Characteristics Associated with Sexual Assaults at Mass Gatherings
assault is disturbingly common, yet little is known about those occurring at
mass gatherings, defined as a group of people congregated for a common purpose.
Our objectives were to examine patterns of variation in sexual assault
associated with mass gatherings and to determine factors associated with
assaults occurring at mass gatherings.
performed a case series analysis from January to December, 2013. We included
all patients >16 years presenting within 30 days of their sexual assault to
the Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP).
Cases were stratified by whether or not they occurred at mass gatherings. We
abstracted from the SAPACP records: patient and sexual assault characteristics,
alcohol or drug consumption and medical and forensic care accepted. We
performed descriptive analyses and multiple logistical regression to identify
factors associated with mass gathering assaults.
204 cases of sexual assault, of which 53 (26%) occurred at mass gatherings.
Relative frequencies of mass gathering sexual assaults peaked during New Year's
Eve, Canada Day, university frosh week and Halloween. We found the following
factors were statistically significantly associated with sexual assault at mass
gatherings: younger age (OR=0.95, 95% CI 0.91 to 0.99); voluntary consumption
of drugs and alcohol (3.88, 95% CI 1.34 to 11.23); assault occurring on a
holiday (2.37, 95% CI 1.00 to 5.64) and the assailant unknown to the victim
(2.43, 95% CI 1.15 to 5).
study is the first to describe patterns of variation in sexual assault
incidents associated with occurrence of mass gatherings as well as factors
associated with such assaults. We will disseminate these results to key
stakeholders in order to develop prevention-minded policies for future mass
Below: Number of sexual assaults presenting to the Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) by month in 2013 (n=204; 28% of sexual assaults associated with a mass gathering occurred on a public holiday compared with 19% in the control group).
- 1Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
- 2University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
- 3Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
- 4Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
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