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Kari Sampsel - The Ottawa Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine & University of Ottawa. Ottawa, ON, CA

Kari Sampsel Kari Sampsel

Medical Director, Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program, Attending Staff Emergency Physician | The Ottawa Hospital, Department of Emergency Medicine & University of Ottawa

Ottawa, ON, CANADA

Emergency Medicine, Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Clinician, Educator and Advocate

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Biography

Dr. Kari Sampsel is a staff Emergency Physician and the Medical Director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program at the Ottawa Hospital and an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa.
She completed medical school and her Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada specialty training in Emergency Medicine at Queen’s University. She undertook fellowship training in Clinical Forensic Medicine at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Melbourne, Australia, and is currently the only Canadian physician to hold this designation. She has been active in the fields of forensic medicine and medical education, with multiple international conference presentations, publications and committee work. Dr. Sampsel has been instrumental in working with community groups and launching a number of community initiatives, including bystander intervention training for preventing sexual assault. She has been honoured with a number of national awards in recognition of her commitment to education and awareness.

Industry Expertise (7)

Education/Learning Health and Wellness Health Care - Providers Health Care - Services Medical/Dental Practice Safety Women

Areas of Expertise (11)

Emergency Medicine Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Intimate Partner Violence Sexual Assault Awareness Women's Health and Wellness Injury Mechanisms Injury Prevention Advocacy for Maginalized Populations Sexual Assault and Violence Medical Education

Accomplishments (2)

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Dr. Al Drummond Advocacy Award (professional)

2016-06-06

The Dr. Alan Drummond Advocacy Award will be presented to a CAEP member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership, commitment and dedication to the cause of advancing the discipline at the regional, national or international level through advocacy efforts.

University of Ottawa Department of Emergency Medicine Mentorship Award (professional)

2016-06-16

The University of Ottawa Department of Emergency Medicine Mentorship Award is given annually to the staff physician who shows leadership and compassion to the resident physicians. This was the inaugural year for this award.

Education (5)

Queen's University: FRCPC, Emergency Medicine 2008

Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine: Diploma in Clinical Forensic Medicine, Clinical Forensic Medicine 2007

Only Canadian physician to hold this designation.

Queen's University: MD, Medicine 2003

University of Calgary: MSc, Cancer Biology 2002

University of Calgary: BSc Honours, Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology 1997

Affiliations (7)

  • Assistant Program Director - Royal College Emergency Medicine Program - University of Ottawa 2010 - 2016
  • Unintentional Overdose/Harm Reduction Task Force - City of Ottawa
  • College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - Peer Assesor
  • Vice-Chair - Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Trauma and Injury Prevention Committee
  • Department of Emergency Medicine Emergency Physician Association Executive Committee Member
  • University of Ottawa Department of Emergency Medicine Clinical Competency Committee Member
  • Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Women In EM Committee

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (33)

One in Four Sexual Assaults Happen in a Crowd

Huffington Post  online

2016-01-19

In their study, a Canadian research team looked at sexual assault cases at mass gatherings in Ottawa. Victims tended to be younger, potentially drugged, and knew their attacker 30 percent of the time when the assault happened at a big event.

The research team was led by Kari Sampsel, clinical medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the University of Ottawa. She tells us more about their results.

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Distinctive risk factors tied to sexual assaults at large events

Reuters  online

2015-09-03

Women who are sexually assaulted at large events like festivals and holiday gatherings are often young, intoxicated and unfamiliar with their attacker, according to a small Canadian study.

More than a quarter of sexual assaults happen at mass events like festivals, student orientations and holiday celebrations, the study authors say, and prevention efforts should focus on the distinctive risk factors in these cases.

Kari Sampsel, medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) at Ottawa Hospital, told Reuters Health that she and her colleagues were inspired to do the study after they noticed more women were coming in for care around holidays and other times of celebration.

