Winnipeg police, Manitoba RCMP allow third party reporting of sex assault

The Canadian Press
April 17, 2018
By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A Manitoba cabinet minister who says she was raped at 13 says the province is taking an important step by allowing victims of sexual violence to file an anonymous report with police.

Third-party reporting allows a survivor to report the assault to a community agency, which will then pass the report along to Winnipeg police or RCMP.

“As a survivor of sexual violence, I think that third-party reporting certainly does give choices for people who have been stripped of choice in a very profound way,” Rochelle Squires, minister for the status of women said Monday.

Squires said when she was raped, she felt she couldn’t tell anyone. If third-party reporting had been an option, Squires said she might have felt supported enough to come forward sooner as she dealt with the trauma as an adult.

“It also allows survivors to access supports in perhaps a gentler way than walking into a police station,” she said.

Victims are now able to contact Klinic Community Health Centre, Sage House or Heart Medicine Lodge in Winnipeg to make a report. Nursing stations and support agencies in rural areas are also being trained.

The victims are given the option to make a formal report to police or leave one with the agency to given to police without the victim’s name.

Winnipeg police Chief Danny Smyth said that won’t trigger a criminal investigation, but it will help identify offenders or trends that may have gone unreported. The information will also be entered in a national database to track violent offenders.

“What we would hope is that the victim, through the liaison, through the support they get, may be comfortable enough to be introduced to police investigators,” he said.

It’s estimated that less than five per cent of sexual assaults are reported to police in Canada. Nicole Chammartin, executive director of Klinic, said they receive a few hundred calls about sexual assaults each month. With the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, there has been an increase, she said.

Third-party reporting doesn’t come with any extra resources for community clinics, but the province and the agencies say they will be monitoring the demand.

- Kelly Geraldine Malone

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2018

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