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N.B. students reported over 60 incidents of sexual assault last year

Students at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) reported over 60 incidents of sexual violence during between Sept. 1 2016 and Sept. 1, 2017. Francis Vachon/The Canadian Press

Correction: This story originally referred to the incidents as being reported by students only from UNB rather than across the province.  Global News regrets the error. 

Students in New Brunswick reported over 60 incidents of sexual violence last year — including multiple complaints of “non-consensual sexual penetration” and sexually aggressive or abusive behaviour, according to a report by an on-campus group that offers support to victims of sexual assault.

The report, prepared by the Campus Sexual Assault Support Advocates (CSASA), says the figures were a “significant” increase over the number of incidents reported in previous years.

“We know the numbers are drops in the bucket compared to the real number of incidents of sexual violence,” said Maggie Forsythe, one of the University of New Brunswick’s campus sexual assault advocate, citing a study that found one-in-five UNB students had experienced sexual assault on campus.

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According to the report, 18 per cent of the incidents were forwarded as formal complaints to the university’s disciplinary team.

However, the CSASA chose not to detail the outcome of those reported complaints.

“Due to small numbers, it would be unethical to release information on the outcomes of these files,” explains the report.

The review covers incidents reported between Sept. 1, 2016, and Sept. 1, 2017, at UNB Fredericton, UNB Saint John, Saint Thomas University and NBCC Fredericton.

WATCH: The University of New Brunswick is taking a bold step toward addressing sexual assault on campus

Click to play video: 'The University of New Brunswick is taking a bold step toward addressing sexual assault on campus.'
The University of New Brunswick is taking a bold step toward addressing sexual assault on campus.

In its report, CSASA relied on the Criminal Code’s definition of sexual assault and broke down the incidents into two categories: non-consensual sexual touching or non-consensual sexual penetration.

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The review found that 44 per cent of incidents were non-consensual sexual touching and 56 per cent involved non-consensual sexual penetration.

According to the report, 81 per cent of the reported incidents involved people who knew each other while 62 per cent occurred in someone’s home.

The cold hard figures are important data, especially for Forsythe.

“It’s important for folks to know we are gaining insight on what sexual violence looks like on campus,” she said. “We are here and we’re learning.”

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