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Distinctive risk factors tied to sexual assaults at large events

Fox News  online

2015-09-03

Women who are sexually assaulted at large events like festivals and holiday gatherings are often young, intoxicated and unfamiliar with their attacker, according to a small Canadian study.

More than a quarter of sexual assaults happen at mass events like festivals, student orientations and holiday celebrations, the study authors say, and prevention efforts should focus on the distinctive risk factors in these cases.

Kari Sampsel, medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) at Ottawa Hospital, told Reuters Health that she and her colleagues were inspired to do the study after they noticed more women were coming in for care around holidays and other times of celebration.

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One in four sexual assaults happen in a crowd

ResearchGate  online

2016-01-12

What happened at this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne, Germany is not an exception a Canadian study shows.

In their study, the research team looked at sexual assault cases at mass gatherings in Ottawa. Victims tended to be younger, potentially drugged, and knew their attacker 30 percent of the time when the assault happened at a big event.

The research team was led by Kari Sampsel, clinical medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the University of Ottawa. She tells us more about their results.

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Distinctive Risk Factors Tied To Sexual Assaults At Large Events

Healthy Living  online

2016-01-15

Women who are sexually assaulted at large events like festivals and holiday gatherings are often young, intoxicated and unfamiliar with their attacker, according to a small Canadian study.

More than a quarter of sexual assaults happen at mass events like festivals, student orientations and holiday celebrations, the study authors say, and prevention efforts should focus on the distinctive risk factors in these cases.

Kari Sampsel, medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) at Ottawa Hospital, told Reuters Health that she and her colleagues were inspired to do the study after they noticed more women were coming in for care around holidays and other times of celebration.

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Kekerasan Seksual Wanita Kerap Terjadi pada Acara Festival

CNN Indonesia  online

2015-09-04

Perempuan yang mendapatkan serangan kekerasan seksual di acara-acara besar, misalnya festival dan acara-acara liburan, biasanya berusia dewasa muda, dalam keadaan mabuk, dan tidak mengenal penyerang mereka.

Berdasarkan sebuah penelitian di Kanada, lebih dari seperempat kasus kekerasan seksual terjadi di acara-acara massal, contohnya festival, orientasi mahasiswa, dan perayaan liburan. Upaya pencegahannya adalah fokus pada faktor-faktor risiko tertentu dalam kasus ini.

Kari Sampsel, direktur medis dari lembaga Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) di Rumah Sakit Ottawa mengatakan, dia dan rekannya terinspirasi melakukan penelitian ini setelah melihat banyak perempuan yang mendapatkan perawatan medis setelah liburan dan waktu perayaan lain.

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One in Four Sexual Assaults Happen in a Crowd

USA News  online

2016-01-12

In their study , a Canadian research team looked at sexual assault cases at mass gatherings in Ottawa. Victims tended to be younger, potentially drugged, and knew their attacker 30 percent of the time when the assault happened at a big event. The research team was led by Kari Sampsel , clinical medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the University of Ottawa. She tells us more about their results. ResearchGate: What data is your study based on? Kari Sampsel: Our program is the only site in the city for people to get medical and forensic care after they’ve been assaulted. I read the chart of every single patient who presented themselves to our service in 2013, which totaled 204 cases. This time span enabled us to capture all the events, festivals, and annual gatherings that occurred at least once per year. Patient charts explicitly stating that the victim had been at a mass gathering or big event were put into one group, and those that didn’t were put into the control group. We might actually be underestimating the amount of mass gathering assaults because if it wasn’t in our clinical chart we didn’t include it. RG: How commonly does it occur and at what type of events? Sampsel: 25% of our cases – a full quarter of all the patients we saw in 2013 - came from mass gatherings. We saw four peak times of activity over the course of the year. They corresponded with New Year’s Eve, Canada Day, university and college frosh (or orientation) week, and Halloween.

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One in Four Sexual Assaults Happen in a Crowd

Lockerdome  online

2016-01-12

In their study, a Canadian research team looked at sexual assault cases at mass gatherings in Ottawa. Victims tended to be younger, potentially drugged, and knew their attacker 30 percent of the time when the assault happened at a big event. The research team was led by Kari Sampsel , clinical medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the University of Ottawa.

