New OPP assault strategy unveiled
The OPP is launching a Victim Response Support Strategy following an internal review relating to a report into "unfounded" sexual assault cases.
The new strategy includes several actions the provincial force is taking to improve the response to and support for sexual assault victims by focusing on new initiatives that "focus on victim support, investigative excellence and oversight," the OPP said in a release.
Key improvements include supporting victims by deploying "informed, responsive officers" as well as helping investigating officers with better regional leads, research analysts and regional collaborations.
The force is also pledging to strengthen data integrity and offer ongoing training while creating better oversight through not just the support unit, but also with regional collaborative review committees and a provincial stakeholder governance committee.
The strategy is the result of the OPP's Sexual Assault Data Classification and Investigative Review, which examined sexual assault cases closed by police as unfounded between 2010 and 2016. The review included a directive to reopen any sexual assault report that was found not to be properly investigated.
Of the 5,322 unfounded cases reviewed, 3,463 (65%) were cleared correctly, 1,859 (34.9%) could potentially have been cleared using another classification, and 12 (0.2%) were reopened for investigation.
In a statement, OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said the strategy outlines the actions the force is taking to ensure sexual assault victims can report "their experiences with confidence that they will receive the support and services they need.
"The OPP is committed to investigative excellence, strengthening our relationships with community partners and agencies, and putting additional accountability measures in place to improve the response to and support for victims."
For more information, visit opp.ca/victimstrategy.