MSVU’s Response to Sexual Violence

MSVU is committed to sexual violence prevention and providing a trauma-informed, survivor-centered response. As an MSVU student, you have the right to a campus environment that is free from sexualized violence, including sexual assault.

Sexual violence is any act targeting a person’s sexuality, gender or gender expression, whether the act is physical or psychological in nature, that is committed, threatened or attempted against a person without that person’s consent, and includes the Criminal Code offences of sexual assault, criminal harassment (stalking), indecent exposure, voyeurism and non-consensual distribution of sexual/intimate images. Sexual Violence can take place through any form or means of communication (e.g. online, social media, verbal, written, visual, “hazing”, or through a third party), and includes cyber stalking.

Sexual assault means any Sexual Activity without consent, including kissing, fondling, touching, oral sexual contact, stealthing, or anal, vaginal or other forms of contact or penetration, without consent. Sexual Assault may be committed by a person of any gender against a person of any gender, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or relationship status. Condom stealthing (the removal of a condom without the express consent of the sexual partner), is a form of non-consensual sexual contact and is Sexual Assault.

If you are a victim/survivor of sexual violence, we encourage you to speak to a specially trained member of the MSVU community, such as a member of our Counselling Services, Health Office or Campus Security teams. Whether you choose to make a formal report or not, you are entitled to receive support on campus such as safety planning, counselling, medical support, and potential accommodations to your living arrangements or academics.

MSVU Policy Against Sexual Violence (PDF)

Policy Guide booklet (PDF)

If you are in immediate danger, phone 9-1-1.


Avalon Sexual Assault Centre / Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Phone: 902 422 4240 (Avalon Centre general inquiries)

Phone: 902 425 0122 (SANE response line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Call this line for medical and forensic assessments within seven days of sexualized violence.


Location: 1526 Dresden Row, Suite 401.

Hours: Avalon Centre: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. SANE response line at 902 425 0122 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Victim Services – Halifax Regional Police

Phone: 902 490 5300

Text (for those with hearing impairment): 902 497 4709

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday


MSVU Security

Phone: 902 457 6111 (emergencies)

Phone: 902 457 6412 (non-emergencies)

These phone numbers are also found on the back of Student ID cards.

Location: Mount Saint Vincent University, Assisi Hall, Main Floor

Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Campus security phones

Once the receiver is lifted, the caller is automatically connected to the Security Office which is staffed 24/7.

Interior emergency phone locations: 

  • Seton Academic Centre Lobby
  • Next to each elevator on Seton 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors
  • RBC Link (between Seton and EMF)
  • Rosaria Student Centre main entrance
  • Rosaria Student Centre third floor outside the Bookstore
  • Inside all elevators

Exterior emergency phone locations (painted yellow):

  • Bottom of staircase between Seton and Evaristus
  • Front, north corner of Evaristus near Pay and Display
  • On the wall outside 1st floor entrance of Westwood
  • EMF back parking lot
  • Walkway between top of College Rd and Birch 5

On-Campus Resources

MSVU Health Services

Phone: 902 457 6354 (students choose option 0)
Location: Mount Saint Vincent University, Assisi Hall, 2nd Floor
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday
Call 902 457 6111 in the case of an emergency on campus. This number connects to campus security’s emergency line which is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

MSVU Counselling Services

Phone: 902 457 6567
Location: Mount Saint Vincent University, EMF 108 (lower level of the library)
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday

MSVU Campus Security

Emergency Phone: 902 457 6111 or Non-emergency Phone: 902 457 6412
These numbers are also found on the back of Student ID cards.
Location: Mount Saint Vincent University, Assisi Hall, Main Floor
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

MSVU Harassment and Discrimination Advisor

Phone: 902 457 6766


Off-Campus Sexual Assault Resources

Avalon Sexual Assault Centre / Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Phone: 902 422 4240 (Avalon Centre general inquiries)

Phone: 902 425 0122 (SANE response line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Call this line for medical and forensic assessments within seven days of sexualized violence.


Location: 1526 Dresden Row, Suite 401.

