Information Box Group
McMaster community members who have experienced gender-based or sexual violence (GBSV) or who receive a disclosure of GBSV are encouraged to contact the case manager to set up an appointment or come to drop-in hours.
Available for McMaster community members who have questions about consent, GBSV, have experienced GBSV, or are supporting survivors in their lives.
- Tuesdays from 12pm to 2pm (year-round)
- 20-30 minute intro appointments
- University Hall (UH) 104, Equity and Inclusion Office reception
- Check in with the front desk to let them know you’re here for drop-in hours
How We Can Support
The case manager can provide you with a variety of supports based on your needs, including:
Support you with changing rooms, floors, or residence buildings
Support you with extensions and other accommodations in courses and exams
Support you with time off, remote work, and other accommodations
Accompany you to the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre or other medical appointments, where possible
Connect you with sexual health services, including STI and pregnancy testing
Legal Support & Reporting
Accompany you to provide a statement to Security Services
Connect you to legal resources
Support you with filing a police report or exploring civil options
Referrals to Counselling Services
Connect you with counselling services on campus, in the community, in-person, or online
Provide information about submitting a complaint to the University
Work with you to develop a list of steps to increase your physical and emotional safety
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm not sure if "sexual violence" or “gender-based violence” describes what happened to me, can I still access support?
It’s common for people who’ve experienced GBSV to downplay their own experiences. We also know that many people don’t know the exact definitions of terms like sexual violence, gender-based violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment. Ultimately, if you’ve experienced something that has made you feel physically or emotionally unsafe or uncomfortable, know that we are here for you and happy to connect.
Sexual violence and gender-based violence are broad terms, inclusive of:
- Unwelcome comments about sex, sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression
- Sexual assault, including unwelcoming touching and rape
- Threats or attempts to sexually assault
- Sharing intimate photos without consent
To connect with SVPRO, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-525-9140 ext. 20909 and ask to set up a meeting. You don’t need to provide much detail to set up a meeting. If you leave a voicemail message, please leave a number we can reach you at, when the best time to call you back would be, and whether we can leave a message at that number.
You can also drop by University Hall 104 during drop-in hours on Tuesdays (see details above).
Our services are available to all members of the McMaster community, including undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students, staff, faculty, medical residents, volunteers, visitors and visiting professors, and institutional administrators and officials representing McMaster University.
Generally, we can reply to emails within the same business day. Appointments can usually be set up within three business days.
SVPRO operates during business hours and does not offer 24-hour support. For 24-hour support, you can call the Sexual Assault Centre of Hamilton Area (SACHA) at 905-525-4162, or visit the Feeling Distressed page for a list of more support resources.
Yes, you are welcome to bring a friend, family, or anybody you’d feel comfortable having with you to your meeting with the case manager.
No, coming to SVPRO does not automatically lead to an investigation. With the case manager, you can learn about reporting options, how to access counselling support, and get support for academic or workplace accommodations. The case manager will also review the limits of confidentiality and answer any questions you might have.
For an investigation to take place, you need to write a statement of complaint or the University may initiate an investigation. In the first case, your statement would be reviewed by the Sexual Violence Response Team and sent to the appropriate Decision Maker who will determine if an investigation will take place Not every complaint will result in an investigation. University-initiated investigations may take place in instances where:
- Allegations are made about the conduct of a community member by an individual who is not, or is no longer, a McMaster community member,
- One or more individuals disclose experiences of Sexual Violence involving one individual or multiple individuals within a group/organizational environment,
- The University has a duty to investigate pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act,
- The power differential in the alleged incident indicates the potential for a pattern of repeated GBSV, and/or
- Situations reveal broader issues to be addressed, including concerns for a poisoned environment.
That is okay. Our services are voluntary, and you are in control, meaning you can stop seeing our case manager if you decide, for any reason.
What if the sexual violence took place off-campus, by someone outside of the McMaster community, or before I was a member of the McMaster community?
If you experienced sexual violence in any of these instances, you are still able to receive support from the case manager. Even in instances where a complaint is not possible under McMaster’s Sexual Violence Policy, the case manager can help you explore other forms of support such as counselling, accommodations, and safety planning.
What if I was drinking underage or using illegal drugs when the incident(s) took place? Will I be penalized for this?
If you were violating any McMaster policies related to alcohol and drug use, like the Student Code of Conduct, at the time that the sexual violence took place, you will not be penalized or subject to any actions for violations. This is a regulatory amendment required by the Government of Ontario.
Will everything be kept confidential? If I access support from SVPRO, will it be put on my student record? Will the person who caused harm be notified?
Confidentiality is extremely important to us. All of your information and experiences will be kept confidential, unless one of the limits to confidentiality applies, as outlined in the Sexual Violence policy.
The University will share identifying information only in circumstances where it is necessary in
order to administer the Sexual Violence Policy, to address safety concerns, or to satisfy a legal reporting requirement. In these circumstances, the minimum amount of information needed to allow these concerns to be addressed or to meet these requirements will be disclosed. These circumstances include those where:
- An individual is at risk of harm to self,
- An individual is at risk of harming others,
- There are reasonable grounds to be concerned about risk of future violence or the safety of the University and/or broader community;
- Disclosure is required by law, for instance, suspected abuse of someone under the age of 16, reports of intimate partner/domestic violence, or to comply with legislation, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, or with human rights legislation, and/or
- To comply with the reporting requirements of regulatory bodies and/or professional licensing bodies.
Accessing support from SVPRO won’t appear in any kind of official record or academic transcript at the University.
The person who caused harm will not be notified unless a written complaint is submitted to the University.
How long after an experience of GBSV can I seek support? What if I’m no longer part of McMaster University but had an experience of sexual violence while I was?
The Sexual Violence Policy has no time limitation for those wishing to submit a written complaint. McMaster community members past and present seeking support are encouraged to contact us for a consultation.