OPP to review about 4,000 sexual assault cases

Ontario Provincial Police say they will be reviewing approximately 4,000 sexual assault investigation reports that were designated as "unfounded."

Commissioner Vince Hawkes says the review will cover allegations made between 2010 and 2014.

The announcement follows a report by the Globe and Mail that the newspaper says exposed deep flaws in the way investigators treat sexual assault allegations.

The Globe says that as a result of its investigation, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has called on police to reassess how they manage sex-assault complaints.

Hawkes says the OPP takes all reports of sexual assault and violence seriously and "uses all resources necessary to conduct complete, thorough and professional investigations."

He says the OPP will examine the cases over the next several weeks and release a statement at the conclusion of the review, which will include a summary of the analysis.

"We have policies and procedures in place, mandatory training for investigators, and layers of supervision and review for these types of investigations," Hawkes said Wednesday in a release. "We are strongly committed to continuously seek improvement in order to earn and maintain the public's confidence and trust."

He said if it is determined that any sexual assault report was not properly investigated by the OPP, the investigation will be re-opened.

"We want to ensure that all reports during that period were properly classified when received; that the incidents were appropriately investigated; and, that the correct classification was used when the investigation was completed," Hawkes said. "It will take some time to review and assess these incidents, and, if warranted, we will expand the review."

The OPP also encouraged victims to continue to come forward and report crimes.

"I want all victims of sexual assault or any crime to have confidence in the OPP and our ability to investigate crimes and bring those responsible to justice," Hawkes said.