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HomeNewsCity of Kawartha Lakes Police reopen 5 investigations into alleged sexual assaults

City of Kawartha Lakes Police reopen 5 investigations into alleged sexual assaults

KAWARTHA LAKES-The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service has reopened five cases involving alleged sexual assault after a thorough review of 61 cases.

The review stems from an investigation by the Globe and Mail into the staggering number of sex assault cases that were deemed “unfounded” by police services across the country. Last February, after a 20-month investigation, The Globe found that one in five sexual-assault allegations reported in Canada is dismissed as “unfounded”. “unfounded” means the investigating officer does not believe a crime occurred or was attempted. A follow up found police across the country are reviewing more than 37,000 cases and many are pledging to revamp their approach to investigating alleged sexual violence.

The five year “unfounded” rate for the City of Kawartha Lakes Police service was 27%. The national average was about 20%. The cases reviewed by Kawartha Lakes Police were between 2010 and 2016 and looked at all sexual assault cases where no charges were laid as well as all sexual assault cases deemed “unfounded”. Officials say the files were reviewed by sworn members of the police service along with violence against women advocates and representatives from social services and victim services. They looked at case summaries and synopsis and the officer reports and statements. They did not review medical records or audio/video and written statements/interviews from complainant, suspect and witnesses.

Of the five cases that got another look police say none resulted in charges. “Our Criminal Investigations Branch did take a second look at five cases. After a second review, no charges were processed.” Sergeant Tom Hcikey told Kawartha 411.

The City of Kawartha Lakes Police say some officers have undergone enhanced training since the review including watching a video that is endorsed by the Ontario Police College. “28 officers thus far have watched the video and were able to display a comprehension of the contents with a short quiz” Sgt. Hickey says. “This was really just an overview of the issue of the neurobiology of victim trauma.”

Hickey says five officers have completed a more in-depth course with topics including:

  • Understanding the Culture of Sexual Violence and Harassment
  • Neurobiology of Trauma: Implications for Law Enforcement, Prosecution and Victim Advocacy
  • Trauma-informed Interviewing Skills: Best Practices
  • Responding to Gender-Based Violence against People in the LGBTQ+ Community
  • Sexual Violence as a tool of Racism and War
  • Responding to Victims Living with Complex Trauma: Impacts during Investigation and Interviewing
  • Trauma-informed Approaches to Investigating Sexual Assaults
  • Critical Analysis of sample Sexual Assault Cases

One officer has completed specialized training on:

  • Forensic Experiential Trauma Interview
  • Male Sexual Assault – The Pain Behind the Mask
  • Marital Sexual Assaults – Behind Closed Doors
  • Investigating Recantations – What Do We Do Now?
  • Achieving Culture Change – Building a World That Doesn’t Exist
  • Re-thinking Suspect Interviews – Suspect FETI
  • Voluntary Intoxication – It’s Not Consent for Sex
  • Understanding Sex Offenders – The Hunter & the Hunted

A number of police changes have also been implemented.The City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service endorses the committee’s lobbying of StatsCan to add a subheading within the Cleared Otherwise clearance code to include an “Insufficient Evidence to Proceed” clearance option. The police service will ensure that only a trained sexual assault investigator, currently working in a criminal investigative unit, have the authority to caution (or charge) a complainant of a sexual assault with public mischief in cases of suspected false reports. In the event of a complainant recanting their sexual assault allegation, the City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service will make efforts to determine if there was any influence by other people pressuring the complaint to recant and they will establish a committee with Women’s Resources and the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre to explore the feasibility of a “restorative justice” program for certain sexual assault complaints.

They have also pledged to undertake a yearly review of all sexual assault investigations. To read the full review click here: http://kawarthalakespolice.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Systemic-Review-of-the-CKLPS-Unfounded-Rate-of-Sexual-Assault-Investigations-April-28-2017.pdf

</divphoto credit: Massimo Accarino via photopin (license)

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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