One In Four Sexual Assaults Happen In A Crowd

In their study, a Canadian research team looked at sexual assault cases at mass gatherings in Ottawa. Victims tended to be younger, potentially drugged, and knew their attacker 30 percent of the time when the assault happened at a big event.

The research team was led by Kari Sampsel, clinical medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the University of Ottawa. She tells us more about their results.

ResearchGate: What data is your study based on?

Kari Sampsel: Our program is the only site in the city for people to get medical and forensic care after they’ve been assaulted. I read the chart of every single patient who presented themselves to our service in 2013, which totaled 204 cases. This time span enabled us to capture all the events, festivals, and annual gatherings that occurred at least once per year. Patient charts explicitly stating that the victim had been at a mass gathering or big event were put into one group, and those that didn’t were put into the control group. We might actually be underestimating the amount of mass gathering assaults because if it wasn’t in our clinical chart we didn’t include it.

RG: How commonly does it occur and at what type of events?

Sampsel: 25% of our cases – a full quarter of all the patients we saw in 2013 – came from mass gatherings. We saw four peak times of activity over the course of the year. They corresponded with New Year’s Eve, Canada Day, university and college frosh (or orientation) week, and Halloween. Those were the four biggest party times within the city where you also have a lot of bar and club events.

RG: What other patterns became clear in your results?

Sampsel: The patients in the mass gathering group were —> Read More