Kelowna RCMP request review of unfounded sexual assault cases
In 2018 the Kelowna RCMP received 82 reports of sexual assault; after the investigations were completed, 30 of these reports were deemed unfounded by investigators.
“We understand that there are many questions about the roots of these statistics, and we’re taking immediate steps to get answers,” says Cpl. Meghan Foster of the Kelowna RCMP. “The BC RCMP has conducted a preliminary review of these files, but we are currently not in a position to provide specific examples of why any of these investigations were deemed unfounded. For every investigation there are many variables — each investigation is different and we do not want to deter any other survivors from bravely coming forward to report a sexual assault.”
We encourage survivors of sexual assault to report these crimes to police. There are times when charges may not be laid, but reports of assaults can help to contribute to police records, which may help to further other investigations and identify repeat offenders.
“We are aware that people may find the number of unfounded sexual assault files unsettling, and we are committed to ensuring the public that we are accountable for our investigations,” continues Foster. “In addition to the preliminary review of these files, Kelowna RCMP has requested that the RCMP’s Sexual Assault Review Team at National Headquarters review our 2018 and 2019 unfounded sexual assault files.”
The Sexual Assault Review Team was formed to review RCMP sexual assault files after the Globe and Mail’s “Unfounded” series was published. The team is made up of experienced sexual assault investigators and experts in gender based violence.
The team will look at each file to ensure that all investigative steps were followed and that the file was properly categorized within the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. If this review indicates that not all investigative steps were followed, the file will be designated for a secondary review to determine what additional steps need to be taken by investigators and will be sent back to the BC RCMP for further review and/or investigation.
Sexual assault is a devastating crime, and the RCMP is committed to improving how its employees respond to victims and investigate allegations of sexual assault. As previously said, the RCMP wants to ensure that all survivors of sexual assault feel comfortable bringing their allegations to the RCMP, receive the same standard of care regardless of jurisdiction, and trust investigators to thoroughly and professionally investigate these crimes.
Anyone who feels that their case was not investigated properly can go to their local RCMP detachment and request a review of their file. Should a victim not be satisfied with the RCMP review, they can make a complaint through the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP (CRCC) by going to their website.