Headlines (Campus Updates)
Social Innovation Research Group (SIRG)
Status of Women Canada funds support sexual assault research
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In the past several years, warning notices about campus sexual assaults on or near the Laurier campus have become far too common.
On Wednesday, November 14, it was announced that the Sexual Assault Support Centre – Waterloo Region will receive $191,030 as part of a $4 million Status of Women Canada program to tackle violence against female students. As the SASC addresses the problem on the Laurier and University of Waterloo campuses, the Social Innovation Research Group of Laurier’s Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work will be taking an active role.
The Social Innovation Research Group, with Ginette Lafrenière as director, has an established working relationship with the Sexual Assault Support Centre. The research group recently completed a two-year project with them putting in place a sexual assault protocol for the Region of Waterloo. When the funding for the current project became available from Status of Women Canada, SASC approached the Laurier group for research assistance.
“This project is etched in what SIRG values: university-community collaboration,” said Lafrenière. SIRG is a group of faculty, MSW students, and community partners that work collaboratively on a range of community-based research, training, and action projects.
The Social Innovation Research Group will be taking a leadership role in the research activities of the project, with an emphasis on assisting project partners to make evidence-informed decisions about the prevention and response to gendered violence on campus. Their tasks will include coordinating and implementing a research plan for gathering data and working with participants from both Laurier and Waterloo, as well as the Sexual Assault Support Centre staff.
Students will be active partners. As the project rolls out, the SIRG will involve undergraduate, MSW, and PhD students in leading, advising, and implementing research activities.
Evaluating and arriving at effective responses to gendered campus violence will, the SIRG anticipates, be an opportunity to have a research evidence based effect on drafting policy and procedures that can help the community best ensure student safety.
“This is an ambitious project,” Lafrenière said. “It is our sincerest hope that the outcome of our capacity building efforts, research, knowledge production and mobilization will make this project one which will be an innovative and creative model we can share with universities across North America.”
Other Laurier groups that will be involved in this project include the Campus/ Community Coalition for the Prevention of Gendered Violence and the Laurier Centre for Women and Trans People.