Campus Life

University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College adopt online tool for reporting sexual violence

Students at both the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College will have access to a secure, online reporting and information platform starting this fall to support them if they experience gender-based and sexual violence.

REES (Respect, Educate, Empower Survivors) is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week centralized online reporting and information platform that provides increased options for students and employees to report gender-based sexual violence. It includes multiple reporting options and critical information about resources and supports available on campus and in the community.

The platform empowers survivors to document their experience and decide how or if they want to share their story with their post-secondary institution or other agencies. They can share information or seek help anonymously if they aren’t prepared to submit a formal complaint.

“The University of Lethbridge is working hard to provide effective support to survivors and to eradicate gender-based and sexual violence in its community,” says Dr. Mark Slomp, executive director of Student Services. “The introduction of REES Campus is a new tool designed to give survivors the option of anonymous reporting, a new feature of the university’s Sexual and Gender-based Violence Prevention policy.”

“Lethbridge College is happy to partner with REES Campus because the platform was clearly designed with the survivor’s needs in mind,” says Nancy Russell, dean of Student Affairs of Lethbridge College, which will make the platform live early this fall. “The service is mindful of the trauma a survivor has experienced and provides the survivor with the security, privacy, resources and options they need when they need them.”

With many students crossing over between the college and university, the implementation of a common system will help raise awareness for and familiarity with the platform.

According to a 2019 Stats Canada Survey on Individual Safety in the Postsecondary Student Population, 71 per cent of post-secondary students witnessed or experienced unwanted sexualized behaviours over the past year, yet less than one in 10 spoke about what happened with someone associated with their school.

“REES is proud to support students and employees with trauma-informed reporting options,” says Mary Lobson, founder of REES. “Creating safer communities is at the core of what we do and we applaud this collaboration by the institutional partners.”

The two Lethbridge post-secondary institutions join King’s University, University of Windsor, Mount Allison University, St. Francis Xavier University and others across Canada in adopting the REES platform.