Statement from Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan - Update on concerns raised with a 2012 Kelowna Investigation

B.C.

2019-06-01 11:15 PDT

We understand and respect the concerns raised around a 2012 investigation and portions of a two hour interview that are public. We have had to limit our comments around the case due to restrictions under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, Privacy Act, an ongoing Criminal Code investigation and civil litigation proceedings.

However, I wanted to address that our inability to provide further context or perspective does not mean we have not heard the concerns. We agree that on the surface this case doesn’t appear to align with public expectations or the current standards and practices in place when addressing sex assault investigations and supporting victims. We also recognize that a negative experience with police investigators can bring more trauma to victims, and discourage others from reporting these crimes. I can confirm that a fulsome review of the 2012 investigation is underway and we have engaged with various individuals and agencies that have expressed concerns.

Respecting the limitations and that a review is still underway, we do understand there is a greater discussion taking place around sexual assault investigations.

The RCMP has been public in the past around the evolution of police investigational standards and training (see: The way forward: The RCMP’s sexual assault review and victim support action plan (http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/the-way-forward-the-rcmps-sexual-assault-review-and-victim-support-action-plan )

Those efforts have included strengthening police training and awareness, investigative accountability, victim support, and public education and communication.

New training for RCMP officers continues to be a priority. Training on myths surrounding sexual assault and consent law is already available to employees through the RCMP’s online learning portal. A course on interviewing witnesses and victims was recently updated. Cultural competency training, trauma-informed investigations training and an advanced course for sexual assault investigators are under development. We are developing this training with subject matter experts in psychology, advocacy, and sexual assault investigations.

The RCMP is also establishing an external review model, similar to the Philadelphia Model that can be adapted to fit the various municipal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions we police, while also adhering to the Federal Privacy Act. This includes developing national guidelines for the provincial committees’ terms of reference, mandate, composition, structure and procedures.

We will provide more information on this external review model in the coming months, as it begins to be established in BC and the other provincial/territorial jurisdictions we police across Canada.

The RCMP is committed to improving how its employees respond to victims of all crimes, and investigate allegations of sexual assault.

Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan
Commanding Officer of the BC RCMP

 


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