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how to file a report

Reporting or not reporting is your choice.

If you choose to report, you have several options and there are many factors to consider. We can assist you in understanding each option so that you have all the necessary information to make an appropriate decision that best suits your needs. At no point, will you be required or pressured to file a formal complaint/report.

Documenting What Happened

  • Although you may not choose to disclose or report immediately, it is helpful to create a paper trail of the incident(s) in case you decide to report in the future.

  • First-hand, written notes are considered good evidence by courts, human rights tribunals, labour boards and employers, especially if they are dated and written as quickly as possible after the event or action occurred.

  • A detailed, accurate log that includes names, dates, times, locations, witnesses, and other details is useful.

  • Even a simple notation in an agenda or on a calendar is useful in formal settings, if you decide to report.

Reporting to the Police

It is always your choice whether or not you report the crime to the police.

Reports can be made to the police in an effort to pursue criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Filing a police report
  • It is not guaranteed that the perpetrator will face charges or be found guilty, even when you know they are.
  • If you report the assault, the police will take your statement, investigate the matter and determine if there is enough evidence to lay charges. The police and the Crown will require your participation in what can become a public process. If the matter proceeds to court, you will likely be called to testify.

Getting Medical Attention

  • If you decide to report the assault to the police, you can seek medical attention to document the violence. You can undergo a forensic medical examination at the Sexual Assault/Domestic Care Centre located in a hospital emergency room, ideally within 72 hours. This helps to collect and preserve evidence. Some portions of the examine may be considered for collection up to 7-12 days post-assault depending on the circumstances and type of assault.
  • In Toronto, this can be collected by a specially trained nurse through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program. When you arrive at any hospital emergency department in Toronto, the staff will contact the SANE on duty through the Women’s College Hospital Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre.
  • If you are unsure about reporting to the police, but would like to preserve the evidence while you make a decision, you can specify this when you meet with the SANE.
  • Prior to the exam, you should do your best to refrain from changing your clothing, using the toilet, showering, eating, or brushing your teeth.
  • Even if you have not been injured physically, or don’t want to report the assault to the police, you may want to consider being tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or pregnancy.
  • You can also obtain medical attention at the Ryerson Medical Centre during regular business hours, however, they cannot provide specialized sexual assault care.
My voice matters

How to file a report with the university

Reporting or not reporting is your choice. If you choose to report, you have several options and there are many factors to consider. We can assist you in understanding each option so that you can make an informed decision.

How our office supports you

Our Office will work with you in determining what support and/or workplace and academic accommodations you need and help you access them. Everyone's needs will be different, and the types and forms of support and accommodations made available will be tailored on a case-by-case basis.

We can assist survivors in understanding each of these options and help them collect all the information that they need in order to make an appropriate decision on next steps.

Reporting to University authorities

Making a report or complaint

If you have been subjected to sexual violence by another member of the Ryerson community, you have the right to report it to the university. If you do choose to file a report you have to contact Human Rights Services.The complainant may file a report or complaint in writing via e-mail or letter or may request an in-person meeting to make their report or complaint. Our office is able to provide support through the process if you would like.

Human Right Services Contact info:

Human Rights Services

Location: POD 254A


Phone: 416-979-5000, ext. 5349

Your rights during the investigation and adjudication process

You can expect a timely, transparent and fair process. You will be advised of your rights and responsibilities, will be kept informed about the investigation and outcome, and will receive regular updates including estimated timeframes and any delays.

You also have the right to a support person throughout the process. Our office can provide this support or you may choose to identify an alternate to accompany you to meetings. This could include a friend, family member, legal representative, etc.


All information related to cases of sexual violence will be kept confidential. You are expected to keep the details of any case confidential, outside your circle of support, in order to ensure the integrity of the investigation and decision making process.

However there may be circumstances where university employees may be required to disclose information about the case. this includes;

  • An individual is at risk of life-threatening self-harm;

  • An individual is at risk of harming others;

  • There is risk to the safety of the university and/or broader community;

  • Disclosure is required by law; for instance, under the Child and Family Services Act, reporting is legally required if an incident involves a child 16 or under; or, to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act or with human rights legislation; and/or

  • Evidence of the disclosed incident of sexual violence is available in the public realm (e.g. video shared publicly on social media).

