Using plain language is key to ensuring your written documents are easy to access, easy to understand, and easy to act on. Plain language is especially important for documents that are intended to empower the reader who may be under stress – which is the case for sexualized violence policies and procedures for post-secondary institutions. Clear policies inform readers what the institution stands for; clear procedures inform them how to get help and more information.
The purpose of this resource is to provide you with guidance on preparing and revising your own documents through the lens of plain language. By working through one example in detail, it shows you how to keep the focus on the reader, organize the information in order of importance, and use words that most readers will understand.
Of course, using plain language is just part of the process. Developing policies and procedures for large organizations – like post-secondary institutions – necessarily involves many stakeholders. For that reason, it’s important to include others in any plain language review to ensure that your document balances plain language goals with legal and governance requirements.