Jordan Roberts, the first Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Officer (SVPRO) at King’s, says, “There has been a lot in my life pushing me towards this work.”
Roberts has been in and around the King’s community since 2006. While getting her Gender and Women’s Studies degree at Dalhousie, King’s was where a lot of her social life took place. When she saw the job posting, it seemed like the next logical step for her career.
“King’s is really wonderful,” says Roberts, “it’s small enough for you to meet everybody.”
Before taking on the role of the SVPRO, Roberts was involved in a number of different nonprofit centers and organizations. She worked at Adsum for Women and Children, Out of the Cold Emergency Shelter, the Volunteer Doula Program, the Elizabeth Fry Society – Mainland Nova Scotia, and Supportive Housing for Young Mothers – YWCA Halifax.
Roberts also worked with Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG) when the Dalhousie Sexual Violence and Harassment phone line was created. The line offers anonymous, confidential, non-judgemental, active listening and support to anyone who has experienced or has been affected by sexualized violence.
With all of these experiences she seems like a great fit, both for what the King’s community needs as well as for the SVPRO. The SVPRO is mainly here to respond to sexualized violence acts, but the focus is on prevention.
“I love doing support work,” says Roberts, “and having this role being as focused on prevention as it is on response, is new and exciting for me.”
So what does the prevention aspect of the job entail?
The Sexualized Violence Policy was developed with King’s staff, students and faculty. The SVPRO is here to oversee the implementation of the policy, making sure that it is being advertised at King’s and that people understand it. To ensure that people understand what the policy describes, the SVPRO must work with the Dean of Students, Katie Merwin.
Since Roberts started on August 9, she has provided training workshops for King’s staff and faculty as well as for student employees. During the two weeks of training that residence Dons complete, Roberts provided a trauma informed active listening workshop, giving them the tools to better support students in their building.
Other methods of prevention include being part of awareness campaigns and making sure relevant conversations are happening on campus. Additionally, the SVPRO will be making sure people know how to react if they witness sexualized violence on campus and that they know how to support people if someone tells them they have been assaulted.
The first step in implementing the policy for Roberts is “about making sure we have the right people to call on.” Roberts is making sure she is finding people who have backgrounds in active listening, supporting people experiencing trauma in informed ways and working with diverse populations. These skills are necessary to make sure everybody in our community can be heard, supported and helped equally.
“My door is always open”. Roberts is here to support members of the community and give them the tools they need to find help. “If it is something that happened within that King’s sphere,” says Roberts, “I’m there to walk them through.”
Resources on Campus:
-Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response Officer (SVPRO): Office lower Link 077, cell phone (902) 229-6123 answers 9-5 Monday-Friday firstname.lastname@example.org
-Dalhousie sexual violence and harassment phone line: Call or text (902) 425-1066 between 12:00pm and 12:00am, 7 days a week.