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Published on Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Halton police board ask sex assault survivors for help

Board reviewing rate of "unfounded" findings in sexual assault cases

Halton police board ask sex assault survivors for help
Halton Region Police Services
By Nathan Howes, Oakville Beaver

The Halton Regional Police Services Board is well underway with its review of the handling of sexual assault cases and is now looking for comments from sexual assault survivors on the treatment their cases received.

The information is crucial to the work of the review team and will help inform its findings, stated a Halton police news release.

The review team’s goal is to submit a supplementary report to the Halton police board by the end of this fall, which will capture survivor feedback (individual input will remain anonymous in the report).

Specifically, the group is seeking answers to the following two questions:

1. If you are a survivor of sexual assault and reported the crime to the Halton Regional Police Service, what was your experience?

2. If you are a survivor of sexual assault and chose not to report the incident to the Halton Regional Police Service, what were the reasons why?

Individuals are invited to provide input to Julie Moscato, police services board executive director, by Monday, July 31.

A Halton review of the sexual assault cases is being led by Moscato, who is consulting with local community and justice partners on the inquiry, leading to a separate, initial report that will be submitted to the board for its June 15 meeting.

“The board wants sexual assault survivors to know their information is important to ensure the policies governing the police will meet their needs and provide a safe, respectful, and healing experience for all who experience this form of assault,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, chair of the Halton Regional Police Services Board, in the media release.

Halton Police Chief Stephen Tanner said he is “fully supportive of the review being conducted by our police services board in relation to sexual assault investigations.”

“I am hopeful that individuals will take the time to provide meaningful feedback to the board as (it) reviews the very important policies that oversee the service. The Halton Regional Police Service looks forward to further improving the quality of service that we provide to all we serve, particularly to the victims of sexual assault,” stated Tanner, in a media release.

“We are also hopeful there will be meaningful changes to the manner in which Statistics Canada collects data and to the headings in relation to criminal occurrences.”

Media coverage of Halton and other police services’ handling of sexual assault cases earlier this year, as well as Halton police service’s own investigation, led the local board to conduct its own review into the matter.

A high rate — 30 per cent — of ‘unfounded’ sexual assaults in Halton was recently revealed in a Globe and Mail report, which prompted the internal police audit of the handling of sexual assault cases in Halton in 2016.

The Province then stepped in and asked all Ontario police services boards, including that in Halton, to conduct their own reviews.

The direction was given to the boards in a letter from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

If individuals would like support while providing input, they can contact any of the agencies listed below, also part of the review team.

These agencies include:

Nina’s Place, the Regional Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre, Joseph Brant Hospital at 905-681-4880, Thrive Counselling at 905 845-3811 ext.117, Halton Women’s Place at 905-332-7892 or 905-878-8970 or Halton police’s Victim Services Unit at 905-825-4810.

Input for the review team can be provided by phone 905-825-4747 ext. 5014, by email Julie.Moscato@haltonpolice.ca, by letter – addressed to 1151 Bronte Rd., Oakville, L6M-3L1 or in person, by appointment, with Julie Moscato.

Feedback can also be submitted online anonymously by visiting www.haltonpolice.ca/about/psb/sexualassaultreview.php.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

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