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Community safety office opens on campus

Safety is everyone’s responsibility, but campus safety just got a boost, thanks to the opening of a Community Safety Office on our campus.

Located on the second floor of the Science Wing at S-208-B, the office is now open to service the campus. It provides a confidential service that responds to personal safety concerns of students, staff and faculty members.

The office will have drop-in hours on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and by appointment anytime outside of those hours. The office can be reached by telephone at any time at (416) 978-1485. The opening is part of an initiative at the University of Toronto to provide assistance and support for safety issues at all three campuses.

Caroline Rabbat is the Manager of the Community Safety Office for this tri-campus initiative, which includes two other staff members. The office staff will work together with the Scarborough community and campus police when necessary, and can offer advice on how to proceed and what resources are available when a safety concern is raised.

Raising awareness of safety issues is a key part of the role, and in addition to responding to personal safety concerns, the office will be offering consultation and training workshops on safety and related issues on a variety of topics such as: dealing with difficult behaviour, online safety, criminal harassment, and creating a respectful workplace. The office can also offer self-defence training courses.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to better meet our tri-campus mandate by having an office and drop-in hours at the Scarborough campus,” says Rabbat. “We have always had a safety presence at this campus, but we felt it was important to have a permanent presence where people can find us physically. This initiative will enable us to enhance our visibility with the goal of better serving the Scarborough campus community.”

The safety office will address the complaint, assess the personal and community safety risks, and provide a range of options for the complainant.

“The new safety office is an incredible resource and a service for everyone in our campus community,” says Alexandra Love, Director of the Health & Wellness Centre. “The confidentiality of the service is vital, because the staff in the community safety office can outline different ways to proceed, as well as describing what options and resources are available. If someone has been a victim, hearing in confidence what their options are before the legal chain of events begins to unfold gives them back some control over the situation, and then, depending on what they decide, they can make a much more informed decision on how to proceed.”

When U of T safety representatives respond to an incident, they move quickly to assess the immediate safety concern and its impact on a person, as well as the longer-term potential effects on that person. If there are safety concerns for the larger campus community, they can take the appropriate steps to alert and protect the community.

When a complaint comes in, “We discuss the person’s level of risk and explore their options for having the situation addressed, and help them develop a safety plan,” according to Rabbat. “Another option we have is directing them to further resources, both in the university and, if need be, in the community.”

Students attended a reception last week to celebrate the opening of the Community Safety Office. All staff and faculty members are invited to celebrate the opening of the Community Safety Office at a wine and cheese reception on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Ralph Campbell Lounge.

For more details about the Community Safety Office, visit www.communitysafety.utoronto.ca.

- by Swetha Chirravur and Mary Ann Gratton






 

 

 

 

 




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