Ottawa: More than 700 Canadian school employees committed or were alleged to have committed sexual offenses against nearly 1,300 children over the past 20 years, according to a report released by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (CCCP).
The report, a first-of-its-kind study of child sexual abuse in the country, identified 750 cases of sexual offenses (or alleged offenses) against a minimum of 1,272 children between 1997 and 2017, reports Xinhua news agency.
The offenses were carried out or allegedly carried out by 714 employees or former employees working in kindergarten to Grade 12 schools across Canada.
Eighty-six percent of the offenders were certified teachers, while other school employees charged with crimes also included educational assistants, student teachers, lunch monitors, volunteers, secretaries, custodians and school bus drivers.
Many of the offenders included in the study groomed their victims to build trust and spend time alone with them. Those offenders manipulated their victims to reduce the likelihood of the child reporting the abuse, the report said on Thursday.
It also found that a lot of the grooming took place online or by electronic communication, such as texts and emails.
According to the study, 87 percent of the offenders were male and 75 percent of the victims were female.
In addition, 55 percent of the victims were sexually abused on school property (including field trip locations and school buses, while 29 percent of the victims were abused in the offender`s car or residence.
More than two-thirds of all victims were high school students and 73 percent of offenders identified in the study were charged with at least one criminal offense.