Hours: Avalon Centre: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. SANE response line at 902 425 0122 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Halifax Regional Police

Emergency Phone: 911
Non Emergency Phone: 902-490-5020


Victim Services – Halifax Regional Police

Phone: 902-490-5300

Text (for those with hearing impairment): 902 497 4709

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday


Legal Info Nova Scotia

Legal Help for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

Services et ressources juridiques pour les survivantes de violence familiale


Off-Campus Health Centres

Bedford Basin Women’s Health Clinic

Phone: 902 444 8726

Location: 967 Bedford Hwy, Suite 208-B, Bedford, NS, B4A 1B6

Hours: Please call for current hours

Halifax Sexual Health Centre

Phone: 902 455 9656

Location: 7071 Bayers Rd, Suite 302, Halifax, NS, B3L 2C2

Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday to Thursday; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday

The Family Focus Medical Clinic

Phone: 902 420 6060


5991 Spring Garden Road (Halifax)
3601 Joseph Howe Drive (Halifax)
667 Sackville Drive, suite 207 (Lower Sackville)
240 Baker Drive, suite 201 (Dartmouth)


Online Resources

Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence – online course


Changing the Culture of Acceptance


Culture & Perspectives on Sexual Assault Policy (CAPSAP) Project

In times of emotional stress, people tend to minimize their own feelings out of self-protection, or out of consideration for the feelings of people they love. Although you may feel fine physically, your body may be numbed by a state of shock, so it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible.

If you choose to have evidence collected, the sooner this is done, the more reliable and potentially useful it will be if you decide that you want to contact the police, but you do not have to decide right away because the evidence can be collected and saved for the future. That said, you can choose not to have the evidence collected during medical treatment.1

If you have been sexually assaulted and wish to seek medical assistance, there are options available to you within the Halifax Regional Municipality:

  • Call 911 if you are in an emergency situation and would like medical care and/or police assistance. You also have the option to contact the police either immediately after the assault or later on.
  • Call the 24-hour, seven days a week, Avalon Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Response line (902-425-0122) to speak to a nurse examiner. You may also arrange for a medical examination and/or forensic evidence collection by a nurse examiner if the assault occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days).
  • Proceed to the emergency departments of the QEII Health Sciences Centre, Dartmouth General Hospital, IWK Health Centre or the Cobequid Community Health Centre. A nurse from the SANE program will respond seven days a week to male, female and trans-identified people who have experienced sexual assault/abuse in the past three days.2

1Adapted from the University of Connecticut
2Taken from the Avalon Sexual Assault website

Reporting a Sexual Assault for the Purpose of Investigation

Disclosures and Reports of sexual assault are separate actions that you may choose to take. A disclosure (telling someone about your experience) does not trigger an investigation and it will usually not be reported unless you make that decision.

You are entitled to receive supports and resources, which may include:

  • Safety planning and protective measures;•
  • Counselling;
  • Medical services;
  • Academic/classroom, living and/or workplace accommodations;
  • Information on filing a Report under this Policy or external to the Mount.

Our primary concern following a disclosure is your safety, security and well-being. You have the right to determine how much information you disclose, when you disclose it, and who you disclose it to.

A Report is a formal complaint of sexual assault to the University for the purposes of initiating an investigation, which could result in disciplinary action against the respondent.

Throughout an investigation, and regardless of the outcome, you will continue to be supported by the University.

A Report may be made in writing via email or letter, or through an in-person meeting with the Associate Vice-President, Student Experience (AVPSE) or the Harassment & Discrimination Advisor.

You are welcome to bring a support person to this meeting.

The Mount recognizes that you may require time to make decisions. There is no deadline. You are encouraged to make a Report when you feel comfortable doing so.

Responding to Disclosures of Sexual Assault

When a disclosure of sexual assault is made, the safety, security, and well-being of the victim are fundamental considerations. It is important to note there is a difference between disclosing and reporting. Disclosing refers to sharing information about an assault with staff, faculty or a peer. Reporting an assault means there will be an investigation. It is possible to disclose information about an assault without reporting it for the purpose of an investigation.

  • DO believe the survivor.
  • DO tell the survivor that it’s not his or her fault. Nobody invites sexual assault or wants to be sexually assaulted.
  • DO be aware of myths and misconceptions about sexual violence (for more info, read section below).
  • DO support survivors in responding to and reporting these incidents in a transparent and consistent manner.
  • DO refer the survivor to a hospital, clinic, or doctor that can provide medical help and testing for unplanned pregnancy, HIV and sexually transmitted infection.
  • DO refer to others in the community who are able to assist further.
  • DO protect the survivor’s confidentiality.
  • DO NOT react with disbelief, disgust or anger at what the survivor tells you.
  • DO NOT give advice (“If I were you, I would…”, “If you don’t charge this guy he will do it again”, “You have to tell the police what happened to you”).
  • DO NOT insist or coax the survivor into any course of action. If there is a course of action you are legally obliged to take, explain what this is and why.
  • DO NOT grill the survivor for details.1

1Portions of material adapted from Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (n.d.) Dealing with Sexual Disclosures: Creating an emotionally safe response when somebody tells you they have been sexually assaulted.

