Correctional Service Canada moves to create safer environments

The core mandate of our correctional system is to rehabilitate and safely reintegrate offenders into our communities. To achieve this objective, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to providing safe environments for those who work or live in its correctional institutions.

Following extensive consultation, CSC published two new policies this week: a standalone policy on Sexual Coercion and Violence (SCV) and one to support Gender Diverse Offenders.

CSC is taking a number of actions to prevent and address SCV in its correctional facilities as part of a comprehensive approach, including tools for staff and offenders and ways to address the reluctance of victims to come forward. The new policy provides clear direction to employees on their roles and responsibilities when responding to incidents of SCV.

Additional strategies and supports include:

  • Delivering mandatory training for front-line staff on SCV and harassment. This is in addition to existing training on their obligations in relation to inmate sexual assault.
  • Increasing prevention and awareness by developing material for offenders to better understand SCV, how to report it, and making them aware of resources that are available to them, especially if they are victimized.
  • Monitoring any confirmed or alleged cases of sexual coercion or violence. This data will help inform the development of evidence-based strategies to help prevent and detect SCV, including for those who may be more vulnerable.
  • Public Safety Canada is leading a study on the prevalence of SCV to better understand SCV and inform additional strategies to detect, prevent and respond to SCV in a corrective environment.

All allegations of sexual assault, violence or coercion must be reported and investigated. Managers have an obligation to contact the police immediately regarding any occurrences or claims of sexual assault. Offenders also have a number of avenues to report incidents as either victims or witnesses, including their case management team, health care professionals, and the offender complaint and grievance process. Inmates also have access to the Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) where they can confidentially place a call for assistance in these matters.

CSC has also published a new policy to support Gender Diverse Offenders and their ongoing safety, dignity, and human rights. This new policy defines the roles and responsibilities of employees and decision-makers regarding the custody, care and supervision of gender diverse offenders. CSC is also reviewing its mandatory annual training for staff who interact with offenders and is planning awareness sessions for offenders and staff that will be delivered in collaboration with a community agency with expertise in gender diversity. This policy benefited from extensive consultations with a wide array of stakeholders, experts, members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community and several organizations, including the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

CSC will continue to collaborate with its stakeholders and, other corrective organizations across Canada and around the world, to advance this important work.

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“Creating safe and inclusive environments in our correctional facilities is key to achieving our mandate. The promulgation of these two new policies and guidelines strengthen our commitment towards reinforcing a culture that promotes safety and takes action against violence or harassment of any kind. As part of our efforts to transform corrections, these measures will assist with effective rehabilitation and ultimately help keep Canadians safe.” — Commissioner Anne Kelly

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