The month of May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Ontario. In 2015, the Government of Ontario introduced its Sexual Violence and Harassment Plan to promote the initiative It’s Never Okay, which includes a commitment to stop sexual violence and harassment in workplaces, campuses and communities in Ontario. The plan provides legislation and funding to increased support for survivors of sexual violence and improved educational programs in communities.

 

The Niagara Regional Police Service is supporting Sexual Assault Awareness Month by providing information to help our community understand why It’s Never Okay for persons to become victims of sexual violence and harassment.

Sexual assault is any form of unwanted sexual activity that is forced upon a person without that persons consent. Sexual assault can range from unwanted sexual touching to forced intercourse. While most sexual assaults are perpetrated against women, both women and men can and are sexually assaulted.

One (1) in three (3) women in Canada and one (1) in six (6) men in Canada will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. According to YWCA Canada, there are 460,000 sexual assaults reported by women every year. Out of every 1000 sexual assaults, only 33 are reported to police.
The Niagara Regional Police Service recognizes the difficult decisions victims of sexual violence face. Due to the reluctance of victims to report to police services, the NRPS has partnered with community organizations such as The Niagara Regional Sexual Assault Centre (NRSAC) and Niagara Health System Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (SA/DVTC) to provide anonymous third party reporting options.

The following options are available to victim(s) when they are considering reporting:

- Victims can contact the Niagara Regional Police Service at 905 -688-4111 or 9-1-1 to have Officers attend to complete an initial report. Specially trained Sexual Assault Detectives will then follow-up with each victim. (Victim Services are available to all victims of crime 24/7 by telephone as well and can assist with emotional support, information, practical assistance and resources/referrals to programs.)

- Anonymous Third Party Reporting:  Through the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (Niagara Health System) and the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Center (NRSAC) victims can anonymously report an offenders behaviour to police. Unless desired by the victim, no followup investigation will be completed by police. 24 Hour Crisis & Information Line: 905-682-4584

- Working in the sex trade makes you a vulnerable target and predators count on the fact you are not likely to report any crimes against you.  The Bad Date Line is used to help identify and track serial and predatory offenders.   The Bad Date Line 1-888-818-4808

The Niagara Regional Police Service urges victims of sexual violence to report incidents to the NRPS, NRSAC or SA/DVTC to improve the collection and preservation of evidence should victims decide to pursue an investigation in the future. The NRPS and community partners have protocols in place to protect the identity of victims and provide victims with continued support throughout the investigative and criminal court process.

For more information on Sexual Assault Awareness Month please consider visiting the following links:

http://www.niagarapolice.ca/en/whatwedo/sexualassault.asp

http://www.women.gov.on.ca/owd/english/ending-violence/sapm.shtml

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