Myths about Sexual Assault

Myth: Strangers most often commit sexual assault.
Fact: On the contrary, sexual assault is most often committed by someone known to the survivor, such as a family member or relative, friend of the family, trusted neighbour, partner, or roommate – not by strangers.

Myth: People cannot be assaulted by their husbands/wives or boyfriends/girlfriends.
Fact: Under the law, people have the right to say “no” to any form of sex, even in a marriage or dating relationship.

Myth: Survivors of sexual assault “asked for it” by the way they dress or act.
Fact: The idea that survivors “asked for it” is often used by offenders to rationalize their behaviour. It also blames the survivor for the crime, not the offender. Survivors of sexual assault report a wide range of dress and actions at the time of the assault. Any person of any age and physical type, in almost any situation, can be sexually assaulted. If a person is sexually assaulted, it is NOT his/her fault.

Myth: People who commit sexual assault are either mentally ill or sexually starved.
Fact: Sexual assault is about asserting power and control over the victim. Most perpetrators are not mentally ill or sexually starved.

Myth: People of certain races and backgrounds are more likely to commit sexual assault.
Fact: Offenders come from every economic, ethnic, racial, age, and social group. Beliefs that people of colour or working class people are more likely to commit sexual assault are a stereotype rooted in racism and classism. Anyone can commit sexual assault.

Myth: It is only sexual assault if physical violence or weapons are used.
Fact: The Criminal Code definition of sexual assault includes a number of acts ranging from unwanted sexual touching, to sexual violence resulting in wounding, maiming, or endangering the life of the survivor. Many sexual assaults involve verbal pressure, intimidation, intoxication (such as administering drugs without the victim’s consent), and/or threats during an assault.

Myth: Unless physically harmed, a sexual assault survivor will not suffer any long-term effects.
Fact: Any sexual assault can have serious effects on a person’s long-term health and well-being. Survivors often deal with feelings of anger, shame, and fear for many years after the assault. Survivors often also become more cautious and less trusting, affecting their personal relationships.

Myths about Male Sexual Assault1

Myth: Sexual assault of males is a rare occurrence.
Fact: A recent study in Canada (Sexual Offenses Against Children) reports that an estimated one in three boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Also, in one study involving college men ages 19-24, 30% admitted to being victims of sexual assault.2 Both males and females are vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

Myth: Males are less traumatized by sexual violence or do not suffer to the same extent female survivors do.
Fact: After sexual assault or sexual abuse, male survivors are just as likely as female survivors to experience effects from the experience. Just like female survivors, male survivors may experience Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, suicidal ideations, flashbacks, and difficulty trusting others. Survivors of sexual assault all have very personal reactions to their experiences, but they are all impacted in some way.

Myth: Males are only assaulted and abused by gay men.
Fact: The great majority of perpetrators against men and boys are heterosexual men. The motivation for sexual violence is to gain a sense of control and power over another person, not to achieve sexual satisfaction. Females also commit sexual assault against males.

Myth: Males can protect themselves from being sexually assaulted.
Fact: Males and females alike are vulnerable to sexual assault. Because men are often physically stronger than women, some people mistakenly believe that men should be able to defend themselves. Yet, there are many ways that perpetrators commit sexual assault, and most often, coercion is used. Any person of any size or physical strength can be coerced.

Myth: You can’t sexually assault a man because men always want and are ready for sex.
Fact: Sexual assault is not sex. If a man wants sex, he wants to choose who it is with and what it consists of. Sexual assault is an act of violence that takes away any choice or control the person has. Our society’s expectation that men always want sex can be very damaging to male victims who therefore feel that they “should have wanted” this experience and thus cannot be upset about it.

Myth: Males assaulted by another male are, or become, gay as a result of the sexual assault.
Fact: A person’s sexual orientation does not change as a result of a sexual assault experience. Some victims do feel confused about their sexual orientation after a sexual assault or sexual abuse, particularly if they experienced physical arousal during the assault. For example, if a straight man is sexually assaulted by another men and has an erection during the assault, he may worry that this must mean that he is gay or that he wanted the sexual assault to happen. Yet, it is very common to experience arousal during a sexual assault. This arousal can be a fear response, or it can be because a healthy body usually physically responds to sexual touch, even if the touch is not wanted.


Myth: Men who had an erection while being sexually assaulted enjoyed what happened to them.
Fact: Our bodies are programmed to respond to touch in a certain way. Just as women who are sexually assaulted may lubricate or orgasm, men who are sexually assaulted may have an erection and ejaculate. This does not mean they enjoyed the touch. Instead, it means they have healthy, normal bodies that are responding in a healthy, normal way.

1University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre. “The Male Experience of Sexual Violence.” Available at: 2Volunteer Training Manual, Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton
2Volunteer Training Manual, Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton