Report finds half of Alberta university students experienced sexual-based violence

By Darcy Ropchan

A new Leger survey shows nearly half of post-secondary students at 26 Alberta post-secondary institutions have experienced sexual violence since starting their studies.

“I think the reason why that number is so high is that the education hasn’t reached that critical mass yet,” explained Chris Beasly, Chair of the council of Alberta University Students. “You’re getting so many students who are out of high school for the first time from other countries, other provinces. And there’s so many high risk activities that are part of the student experience.”

The survey found nearly 45 per cent of students experiencing sexual harassment at some point in their post-secondary careers. The same report found even less accessed campus services for those who need it.

The Council of Alberta University Students is calling on more support from the ministry of advanced education for awareness and prevention, including more funding.

“As well, we need the creation of a working group lead by the provincial government so that next time this comes around, the government is issuing recommendations to itself on what needs to happen, so we can get long term solutions to this problem,” said Beasly.

In response, the Minister of Advanced Education pointed to funding announced in 2022 — telling CityNews through a statement the “Alberta’s government announced $2.5 million in funding to support gender-based violence prevention on campus; including, but not limited to, training, awareness, and updating and implementing more supports for survivors on campus. A portion of this funding was also used to develop and conduct the student survey and create the report released today.”

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