Kelowna RCMP apologize for handling of sexualized violence case.
In response to how the Kelowna RCMP failed to investigate a complaint of sexualized violence and how the victim was treated when she came forward, an apology was made by Supt. Triance.
In a letter to the CRCC dated October 18, 2021, Supt. Triance apologized to the victim on behalf of the Kelowna RCMP.
Sexual Violence is arguably one of the most heinous interpersonal crimes an individual may have to report to police, and therefore, we need to be excellent in our standard of investigative practices, with a trauma informed approach, and the Kelowna RCMP needs to do our best work every time.
“I have very high expectations of my police officers when it when it comes to professionalism, respect, accountability, and how we deliver our police services. As Kelowna’s commander, I am deeply apologetic that our initial response to this incident was not in line with our investigative standards, nor was it a trauma informed approach to sexual violence. Going forward we continue to invest in our officers, our supervisors, in training, and in processes of accountability and review. We are committed to working with partners who support survivors of violence to ensure a trauma informed response and police accountability. We are working to ensure that our response to crime centres around persons – knowing that if we can change the trajectory of a persons life, impacted by violent crime, in how we respond and how we provide police services, we can have improved outcomes in the long term for those individuals impacted by trauma and for our society as a whole.” – Supt. Triance
The officer involved in this specific incident has retired from the Kelowna RCMP Detachment.
The Kelowna RCMP have since assigned a Sex Crimes investigator to the investigation and a charge of Sexual Assault was recommended to the BC Prosecution Service.
Since this incident, the Kelowna RCMP has taken many steps to do better, ensuring our Strategic Priorities have been designed with a victim-centred approach in mind. These priorities include:
- Earning the trust of every citizen who have experienced persons crimes
- Showing up at our best for Every Citizen
As we work towards earning the trust of every citizen who have experienced persons crimes, we are focussing on the following:
Building partnerships and working with those who provide services to our vulnerable population
These include partnerships with the School District 23 through the work our Community Youth Safety Officers (CYSO’s) are doing in schools. Kelowna Detachment has also started an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee.
We have been meeting with UCBO throughout the summer and are in the process of forming a working group comprised of CYSO’s and members of EDI Committee who have indicated their interest. Focus will be on EDI principles and rebuilding relationships, particularly with foreign students.
Kelowna RCMP has also met with Okanagan College who have expressed interest in having Kelowna RCMP Members attend on campus events and partner in our work and education to focus on safety and crime prevention.
We have also been liaising with our Spanish speaking migrant workers and we are looking forward to developing closer ties with our other Temporary Foreign Worker communities.
The Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) in Kelowna was the second busiest CAC in the province for the month of September. All investigations at the CAC involve a multi-agency response and multi-disciplinary approach.
We continue ongoing quality of investigations through quality assurance. Proper training has been provided to police officers and support staff to ensure the proper categorization of files to capture statistical data correctly. We are also ensuring better supervision on more complex investigations, normally handled by frontline investigators with oversight by our Sex Crimes Unit.
The Kelowna RCMP Sex Crimes Unit and the Domestic Violence Unit are dedicated and focused on working with victims of violence and they are comprised of investigators who specialize in this field. These investigations can be complex and often require unique skill sets. Our units have direct links to prevention and trauma support with our partners at Elizabeth Fry, Probation, Ministry of Social Development, and Health.
Showing up at our best for Every Citizen
This is key to not what we do as a police service but how we do our work – knowing that every contact with our community matters.
Kelowna RCMP officers have received enhanced training on Trauma Informed Practice and LGBTQ2S+ Awareness training as well as training with respect the sexual consent and the law and bias awareness. We have been working closely with Kelowna PRIDE and the LGBTQS+ community. Kelowna RCMP and Kelowna PRIDE have continued to build in our work together.
In 2021, Kelowna RCMP committed to the “Start by Believing” Pledge which is a public awareness campaign and a commitment to end the cycle of silence and change our response to sexual assault. Start by Believing focuses a trauma informed response to a disclosure of a sexual assault by expressing belief, rather than doubt or shame. The campaign was launched by End Violence Against Women International and is being adopted by individuals, organizations, education, health, justice professionals, and law enforcement. By 2023, Kelowna RCMP has set out to have all officers trained in a Trauma Informed Response to violence and to ensure their commitment to “Start by Believing” to improve outcomes for those impacted by violence and to ensure our officers standards of investigation are reflective of modern trauma science and research.