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‘A natural progression’

Barbara Lotan joined Queen’s University in late May as the inaugural sexual violence prevention and response coordinator. Ms. Lotan’s office is the central point of contact for students, staff and faculty regarding sexual violence and will coordinate campus wide-education, response, support, training and prevention initiatives. The office is housed within Queen’s Human Rights and Equity Office.

In this interview, Ms. Lotan gives the Gazette some background on her past experience and the goals of her office moving forward.

GAZETTE: Could you tell me about your past experience and what attracted you to this role at Queen’s?

BARBARA LOTAN: After completing my studies in psychology and criminology, I began my career in policing. During my time as a police officer, I became very interested in the dynamics of gender-based violence, specifically sexual assault and domestic violence. I continued my career working in the health-care sector, with a focus on the areas of sexual and domestic violence. My move to Queen’s feels like a natural progression in the field with opportunities to work with the Queen’s team on strategies to reduce the incidence of these forms of violence, and to help ensure a comprehensive and supportive response to victims/survivors. 

GAZETTE: What is the primary role of the office? How do you plan to make members of the Queen's community aware of the new office?

BL: My primary roles in the office are to assist in the coordination and provision of education and awareness programming, supportive programming, the development of a communication strategy in order to share information about the services offered to members of the Queen’s community should they experience or be impacted by sexual violence of any kind. I intend to take advantage of existing communication networks, including both print and online. Additionally, my hope is to be able to speak directly both to students and to staff/faculty not only at the beginning of the fall semester but on multiple occasions over the academic year. I will also be the primary point of contact to provide referral and advisory services to students and all members of the Queen’s community.

The position will also be responsible for ensuring the university is in compliance with provincial legislation and regulations, including meeting all government reporting requirements.

GAZETTE: What is your top priority for the coming months?

BL: My top priority over the next few months is to get a firm understanding of what services are being offered on campus, how to access those services and to work in partnership with the service providers, students and other members of the QU community to identify challenges faced by victims/survivors as they assess their options and navigate through potentially complex systems. Embedded in this process is the ongoing review, assessment and potential revision of the university protocol for responding to disclosures of sexual violence and the Sexual Violence Policy. 

GAZETTE: What, in the long-term, do you hope your office will offer to the community?

BL: Other projects/tasks include developing and delivering training and education materials to increase awareness about issues related to sexual violence and implementing skill-building workshops to assist with prevention and intervention.   

GAZETTE: What services will you offer to students?

BL: The services I will provide to students will always be dependent on what that particular student expresses as needed or wanted.  I am able to provide crisis intervention, respond to disclosures, and provide information about possible next steps and resources available. If wanted, I will make referrals to other Queen's U or Kingston-based services and assist students in accessing those services.  For example, referrals may be made to a variety of services, including but not limited to: the Human Rights Office, the office of the Ombudsman, Student Wellness Services, Kingston Police Service, Campus Security and Emergency Services,  and Kingston General Hospital. 

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