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Sexual Assault: the Crowd Factor

News Russia  online

2014-06-26

In stark contrast to established statistics that show the majority of sexual assaults occur in the victims home by a known perpetrator who did not employ drugs, new research from the University of Ottawa shows that, in mass gatherings such as Canada Day celebrations or university frosh weeks, sexual assault is more likely to be committed by a stranger and with the use of some kind of drug.

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One in Four Sexual Assaults Happen in a Crowd

Wopular  online

2016-01-19

In their study, a Canadian research team looked at sexual assault cases at mass gatherings in Ottawa. Victims tended to be younger, potentially drugged, and knew their attacker 30 percent of the time when the assault happened

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One in Four Sexual Assaults Happen in a Crowd

travelagents.com  online

2016-01-20

In their study, a Canadian research team looked at sexual assault cases at mass gatherings in Ottawa. Victims tended to be younger, potentially drugged, and knew their attacker 30 percent of the time when the assault happened at a big event. The research team was led by Kari Sampsel, clinical medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the University of Ottawa.

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Sexual Assault: the Crowd Factor

The Globe and Mail  online

2014-06-26

In stark contrast to established statistics that show the majority of sexual assaults occur in the victim’s home by a known perpetrator who did not employ drugs, new research from the University of Ottawa shows that, in mass gatherings such as Canada Day celebrations or university frosh weeks, sexual assault is more likely to be committed by a stranger and with the use of some kind of drug.

The research is the first to look at the link between sexual assault and crowd events. It’s too early in the research to say if the overall risk of sexual assault increases in these settings, says Dr. Kari Sampsel, study leader and director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program at The Ottawa Hospital.

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Ending Sexual Violence on Campus

University Affairs  online

2014-10-20

The 2013 academic year got off to a troublesome start. It was early September and frosh week had just begun at campuses across the country. At Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, student leaders led several hundred first-year students in an acrostic chant that went like this: “Y is for your sister, O is for oh so tight; U is for underage, N is for no consent, G is for grab that ass.” Days later came reports of a similar cheer, this time at the University of British Columbia, a school that was in the midst of coping with a series of frightening sexual assaults.

Then, in early 2014, allegations surfaced that several members of the University of Ottawa’s men’s hockey team had sexually assaulted a woman while away at a tournament at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. The incident came to light only when a third party contacted the University of Ottawa, something the coach and the players had neglected to do. Meanwhile in the United States, the federal Department of Education continued its investigation into a growing list of institutions for failing to respond to students’ allegations of sexual assault.

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'National conversation' emerging on sexual violence

The Ottawa Citizen  print

2014-11-06

Dr. Kari Sampsel, medical director of the sexual assault program at The Ottawa Hospital, said the conversation is starting to make people feel comfortable talking about sexual violence and also helping people better understand why survivors frequently don’t come forward to report assaults.

Sampsel says there is still work to be done to prevent and raise awareness about sexual violence. Reports of sexual assaults at the Spookland Halloween party last weekend, she said, were in keeping with research that shows large gatherings where people are drinking are “hot spots” for sexual violence. Sampsel’s program and others have been training volunteers at festivals and parties to know what to look for and to intervene to stop sexual violence.

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Characteristics Associated with Sexual Assaults at Mass Gatherings

HIV Insight  online

2015-09-13

Sexual 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.

We 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.

We found 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).

This 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 gatherings.

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New project to examine risk of mass gatherings and sex assault in women

Women's College Hospital  online

2014-06-12

Nearly one quarter of women are likely to be victims of sexual assault in
their lifetime. Now, a new project funded by Women’s College Research Institute will examine the risk of
sex assault for women who attend mass gatherings like concerts or sporting events. The project, led by
researchers at the Ottawa Hospital, is one of 26 innovative research initiatives awarded $15,000 or more
through Women College Research Institute’s $15K Challenge.

