Sexual Violence in Quebec Universities

 In Reports, Safety and Peace (SDG # 16)

The survey involved 9,284 participants including students, academia and other university staff. The report: «Enquête Sexualité, Sécurité et Interactions en Milieu Universitaire (ESSIMU): Ce qu’en disent é, et employé.es» was published on December 2016 and the main findings suggest that:

  1. Sexual violence is a reality in Québec universities. This violence is circumscribed around gender relations.
  2. There were no differences in Québec in terms of statistics, patterns of violence as compared to other universities in Canada and the USA.
  3. Sexual violence is a continuum that begins with harassment and ends with aggression.
  4. 1 person in 4 had witnessed sexual violence situations.
  5. The most targeted populations were women, people of sexual minority groups, people with handicap and international students.
  6. 9% of respondents were victims of at least one form of sexual violence. Among these, 41,8% were victims of 2 or more types for violence.
  7. Women were more likely to be victim of sexual violence perpetrated by someone in the same University (40.6%) than by people from external environments (26.4%).
  8. There was a significant relationship between sexual violence and sexual orientation. Respondents from sexual minorities declared to be victims more often (48 %) than heterosexuals (35.1%).
  9. Persons who declared a handicap were more likely to be victims (46.1%) than those who declared no handicap (36.5 %).
  10. Only 9.6% of victims have reported the problem while others remained silent.
  11. About 47,3% of victims report negative impact on academic achievement and/or on professional life.
  12. 9,2% of victims reported symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Syndrome (PTSD)


Based on these findings, the researchers formulated 15 recommendations to prevent sexual violence in terms of : (1) policies and action plan (2) school environment (3) awareness (4) training and capacity building (5) Interventions and (6) research.

The publication of this Report along with the cascade of events reported during orientation days in several universities in Québec have played a catalytic role in the effort of the Québec Ministry of Advanced Education to address the issue of sexual violence in Québec universities. On February 14th 2017, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Hélène David, stated her intent to adopt a law to fight sexual violence in Québec Colleges and Universities. Discussion round tables were scheduled from February to March 2017 in Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Québec, Gatineau and Montreal.

The full Report (French language) can be accessed via https://essimu.Québec/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Rapport-ESSIMU_COMPLET.pdf

Other resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2016) – Sexual Violence on Campus: Strategies for Prevention. Consulted on February 2017 at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2014) – Sexual violence surveillance: uniform definitions and recommended data elements. Consulted on February 2017 at


Recent Posts

Leave a Comment