Interim measures

In some instances, it may be necessary to implement interim measures, which are temporary measures put in place to protect the parties and the community. Consequences for violating interim measures will be clearly communicated to you at the time they are applied. Examples of interim measures that might be considered include:

  • Changes within university housing (if you and the complainant live in residence)

  • Restrictions to access campus or parts of campus

  • No contact/communication orders

  • Employment/workplace restrictions

  • Changes to class and/or section enrollments

Withdrawal of a complaint

At any time throughout the process, before a decision is made, you may choose to withdraw your complaint. You are required to communicate, in writing, your decision to withdraw their complaint to Human Rights Services. In some circumstances, the university may still pursue the complaint (see the next section). Know that even if you withdraw your complaint you can still receive support from our office.

Circumstances where the University may proceed without a complaint

In some cases the university may be required to or choose to investigate an incident of sexual violence even though the survivor has chosen not to file a report or complaint.

Examples of such circumstances could include, but are not limited to:

  • Where there is risk to the safety of individuals and/or the broader community; for example where repeated allegations have been made about the conduct of the same individual.

  • Where required by law, such as under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

  • Where there is evidence of sexual violence in the public realm (such as a video posted on social media).

If such a situation applies to the survivor, information and support will be made available at every step of the process, even if they choose not to participate.

Using the Residence Community Standards process

Ryerson’s Residence Community Standards process would apply where the individuals involved live on-campus in a Ryerson residence.

Residents agree to act in a responsible manner so as not to compromise or endanger the health and safety of others (in person or via social media).

Housing & Residence Life has the right to determine what constitutes unsafe practices and the appropriate sanctions for residents in such situations.

Making a complaint/report to the manager of a workplace

This option involves Human Resources and the Office of Vice-Provost Faculty Affairs depending on the parties involved.

Filing a grievance with your union

If you are part of an union, you will be expected to take your complaint to your union first.

All collective agreements (union contracts) provide for a grievance process. This is a legally-protected process for complaints, including enforcement of employment and human rights law.

Most collective agreements contain specific extra protections against discrimination and harassment as well.

It will be up to you whether you proceed with a grievance, but they can advise you, and explain your rights and options.

If you are not comfortable with your local union representative, you can call the main office or a higher-level representative.

Notice of investigation

Human Rights Services will appoint an impartial investigator who has knowledge, training and experience in sexual violence investigations and related issues. The investigator may be internal or external to the university.

If you reasonably believe that the investigator may have a conflict of interest, you may request an alternative investigator. Human Rights Services will consider your concerns to determine whether or not to assign an alternative investigator.

Once an investigator is appointed, Human Rights Services will provide you with a notice of investigation that includes the following information:

i.   The name and contact information of the investigator

ii.   A written account of the complaint

iii.   Confirmation of the right to a support person or representative during the investigation

iv.   Any interim measures that will be in place during the investigation

v.   A link to the sexual violence policy and any other related policies

vi.   The name and contact information of the university support person designated to support you. This is typically one of our staff.

Once an investigator is appointed, they will contact the parties within seven (7) business days to confirm:

i.   Their appointment by Human Rights Services

ii.   The role of the investigator

iii.   Next steps in the investigation process

Consulting with a Lawyer

  • A lawyer can give you specific advice, and can explain your legal options to address sexual violence.

  • Depending on where you live, and whether you qualify, you may be able to speak to a lawyer for free, or at a discount, through Legal Aid, a community legal clinic, or a women’s organization.

  • There are a number of legal clinics in Canada, such as the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, that can provide you with information on your options.

  • Civil sexual assault lawyers are lawyers who focus on survivors of childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual assault. You would obtain this type of legal counsel for the purpose of financial compensation. Toronto Police Services will not recommend a specific lawyer. If the accused is found not guilty in the criminal court process, you can still proceed with a civil lawyer for financial compensation. To locate a civil sexual assault lawyer:

The Law Society of Upper Canada - Lawyer Referral Service
416-947-3330 or 1-800-268-8326 (toll free)

Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
905-639-6852 or 1-800-567-3047 (toll free)