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Responding to a disclosure

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As a campus community, we all work together to oppose workplace violence, including sexual violence and harassment. If we witness any forms of violence on our campus, we need to take action to address it.

To respond to workplace sexual violence in a consistent manner, we must all prioritize each other’s safety and be ready to receive disclosures with compassion and understanding. This requires every staff and faculty member knowing how to receive a disclosure.

A disclosure is sharing of information by an individual with a member of the university community regarding sexual violence experienced by the individual.

If you are an employee at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and you receive a disclosure about an incident of workplace sexual violence involving another staff or faculty member at the university, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Receive the disclosure

As a responder to sexual violence, you play an important role in ensuring a positive recovery for those involved. Responding to sexual violence disclosures from faculty and staff involve sensitivity, compassion and understanding.

Keeping the disclosure confidential is a top priority, and discussing the disclosure should be limited to those who need to know so they can help.

In some cases, action may need to be taken without the individual’s consent and you may need to breach confidentiality, as required to by law. These circumstances include incidents in which:

  • There is an immediate threat of physical harm to the discloser or someone else in the university community.
  • A faculty or staff member has been subjected to domestic violence.
  • The discloser has been subjected to sexual violence by someone employed by the university (e.g. faculty or staff).
  • There is suspected abuse of someone under 16 years of age.
  • Workplace violence or workplace harassment has occurred under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Receiving a disclosure involves a caring and compassionate response. Be open and supportive. Here are some key steps to remember:

  • Assess the incident for safety or an immediate risk to you or the discloser. If a threat exists, contact the Office of Campus Safety.
  • Ensure privacy for the discloser.
  • Explain the limits of your confidentiality.
  • Tell them they are not alone.
  • Avoid asking unnecessary follow-up questions or expressing judgment.
  • Tell them about the university’s policies for faculty and staff.
  • Explain that there are supports available to help them.

Step 2 – Connect the colleague with support

After receiving a disclosure, help connect the faculty or staff member to the various forms of support available. Before you refer anyone to support resources, get consent.

Full-time continuing faculty and staff members can connect with a support person through our Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP - see contact information below). All employees can access resources through community organizations identified in the Resources section of this training.

You do not need to worry that receiving a disclosure leads to extra obligations. Receiving a disclosure does not oblige you to become involved in counselling or other activities outside the scope of your work or expertise.

Contact the EFAP at 1.844.880.9142, or visit

Step 3 - Document the incident

Inform the staff or faculty member about the policy. Remind them that they can submit a formal report to Human Resources, in accordance with the policy, if they want the university to take further action against another member of the university community.

In these cases, encourage the discloser to contact the Assistant Vice-President of Human Resources, in accordance with the university policy, if the incident involves a faculty or staff member. If the incident involves Human Resources, the discloser can contact General Counsel.