Fredericton reviews 'unfounded' sexual assault cases

The Fredericton Police Force says it's launching a review of sexual assault cases cleared as 'unfounded' between 2010 and 2014.

It follows a Globe and Mail investigation that found nearly one in five sexual assault cases in Canada during that period were deemed unfounded, meaning police do not believe a criminal offence was attempted or took place.

There were 325 allegations of sexual assault over that five-year period in Fredericton, and 52 of them – 16 per cent – were classified as unfounded.

Heidi Cyr, a spokesperson with the Fredericton Police Force, told our newsroom the review will look at "a number of" unfounded sexual assault cases, as well as a random sampling of all other sexual assaults handled by the force during that time.

Cyr said the audit team has three months to submit their findings to the provincial Department of Justice and Public Safety.

She said the police force will release a statement once the review is complete.

N.B. seeks to find 'systemic issues' with handling of sexual assault cases

The New Brunswick government has said it's pleased that provincial police forces are undertaking a review of sexual assault cases cleared as unfounded.

Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry said in February that he's asked all forces involved to submit their findings to the province.

"In light of recent findings, our goal as the provincial government will be to identify any systemic issues with regards to the handling of sexual assault cases in New Brunswick so we can address them effectively," said Landry.

According to the Globe and Mail investigation, New Brunswick had the highest average of unfounded sexual assault cases at 32 per cent.

In Saint John, N.B., one in two sexual assault allegations were classified as unfounded.