by Morinville Online Staff
During Sexual Violence Awareness Month in Alberta, the RCMP is drawing attention to programs available for victims of sexual violence. May was designated Sexual Violence Awareness Month in 2018 by the Government of Alberta, which aimed to combat sexual violence.
Reported cases of sexual assault have shown a consistent increase between 2016 and 2021. According to RCMP data, there has been a rise in reported sexual assaults in Alberta. In 2016, there were 1,756 reported cases, and by 2021, the number had reached 2,597.
“The majority of victims of sexual assault postpone reporting the incident to police or anyone else,” Sgt. Deanna Fontaine, the Sexual Assault Review Coordinator for Alberta RCMP, said in a media release Wednesday. “The reasons are distinct for each individual and may include the victim’s feelings of shame, embarrassment, shock, denial, self-blame, uncertainty, a lack of confidence in the justice process and fear of not being believed.”
To assist victims, the Alberta RCMP wants to ensure they are aware of available programs. The Supportive Reporting Programs (SRP) allow victims to file police reports through designated advocates who act as liaisons.
The advocate would contact the police to arrange a time and place for the victim to meet with a specially-trained, trauma-informed police investigator.
The Alberta RCMP operates two Supportive Reporting Centers located in Strathcona County and Red Deer.
Another program is Third Option Evidence Collection, which allows victims to complete a forensic medical exam, including a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit, and have the evidence stored confidentially.
This program allows victims to decide if filing a police report is the right option while preserving crucial evidence.
Victims of sexual violence are encouraged to report incidents to the local police or contact nearby sexual assault or community-based Victim Services agencies.
Online support is available through the Alberta Association of Sexual Assault Services.
The Alberta RCMP has detailed information for the general public and a centralized location for information and resources available for sexual violence survivors at: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ab/community-communaute/sa-as/index-eng.htm.
Further information about Alberta RCMP programs available to victims/survivors can be found at: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ab/community-communaute/sa-as/programs-programmes-eng.htm.
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