Ontario Funding New Research on Sexual Violence and Harassment


News Release

Ontario Funding New Research on Sexual Violence and Harassment

February 5, 2016

Research to Examine Survivor Experiences and Police Practices

Ontario is investing in six research projects to support a more compassionate and sensitive response from law enforcement authorities when dealing with incidents of sexual violence and harassment, and to encourage more survivors to report sexual violence.

This research is part of It’s Never Okay, Ontario’s ground-breaking action plan to end sexual violence and harassment. The results will be used to inform future policies and programs to better support survivors.

In total, the province is providing academic researchers with nearly $375,000 to explore:

  • Police response to digital and internet sex crimes against children
  • The treatment of cases in which victims experience sexual violence from other members of the university community
  • How Ontario Provincial Police officers respond to cases involving victims with developmental disabilities
  • The experiences of victims who choose to report sexual violence and harassment
  • How postsecondary institutions and police respond to complaints
  • Collaboration between postsecondary institutions and police.

Investing in research to create a safer, more inclusive and more equitable province is part of the government’s plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people’s talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.


  • It is estimated that one in three Canadian women experiences sexual assault.
  • Ontario has committed $41 million over three years to support implementation of the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan.
  • Research indicates that fewer than four per cent of sexual assaults are reported to police.
  • Through a $3 million Innovation Fund, Ontario is supporting new, creative projects to enhance community support for survivors of sexual violence.
  • Sexual assault victimization rates are five times higher for women under the age of 35.





“Sexual violence and harassment is never okay and government has a key role to play in making sure survivors of sexual violence feel safe reporting their experiences and seeking justice. This research will help us identify gaps and best practices, so that we can develop tools to improve police responses and investigations across the province. Our aim is to ensure survivors receive a dignified and compassionate response when they make the choice to report their experience to law enforcement.”
— Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
“Sexual violence is one of the most underreported crimes – fewer than four per cent of sexual assaults are ever reported to police. We’ve heard from countless survivors throughout the development and implementation of our government’s Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan that many don’t report to authorities for fear of not being believed and fear of public scrutiny. Survivors have also reported that going through the justice system can make a survivor of sexual assault feel re-victimized. As a government, we are committed to providing our police and law enforcement officials with the tools and training they need in order to best support the victims of these terrible crimes.”
— Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues
“I’m proud that our government is working closely with college, university, student and community leaders to address the issue of sexual violence and harassment at postsecondary institutions across the province. We need to continue working together to address each facet of this complex issue, and these research projects will help us gather some of the valuable information needed to inform policies moving forward.”
— Reza Moridi, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities


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