08/28/2013 04:12 EDT | Updated 10/28/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia students to form committee to study sexual assault and alcohol abuse

HALIFAX - Student leaders from across Nova Scotia are forming a committee to improve student union policies aimed at preventing sexual assault and alcohol abuse.

The provincial government says the goal of the exercise is to determine what is working and what can be done to better keep students safe on campus.

Advanced Education Minister Frank Corbett says the students will also develop a communications campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault.

The province will spend $31,000 on the initiative and the student unions are kicking in $13,000.

StudentsNS chairman Jared Perry says Nova Scotia has the highest rates of sexual assault in Canada.

As well, he says the percentage of Nova Scotia students who drink heavily at least once per month is also significantly higher than the national average.