York University announces new Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support and Education, and names Executive Director



TORONTO, April 28, 2017 – Last year, the Ontario government’s Bill 132 guided York University’s efforts to improve sexual violence education, awareness, reporting, and supports.  Today’s announcement marks an important step forward as York fulfills commitments outlined in the University’s Sexual Violence Policy released in December 2016 by establishing a stand-alone office and appointing a new Executive Director.

York University is pleased to announce that Debbie L. Hansen has been named to the new position of Executive Director, Community Support & Services at York University, responsible for the new Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education.

“We have a responsibility to foster a culture where attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate sexual violence are rejected, survivors are supported, and those who are found to have committed sexual violence are held accountable,” said Vice-President Academic and Provost, Rhonda Lenton, “I am pleased Debbie will lead us into this next phase of Sexual Violence Policy implementation. Debbie shares a commitment to excellence and I know she will ensure a seamless transition to improved student and community supports.”

Formerly the Director of Student Services at York University, Hansen has been an advocate for enhanced sexual violence supports and services for survivors. Hansen brings extensive experience in violence threat risk assessment, sexual violence prevention, and sexual violence response.

“This new appointment is a great honour and opportunity. I am deeply committed to supporting our community members in this new way – as I have in various ways for more than 30 years,” said Debbie Hansen. “The new dedicated Centre signifies a tangible improvement to how York University supports community members dealing with sexual violence and the aftermath. This is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to sharing more details about the new Centre over the coming weeks and months.”

As Executive Director, Ms. Hansen will be responsible for the Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education and the Office of Student Community Relations. Further plans regarding the Centre will be forthcoming. This step underscores York University’s commitment to create an environment where all people feel welcome, valued and safe and to provide the services, programs and resources that will ensure our entire community is supported and empowered.


York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni. York U's fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media contact:

Barbara Joy, Media relations, barbjoy@yorku.ca, 416-736-5593