A study suggests there is an increase in the number of sexual assaults being reported to Edmonton police.
MacEwan University’s Dr. Sandy Jung presented the research she conducted on reported sexual assaults against Edmontonians 16 years and older during Thursday’s Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Commission meeting.
Jung worked closely with Edmonton police on the study, which compiled data from 2010 to 2014.
The research found the alleged offenders were identified in 34 percent of the 2,569 cases studied, and charges were cleared 28 per cent of the time.
Jung also suggested investigations have been hampered by a lack of witnesses, digital evidence and biological evidence.
The research also showed males who had a criminal history were accused of committing sexual assaults in the majority of the reported cases and two-thirds of the sexual assaults were allegedly committed by someone known to the victim, with 20 per cent occurring between people who were dating or living together either in the past or at the time of the attack.
As part of the rehabilitation process for offenders, Jung said the perpetrators often voluntarily give their consent for police to release information about them to the public when they’re released.
“For anyone to actually be released and publicly share that information, and it’s very limited information that’s shared, it has to be approved by the offender as well,” she said. “It’s not something that goes against their rights, necessarily, they know that they need some monitoring, and they need to be reintegrated back into the community again.”
She also said risk assessment is an important part of the process.
“If we know that they’re at a higher percentage (to re-offend) than the average offender, then we know that we want to make sure we protect the community more, and we want to put measures in place where they’re monitored closely.”
The study had three general objectives:
- Identify what sexual assault cases in Edmonton look like, including the profile of offenders and victims, and compare them to cases around the country;
- Address issues related to the reporting of sexual assault crimes and investigate how perpetrators find new methods to commit the crime and destroy evidence, and examine commonalities to prevent future assaults;
- Examine the factors that are associated with future sexual assaults in likelihood, severity and frequency;
Jung’s research has been published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.