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International students who are women more likely to be sexually assaulted than locals

(Source: iStock)
Summary

Women who come to study in Canada from abroad are more likely than locals to be sexually assaulted

The trend has been seen in the U.S., Australia and Quebec

A group that helps immigrants says education on sexual assault should be given during student orientation

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Women from other countries studying in Canada are more at risk of being sexually assaulted, and less likely to get help, according to research out of Quebec.

Olga Stachova with Mosaic — a Vancouver charity that helps immigrants and newcomers to Canada — says isolation, new cultures and lack of social supports and knowledge of the law are part of why the women are more vulnerable.

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She says they already have data on how this problem is affecting students in the U.S., Australia and in Quebec, and they don’t want to wait until it becomes a more pronounced issue in B.C. before it is addressed.

She says schools and teachers need to take a more proactive approach in letting students know help is out there, potentially by informing students about it during student orientation.

“It would really help when international students come, as part of their orientation, if they get some resources on what to do in case the encounter acts of sexual violence,” she says.

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Students who do encounter violence often reach out to people the interact with at school for help.

“It’s very likely that they either turn to their friend or to staff or teachers at an educational institution,” she says. “We want to make sure that staff have the resources to support students through this experience.”

B.C. sees around one hundred thousand international students of all ages each year, she says.