CBC study finds low number of sexual assaults reported on PSE campuses

February 10, 2015

A CBC investigation into sexual assault reporting at Canadian colleges and universities has found that the number of cases reported to institutions is “surprisingly low.” CBC requested data from 87 institutions; 77 provided complete data sets broken down by calendar year. According to the data, there were a total of 700 cases of sexual assault that were reported to schools between 2009 and 2013, with significant variation between schools. “I find [the numbers] laughingly low … It’s just not that possible that they’re that low,” said Lee Lakeman, with the Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter. Some have pointed out that it is difficult to draw conclusions based on the data, given inconsistencies in how institutions collect and report sexual assault data.  Others have identified flaws in CBC’s methodology, and pointed out that an institution having a higher number of reported sexual assaults does not mean that they have a higher incident rate; rather, it may simply suggest that the institution is doing a better job of encouraging students to come forward, or that it has a better tracking system. A recent Academica StudentVu quick poll found that many students said they were uncertain whether or not their institutions were doing enough to support victims of sexual assault, perhaps indicating that some institutions have not communicated their approaches effectively. CBC (1) | CBC (2)