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Festival season is also sex assault season

The Ottawa Citizen  print

2014-06-27

Canada Day, in particular, was a “hot spot” for sexual assault in Ottawa.


The Ottawa Hospital released eye-opening findings today about the high percentage of sexual assaults that occurred in Ottawa last year during mass gatherings such as festivals and holidays.

In a majority of cases studied, the assaults involved victims who were unconscious or had their drinks spiked. Ninety per cent of victims had consumed alcohol.

You don’t have to be afraid, but be aware this stuff is going on.
—Dr. Kari Sampsel

Dr. Kari Sampsel, who is medical director of the sexual assault program at The Ottawa Hospital, and her colleagues conducted the study after detecting a trend toward increased sexual assault at mass public celebrations such as Canada Day.

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Fewer sex assaults around Canada Day, but the mass gathering problems remain: researchers

The Ottawa Citizen  print

2015-07-08

There were fewer sexual assaults around Canada Day this year than at the same time last year, say researchers from the Ottawa Hospital.

But whether that simply reflects the rainy weather or is the result of a public education and training campaign is difficult to say, according to Dr. Kari Sampsel, medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program at The Ottawa Hospital.

Either way, seeing fewer sex assaults reported around Canada Day “is great,” said Sampsel. “I am just happy that people are safer.”

Sampsel and colleagues released eye-opening research last year that found one-quarter of all reported sexual assaults in Ottawa in 2013 occurred at a mass gathering such as Canada Day, festivals and frosh week events. Sampsel described Canada Day and music festivals as sex assault “hot spots”.

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Canada Day 'hot spot' for sex assaults in Ottawa: study

The Ottawa Citizen  print

2014-06-27

Festival season is also sexual assault season in Ottawa, researchers from The Ottawa Hospital warn.

With Canada Day and Bluesfest just around the corner, the hospital released eye-opening findings Friday about the high percentage of sexual assaults that occurred in Ottawa last year during mass gatherings such as festivals and holidays. Canada Day, in particular, was a “hot spot” for sexual assault in Ottawa.

In a majority of cases, the assaults involved victims who were unconscious or had their drinks spiked, according to the researchers. Ninety per cent of victims had consumed alcohol.

Dr. Kari Sampsel, who is medical director of the sexual assault program at The Ottawa Hospital, said she and colleagues conducted the study — the first of its kind, she believes — after detecting a trend toward increased sexual assault at mass public celebrations such as Canada Day. She called the findings “a little shocking.”

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Mass gatherings' cloud people's judgments

The Ottawa Sun  print

2015-03-21

When parties get out of control, it too often leads to sexual assaults committed by people who know better, but who exercise bad judgment, say Ottawa experts who treat victims.

"A lot of people are not sure where their limits are. You run into a lot of trouble that way," says Dr. Kari Sampsel, medical director at the Ottawa Hospital's sexual assault and partner abuse care program.

Of the 204 new cases reported in 2013, one-quarter of them occurred at what experts in the field call "mass gatherings."

They're different from most sexual assaults, which occur 60 to 80% of the time in dating, work or other relationships where the victim and assailant know each other, Sampsel said.

Her research indicates some key differences between sexual assaults at mass gatherings and the more common acquaintance assaults.

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More assaults likely on Canada Day

The Ottawa Sun  print

2014-06-30

On Canada Day, you're more likely to be sexually assaulted, according to a new study from the Ottawa Hospital.

Alongside the massive celebration of the nation's capital comes large crowds and alcohol.

And that, researchers say, stacks the odds of getting attacked against you.

One in four sex assaults takes place at a mass gathering, where groups of people come together for things like house or cottage parties, music festivals or city-wide celebrations, according to a recent study by the Ottawa Hospital, which analyzed patient cases.

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Ottawa Hospital sees spike in reported sex assaults

The Ottawa Sun  print

2015-10-29

It's the one night of year where trick or treaters can dress up and let loose. But the fun night out can quickly turn sinister for unsuspecting victims.

