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Under-reporting of sexual assault stats due to ‘staff misinterpretation’

UNB said that it was because of staff misinterpretation that there was a jump from one to 11 reported cases of sexual assault at UNB in their responses to requests by CBC.

In response to a media request by CBC, UNB said there was one report of sexual assault between 2009 and 2013. They then reported 11 after CBC submitted a right to information request (RTI).

“The difference with the numbers was due to a misinterpretation of a staff member looking at the record. And then the correct data was recovered during the formal process responding to the right to information request,” said Sonya Gilks, director of communications and marketing at UNB.

Gilks also said that discrepancies arose because of the differences in the two requests.

“It should be noted that the two requests, one a media request, the other a request through RTIPPA, while they were similar in nature, they were slightly different in scope which would have produced different results. In any case, I mean, two different questions, you get two different answers,” she said.

But Gilks was not able to say what these differences were.

In a response to an RTI submitted by the Brunswickan, six sexual assaults and one case of unwanted touching were reported on the UNB Fredericton campus between Jan. 1, 2012 and Jan. 31, 2015.

Although UNB currently does not have a sexual assault policy, one is in development. Rice Fuller, director of Counselling Services at UNB, said that the policy, although still in the works, will be implemented “sooner rather than later.”

“The policy is definitely moving forward, it’ll take some time but I’m very confident. I mean, there’s no way that we are to not have a sexual assault policy at this university,” Fuller said.

When complete, it will be a bi-campus policy, encompassing both UNB’s Fredericton and Saint John campuses.

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1 Comment

  1. AnonNum356 Reply

    Only eleven? I don’t believe that for a minute.
    Anecdotally, which is worth more in this case than the frantic mathematically unsound butt-covering going on in the media, sexual assault at UNB is at least as common as incidents of cancer in the general populace.
    Remember the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? Here at UNB we play a different one called “Two Degrees of Sexual Violence.” In this heart-wrenching little game, according to UNB’s own statistics from Counselling Services, we are only able to distance ourselves by two degrees from a victim of rape, assault, or other sexual trauma. 
    Think about that. 
    You know a friend who isn’t, but they know a friend who’s been a victim. You’re sitting in a row of students during a lecture, how many in that row are victims? During the first lectures of the Arts 1000 course the commonly used comment is “Look to your left, look to your right, both of those people will drop out by the end of the academic year.” Now look again. Either of those people, if not both, may drop out because they’ve suffered sexual violence on campus. It will also go unreported, or at least unnoticed.
    Why does this continue to be acceptable?

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