs on any form of social media
- Physical contact of a sexual nature (including sexual assault under the criminal code)
- Sexual conduct that interferes with an individual’s dignity or privacy such as voyeurism and exhibitionism.
Student: means any person enrolled as a student at The Loft Academy Ottawa.
Survivor: means a person who reports having experienced sexual violence.
Academy Community: means students, faculty members and staff of The Loft Academy Ottawa,
management and staff of The Loft Urban Salon. The Loft Gala and
The Loft Toronto along with any of its outside working members connected to
The Loft Academy Ottawa, Loft Urban Salon, The Loft Gala and
The Loft Toronto and any added Salons/Spas owned and operated by the
the said owners Paul Valletta and Bruno Racine.