This Halloween the Ottawa Hospital will be on high alert as they're anticipating a major spike in sexual assault victims.

The prediction comes on the heels of new statistics released by the hospital showing a recent two-fold increase in the number of sexual assaults.

In fact, there's been a 77% increase in the number of sexual assaults reported between August and October of this year compared to the same time last year.

"We did see a huge increase in our numbers of sexual assaults reported to us that were mostly around frosh week activities," said said Dr. Kari Sampsel, medical director of the sexual assault and partner abuse care program at the hospital.

"It's really hard to know what the exact numbers of people who are sexually assaulted are because there are estimates that only between 10% and 30% of sexual assaults are actually reported to someone. That being said, we've identified a number of hot spots where we tend to get more assaults so we try to prepare for those as best as we can."

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Changing the culture of locker room banter

The Ottawa Sun  print

2015-03-21

In Ottawa, in 2013, one-quarter of sexual assaults reported to the Ottawa Hospital's sexual assault and partner abuse care program occurred at a "mass gathering," said Dr. Kari Sampsel, the program's medical director.

Mass gathering sex assaults are different from a "standard assault" because the victims overwhelmingly consumed alcohol or drugs, lost consciousness and don't know who their assailant is.

"In a mass gathering type of setting, there's a lot more unknown, basically," Sampsel said.

At "mass gatherings," young men, who have grown up understanding that a partner's consent is required for sex, exercise bad judgment.

"I think a lot of times, what you know intellectually and what you do are two different things," Sampsel said.

"Things go too far because someone fails to apply that definition "when they're actually in the moment."

It's why awareness campaigns are important to change the way men think.

Ottawa Senators defenceman Marc Methot teamed up with the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women to encourage men -- especially hockey players and fans -- to respect women.

The 29-year-old hometown hockey star filmed a video for the coalition's "I Can MANifest Change" program.

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High profile sex assault cases helps empower victims to report it

The Ottawa Sun  print

2015-07-12

For Dr. Kari Sampsel, medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program at the Ottawa Hospital, the simple fact that more women are reaching out for help is a positive sign.

"Even if people don't go to the police, anybody who comes to get help and anyone who comes to get care is in a better place than staying at home and trying to deal with this themselves," said Sampsel.

"With the conviction and all that stuff ... the criminal justice system is usually the slowest thing to change."

The hospital has seen an increase in the number of women getting treatments after experiencing sexual violence, said Sampsel. She attributes this to the changes in society's attitude toward women and sex.

"Women in particular are made to feel ashamed about sex," said Sampsel.

"It's relatively recent that it's OK for women to talk about sex in any format."

But just talking about the issue is not enough.

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Police speak up about preventing sexual assaults

Orleans Star  print

2015-03-17

A fall 2014 study, conducted by The Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP), found that 204 new cases of sexual assault reported to SAPACP in 2013, 25 per cent of these occurred at festivals, parties, and other group events; also referred to as mass gatherings.

"The study revealed that the highest incidence of sexual assaults associated with group events where alcohol and drug consumption is common coincided with New Year's Eve, Canada Day, University Frosh Week and Halloween celebrations," said Dr. Kari Sampsel, Medical Director of the Ottawa Hopsital SAPACP.

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Warning about Sexual Assault in Groups

Champlain Park Community  print

2015-03-10

The Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW), Crime Prevention Ottawa (CPO), and the Ottawa Police Service want to inform the public about opportunities to help prevent sexual assaults this coming St. Patrick’s Day.

A fall 2014 study conducted by The Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP), found that of 204 new cases of sexual assault reported to The Ottawa Hospital’s SAPACP in 2013, 25% of these occurred at festivals, parties and other group events, known as mass gatherings.

