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Human Rights & Conflict Resolution Office

Why people don't bring forward complaints

Why people don't bring forward complaints

People don't bring forward concerns about inappropriate conduct for many reasons. Often, they are afraid of the consequences or have had unsatisfactory experiences voicing their concerns in the past. The following are some examples of why people don't bring forward complaints about their experience of inappropriate behaviour:

  • Fear that nothing will be done
  • Fear that they or the complaint won't be taken seriously
  • Fear of reprisals from the perpetrator—especially if it is a supervisor or instructor
  • Fear that they will be told they "asked" for it
  • Fear of being blamed or ridiculed
  • Afraid they will be told to "lighten up"
  • Fear of getting a bad reputation
  • Fear of appearing incompetent, or unable to handle difficult situations
  • Fear of being labelled a “troublemaker"
  • Reluctance to get the perpetrator into trouble
  • Feeling alone or isolated, that no one else objects to the behaviour
  • Feeling embarrassed or humiliated by the behaviour

But I'm afraid

Individuals who file complaints need not be afraid to voice their concerns. The policy specifically protects an individual from being reprimanded for speaking out. In fact, if another individual or group of individuals retaliates against someone who brings forward a complaint of discrimination or harassment under the policy, there can be serious consequences for that individual or individuals:

Reprisal or threat of reprisal against any participant in a complaint of harassment under this policy is harassment.


UFV recognizes the difficulty of coming forward with a complaint of discrimination or harassment and the desire of all parties to the complaint to keep the matter confidential. The protection of privacy and the maintenance of people’s reputations necessitates that all parties to a complaint keep the matter strictly confidential.

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