Sexual assault victims in Niagara can now make anonymous reports to police
If you, or someone you know, has been a victim of sexual assault, you can now make an anonymous report to Niagara Regional Police with help from the Niagara Sexual Assault Centre.
A staff member at the centre will help you complete an Anonymous Third Party Report on the assault.
The details are forwarded to the Niagara Regional Police, but the identity of the survivor remains confidential.
The information is entered into a national database and compared against other sexual assaults.
If a serial predator is identified, the NRP will inform the sexual assault centre.
A staff member at the centre will then contact the survivor to see if they want to speak with the police.
If they agree, they are not committed to participating in a formal police investigation.
"Fewer than 10 per cent of victims come forward to report sexual assaults to the police for various reasons," said Tricia Cosgrove, human resources manager at the agency. "They often blame themselves for the assault, fear retribution from the perpetrator, wonder if they will be believed and are reluctant to participate in the legal process."
Cosgrove says filing an anonymous report provides survivors with a safe place to disclose and a sense of control over what happens with their case.
"It also gives them an opportunity to play a role in identifying a serial sexual predator," she said. "Survivors often want to ensure that this does not happen to others."
Cosgrove said the anonymous reports are also beneficial to the police as they can help link sexual assaults through similarly reported facts and could lead to the early detection of a serial perpetrator.
"They can also build a trust relationship between marginalized groups and the police and stronger connections with community agencies that could act as the missing link between them," she added.
Anonymous reports can be made regardless of whether the victim knows the identity of the perpetrator.
For more information or to schedule a report, contact the Niagara Sexual Assault Centre or call their 24 hr crisis and information line at 905-682-4584.
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