“The study revealed that the highest incidence of sexual assaults associated with group events where alcohol and drug consumption is common coincided with New Year’s Eve, Canada Day, University Frosh Week and Halloween celebrations,” stated Dr. Kari Sampsel, Medical Director of The Ottawa Hospital SAPACP. “It also found that 90% of victims consumed alcohol at mass gatherings – compared to 60% in other settings.”

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Research study informs new program to prevent sexual assault at large gatherings

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute  online

2015-09-19

For Dr. Kari Sampsel, treating sexual assault victims in The Ottawa Hospital’s emergency department was not enough. She also wanted to help prevent sexual assault, and to do that, she needed to understand the risk factors. So Dr. Sampsel and her colleagues collected data on more than 200 sexual assault victims treated at The Ottawa Hospital and found that more than a quarter of the assaults happened at large gatherings like festivals and holiday parties. The results, published in Emergency Medicine Journal, also show that the women assaulted at these large gatherings were often young, intoxicated and unfamiliar with their attacker. Dr. Sampsel used the study results and other information to help develop Project Soundcheck, a program that seeks to empower staff and volunteers at festivals to create a safer space for women.

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Program to prevent sexual assaults at festivals

CTV News  tv

2015-07-16

It’s festival season in Ottawa and that means those who work with victims of sexual assault, are seeing more attacks than usual.
New research in Ottawa shows that mass gatherings are a prime opportunity for predators.
To deal with the high rate of sexual assaults at festivals, a new program is training volunteers, like those at Bluesfest, to spot people in trouble, and to intervene.
PHOTOS
Bluesfest
Research at the Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program, shows that of the 204 sexual assaults reported to their program in 2013, 25% happened at mass gatherings, like festivals.
Dr. Kari Sampsel sees many victims of sexual assault, as Medical Director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program, at the Civic Campus, of the Ottawa Hospital.
“We do see more patients around New Year’s, Canada Day, music festivals, around university frosh, and Halloween, those are our peak times of the year,” says Dr. Sampsel.
Dr. Sampsel’s recently completed research into the 204 sexual assaults reported to her program in 2013. It showed that 25% of those assaults happened at mass gatherings.
Her research has led to the creation of a program, called Project SoundCheck, to train festival volunteers in prevention.

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Visits to Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault Program rise dramatically

CTV News  tv

2015-10-29

The Ottawa Hospital is seeing a dramatic increase in the number of sexual assaults since last year, more than double. Many of them are happening in large gatherings like the parties planned for this Saturday night, Hallowe’en. The hospital says frosh week was bad this year with more than twice as many sexual assaults reported as the previous year. Now the hospital's emergency department and sexual assault clinic are bracing for a spike in the numbers again with Hallowe'en falling on a Saturday.
It is scenes like the one at last year's Spookland party at Mont Cascades that have many emergency personnel worried about this Halloween. Several teenagers were so drunk they were unconscious and there were reports of more than one sexual assault. While Spookland isn't happening at Mont Cascades anymore all sorts of other parties are planned in bars and convention centres around this region. Too often, that combination of a large party with drugs and alcohol means an increase in the number of sexual assaults. The Ottawa Hospital recently published a study in EMJ on-line that looked at the number of sexual assaults at large gatherings. It found that 26% or roughly 1 in 4 sex assaults reported happened at large group events, peaking on New Year’s Eve, Canada Day, frosh week and Hallowe’en.
Dr. Kari Sampsel helped write that article. Sampsel is the medical director of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Program at the Ottawa Hospital.

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Sexual Assaults during Festival Season

CTV Morning Live  tv

2015-07-23

Discussion of sexual assaults that occur at mass gatherings such as music festivals.

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Changes at Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault Care Program

CTV News  tv

2013-09-05

Dr. Kari Sampsel is the medical director in charge of the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program. "The biggest change patients could notice is rapid access,” says Dr. Sampsel. “In the ER department, we're here 24/7 and our nurses are here and ready to care for them when they come to our doorstep.”
The hospital sees about 300 victims of sexual or partner abuse every year. Each initial visit involves about a three hour assessment and consultation. There are thirty-four hospital-based sexual assault programs in Ontario, funded by the government to provide specialized medical and emotional care. The Ottawa Hospital is the first to change how it’s going to run the program.”
“We are very disappointed,” says Muonde.
The Sexual Assault Support Centre worries the changes will impact whether women will even come forward for help. The hospital disputes that.
“I feel this is providing better and holistic care for patients,” says Dr. Sampsel.

