New Incident Reporting Form Helps OC Transpo Riders Report Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence

Wednesday, June 17 2015

New Incident Reporting Form Helps OC Transpo Riders Report Sexual Harassment
and Gender-Based Violence

(Ottawa, June 17, 2015) OC Transpo riders now have access to an online
incident reporting form designed to help them report experiences of sexual
harassment and gender-based violence, and other problematic experiences they
have on the OC Transpo transit system.

Community organizations, including Hollaback! Ottawa, Women's Initiatives
for Safer Environments (WISE), City for All Women Initiative (CAWI), the
Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), the Ottawa Rape
Crisis Centre (ORCC) and the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa  (SASC)
are members of the OC Transpo Safety Working Group that has been supporting
the development and launch of the incident reporting form.

Valerie Collicott from Women's Initiatives for Safer Environments reflects
on the progress made over the past two years: "We supported Hollaback!
Ottawa in organizing a public forum on the importance of safety from sexual
violence on transit through a public forum two years ago. As an organization
dedicated to ensuring women's safety in public spaces, we are delighted with
the launch of this new reporting system."

The reporting form is the first of its kind in North America and will
provide essential information to OC Transpo and service organizations in the
city to better understand the prevalence of sexual harassment and
gender-based violence on public transportation, and develop responses to
helping address these issues. The reporting form and the new public
education campaign are accompanied by a new Safe Travel section on the OC
Transpo site; where one can access tips on safety as well as view videos
designed to clarify and demonstrate some types of incidents which might be
reported.

 "We have worked in partnership with OC Transpo to ensure that women and
other people who use OC Transpo feel able to come forward and share their
experiences of sexual harassment or other forms of gender-based violence,"
says Erin Leigh, OCTEVAW's Executive Director. "This is the first system of
its kind to include anonymous reporting. This is vital when we know that the
majority of those who experience sexual violence aren't comfortable
reporting it for fear of being stigmatized, not being believed and other
repercussions."

 "We hope to see women and others in Ottawa use the reporting tool, for
themselves or if they see something happening on the Transit System,"
explains Tara Henderson, Public Education and Fundraising Coordinator for
the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. "We know that increased numbers of reports
doesn't necessarily reflect an increase in reporting. In fact, it could
point to greater trust in OC Transpo caring for its riders' well-being and
challenging violence, sexism,  homophobia, ableism, racism and other
discrimination that riders face."

"We are proud of the work that we have done with OC Transpo," says Yamikani
Msosa, Public Education Coordinator of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of
Ottawa. "We are hopeful that the public education campaign that is
accompanying the launch of the reporting form will encourage diverse members
of the community to report their experiences, as it uses a plain language
approach that reflects sexual violence and other forms of gender-based
violence such as 'do you feel harassed or threatened', ". She noted that
"Moving forward, we will be working with OC Transpo to ensure that those who
do report are believed, respected and supported in their experiences, and we
will continue to evaluate and improve upon the reporting system."


As Mai Ngo of the City for  All Women Initiative (CAWI) notes, "The new
incident reporting form reflects the dedication that OC Transpo and other
organizations on the Safety Working Group have to implementing the Equity
and Inclusion lens in the safety on transit context."



The new incident reporting form is available online through the OC Transpo
website.

Joint release from:

Hollaback! Ottawa
Women's Initiatives for Safer Environments (WISE)
City for All Women Initiative (CAWI)
The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW)
The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (ORCC)
The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa  (SASC)

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