Back to Top One in four sexual assaults takes place at a mass gathering - The Ottawa Hospital
 

One in four sexual assaults takes place at a mass gathering

Go with and stay with your friends.  Keep an eye on each other and everyone’s drinks.

June 27, 2014 – A recent study has concluded that of the 204 new cases of sexual assault reported to The Ottawa Hospital’s Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program in 2013, 25 per cent of these occurred at mass gatherings, where a group of people came together for a common purpose such as house or cottage parties, music festivals, or city-wide celebrations.

Previous research into the risk factors for sexual assault focused on college and university students, particularly those in sororities or fraternities. A major risk factor identified was drinking alcohol, which is common at mass gatherings. No studies had ever looked at the risk factors for the public as a whole. The Ottawa Hospital’s grant from the Women’s Xchange funded the hospital’s study.

The study revealed that the highest incidence of sexual assaults associated with mass gatherings was seen in January, July, September and October, coinciding with New Year’s Eve, Canada Day, University Frosh Week and Halloween celebrations. It also found that nine out of 10 sexually assaulted patients consumed alcohol at mass gatherings, compared with six out of 10 in other settings.

Other findings included:

  • Approximately 63 per cent of victims reported being unconscious during their assault in the mass-gathering group, compared with 39 per cent in the control group.
  • Approximately 57 per cent of victims suspected that they were drugged during their assault in the mass-gathering group, compared with 39 per cent in the control group.
  • The assailant was known to the victim in only 33 per cent of patients presenting after mass gatherings, compared with over 60 per cent in the control group.

“Our study confirmed that there is an increased risk of sexual assault associated with group events or mass gatherings,” said Dr. Kari Sampsel, medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program at The Ottawa Hospital. “When you attend these events, party smart – go with and stay with your friends, keep an eye on each other.  Drink safely, know your limits and watch your drinks like you watch your friends. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure a safe and fun event. ”

Media Contact:
Hazel Harding
Communications Advisor
Email: hharding@toh.on.ca
Tel.: 613-737-8460