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Doctor Calls for Screening of Potential Domestic Abuse

CBC The Current  radio

2016-12-12

National discussion of screening for potential victims of domestic violence in the wake of the murder of a talented family physician by her neurosurgeon husband.

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Ottawa Hospital sees dramatic jump in reports of sexual assault

CBC  print

2015-10-30

The Ottawa Hospital says it's seen a dramatic increase in the number of people reporting sexual assaults this year compared to 2014, and while the numbers are alarming, the hospital hopes it's the result of outreach and awareness campaigns encouraging people to come forward.

In September there were 53 reports of sexual assaults made at the hospital's three campuses: Civic, General and Riverside. One year earlier there were 23, according to Dr. Kari Sampsel, medical director for the sexual assault and partner abuse program at The Ottawa Hospital.

In October this year there were 46 reports, about double the number reported in October 2014.

More than 98-per-cent of people reporting sexual assaults are women, mainly between the ages of 18 and 25, Sampsel said.

"We are, of course, sad and distraught by the numbers we're seeing. We don't like to know or to think that there's this prevalence of sexual assault that's going on in our community," Sampsel said.

"But the silver lining of it is that people are coming and people are getting the help that they need, and not having to go [through] this alone. ... There's been a lot of discussion in the media about sexual assault, there's been a lot of really high-profile-type cases in the last little while, so I think it's becoming less shameful for people to report this happening to them."

Still, Sampsel estimates only between 10 and 30 per cent of sexual assaults are ever reported.

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Event Appearances (9)

International Festivals and Events Association

Annual Convention  Tucson, AZ

2016-09-28

Ontario Festival and Events Convention

Ontario Festivals and Events Convention  Sault Ste Marie

2017-03-02

GHB, Memory and Sexual Assault

Carleton University Sexual Assault Awareness Week  Carleton University

2017-02-06

Sexual Assault Advocacy - Bringing the Dark into the Light

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Conference  Quebec City

2016-06-08

Assertiveness and the Female Emergency Physician

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Conference  Quebec City

2016-06-06

Sexual Assault and Mass Gatherings

Ontario Women's Directorate Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment  Toronto

2015-11-19

Sexual Assault and Mass Gatherings on Campus

Ryley Group Summit on Sexual Violence on Campus Prevention and Response  Toronto

2015-09-24

Sexual Assault and Mass Gatherings

Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians Conference  Edmonton

2015-06-03

Sexual Assault and Mass Gatherings

Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Conference  San Diego

2015-05-13

Research Grants (2)

Characteristics Associated with Sexual Assault at Mass Gatherings

Women's Xchange 

2015-04-01

Sexual assault is an important public health concern affecting approximately 50% of women. The Ottawa Hospital Sexual Assault Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) aims to explore the incidence of sexual assault during public events, also known as mass gatherings. Mass gatherings are defined as an organized event occurring within a defined space attended by a large number of people. Anecdotally, the number of sexual assault victims seen after these gatherings increases but no studies have quantified this or examined the associated risk factors. This topic has not previously been reported on, and the goal is to specifically assess the sexual assault risk to women participating in mass gatherings. A health records review from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 will be performed. This time frame will capture all mass gatherings occurring in Ottawa without duplication. Collecting data to produce knowledge surrounding themes of patient population characteristics, mass gathering attendance, disclosure of alcohol/drug consumption, timing of presentation to the SAPACP, and nature of sexual assault will be conducted by the team. By quantifying and characterizing these assaults, better event planning and prevention strategies can be deployed to enhance the health of women. - See more at: http://womensxchange.womensresearch.ca/15k/funded-projects/#sthash.vKTJivlj.dpuf

