Meet the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator

Headshot of Amanda Cook
The University of Waterloo recently welcomed Amanda Cook in the new position of Sexual Violence Response Coordinator.  Amanda is here to assist the University community with appropriate responses to sexual violence; including complainants, respondents, witnesses and front-line service providers. 
 
Yesterday as part of Walk the Talk, Amanda facilitated workshops about how students can meet with her and what resources she can provide. We took the opportunity to chat with her and learn more about her role:

What is your role at the University of Waterloo?

I am the Sexual Violence Response Coordinator here at U of Waterloo.  My role is to support students, staff and faculty oin the main campus, satellite campuses and University Colleges, who have experienced sexual violence.  This includes:

  • providing a safe space for folks to come and speak with me in as little or as much detail as they wish about their experience;
  • discussing resources,, both on- and off- campuss, that could provide further support; and
  • exploring potential next steps, for example (i.e. safety planning, discussing how to ensure they continue to feel successful in their studies, and formal complaint options). 
Coming to me does not initiate an investigation, however if someone wishes to pursue a formal complaint process I’m here to support them with that as well.  I’m also available to speak with those who have received disclosures and are needing to talk about that experience, as well as anyone on campus who has a question about sexual violence, consent, etc.  

Further, I’m also a support to those who have been accused of perpetrating sexual violence. My role is also to work with the Equity Office to identify potential prevention initiatives to implement on campus, as well as any education and training opportunities.

Why did you decide to take on this position?

I took on this position for a few reasons. Prior to this I worked for a children’s mental health agency, providing therapy to children and youth who had experienced sexual violence, as well as to youth who had sexually offended.  Within this role I had the opportunity to assist children and youth on their path toward healing, and provide education to them as well as their families around the impact of sexual violence, consent, healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, and so on. 
 
I was excited to be a part of continuing this kind of education, awareness and support on a University campus, particularly as I really enjoyed working with the youth who were about to embark on their post-secondary education journeys.  While I am not a therapist in my role on campus, my trauma informed lens and experiences really lend themselves to better supporting those who have survived sexual violence.  I also grew up in Waterloo Region, and am happy to be back in my hometown!

Are there any policies students should be aware of when meeting with you?

My role was created as a result of Policy 42, Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence.  If someone has experienced sexual harassment, I am here to provide support, guidance and to resources.  However, should they wish to file a formal complaint it would fall under Policy 33, Ethical Behaviour
 
You can choose to reach me at 519-888-4567, ext. 36896, email me at amanda.cook@uwaterloo.ca, or see me in person to discuss anything in particular! 

And finally, what are some campus resources related to your role that you would recommend to students?

Consider the Women’s Centre, Glow Centre for Sexual & Gender Diversity, Counselling Services, UW Mates, Health Services and UW Police.

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