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Increasing the Offer, Shifting the Offer: Adapting, Evaluating and Recommending Strategies to Engage with Persons Unaware of their Positive HIV Status

CIHR 

2016-03-17

We propose to implement and comprehensively evaluate, from the perspectives of
both personnel and differentially socially-located women and men, a model for the integration of routine,
provider-initiated non-targeted HIV counseling and point-of-care testing into a Hospital Emergency Department, a
community primary health services programme, and a population-based community organization. HIV counseling
and testing would be routinely offered without providers needing to assess the probability of engagement, or
individuals needing to acknowledge, a specific HIV-related risk behavior or practice. This strategy has the potential
to reduce the experienced stigma associated with client-initiated HIV testing documented to be a significant barrier
in accessing timely uptake of HIV testing; minimizes lost opportunities of raising HIV counseling and testing due to
providers’ inaccurate assessment of individual risk, normalizes HIV counseling and testing as part of regular care,
and facilitates linkages into medical care for people testing positive. We propose that offering these services in
venues that extend beyond medical institutions and that are easily accessed by our target populations will remove
many of the experienced and perceived structural barriers to accessing testing.

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Articles (2)

Characteristics Associated with Sexual Assaults at Mass Gatherings Emergency Medicine Journal

2015-08-27

What is already known on this subject?
Sexual assault occurs most often to women between the ages of 18 and 30 years, usually occurs in the victim's home and the assailant is known to the victim between 60% and 85% of the time.

Little is known about the incidence and circumstances of sexual assault associated with mass gatherings.

What might this study add?
In this review of sexual assault cases reported to the only referral centre in Ottawa in 2013, 26% occurred at mass gatherings.

Assaults at mass gatherings occurred more often at holidays and university frosh week.

Victims of sexual assault at mass gatherings were younger, more likely to have consumed alcohol/drugs, to suspect they had been drugged and only knew their assailant 30% of the time.

The distinct nature of sexual assaults at mass gatherings requires a unique approach to prevention, education and policy.

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The Impact of a Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Program on ED Care Journal of Emergency Nursing

2009-07-01

Introduction
Examination and management of the sexually assaulted patient comprise a complex task. On-call nurses with advanced training are used in some hospitals, but their impact on patient care and appropriate forensic examination is largely unknown. We evaluated the impact of the introduction of a sexual assault/domestic violence program (SADVP) on ED flow, comprehensive patient care, and collection of forensic evidence.

Methods
Patients presenting to the 2 emergency departments in the Kingston area (Ontario, Canada) (population, 250,000) after sexual assault were compared during 2 time periods: (1) before SADVP implementation (January 2001 through August 2004) and (2) after SADVP implementation (September 2004 to August 2006). ED, hospital discharge, SADVP, and police records were reviewed. Data abstraction included patient demographics, assault characteristics, forensic examination results, and treatment protocols.

Results
The incidence of patients presenting with a complaint of sexual assault doubled (61 cases before SADVP implementation and 92 cases after SADVP implementation). Median times to initial clinical evaluation were lower in the post-SADVP group (20 minutes vs 33 minutes, P = .04). Patients in the post-SADVP group reported less vaginal/anal penetration (77% vs 98%, P < .001) and had fewer genital injuries (13% vs 39%, P = .007); other sexual assault characteristics were similar between the 2 study periods. Forensic kits were completed more often in the post-SADVP group (77% vs 66%, P = .18). Pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prophylaxis was offered more consistently after SADVP implementation (98% vs 85%, P = .007), as was counseling (100% vs 95%, P = .06).

Discussion
The profile of patients observed after SADVP implementation changed to include less stereotypical sexual assaults. Introduction of the SADVP decreased wait times for sexually assaulted patients, despite the need for the on-call nurses to attend the emergency department. This program also showed higher completion on a number of important indicators of quality of care: forensic kits, counseling, and pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prophylaxis.

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