Man charged with attacking sex worker, choking her in hotel room
Women's groups say police should not have taken three days to tell them about the serious assault
Police are coming under fire for taking three days to release details about a man accused of assaulting and choking a sex worker over the weekend.
Police charged a London man after a woman reported the attack Saturday night, which she says took place in a Wellington Road hotel room.
The woman was able to free herself and call 911, police said. They say she saw a weapon but it wasn't used.
Given the nature of the accusation, police should have notified sex workers, said AnnaLise Trudell, the manager of education, training and research at Anova, which supports women involved in sexual and domestic violence.
"My fear is that choking is a really high-risk activity in terms of escalation," Trudell said. "London police need to have a direct line of communication. That would have been much more effective."
Releasing a name publicly on Tuesday to mainstream media outlets opened up the accused to public shaming when he hasn't been found guilty, and it didn't protect the women who are most likely to need protection, Trudell said.
"There are informal networks of women that you could tell, and the information would spread like wildfire," she said.
Telling media after the man has already been charged doesn't protect sex workers, she added.
Sex workers not notified
A drop-in centre for sex workers in the city, Safe Space London, wasn't told about the Saturday night attack. Details about the man's appearance, car, and area where the incident allegedly took place could have been placed on the centre's 'bad date line', which women can call to make sure they're not meeting a client who has a violent past.
Neither Safe Space, Anova, nor the London Abused Women's Centre were contacted about the alleged assault.
Any incident that alleges choking should be immediately released to the public and to groups who work with women, said Megan Walker, the executive director of the London Abused Women's Centre.
"Strangulation activity is extremely serious," Walker said. "It's serious and troubling and speaks to a predator who wants full domination over a woman, to the point where he could take her life."
Walker said police should release the information to both those who work with sex workers and to the media.
No change in process: police
London police said they had to wait for the accused to appear in court and be formerly charged before releasing his name.
"The decision to release information about a specific investigation and/or the name of the charged individual is based on the particular factors of each case," police said in a written statement.
Tyler Bell, 22, was arrested Sunday and is charged with assault and three counts related to buying sex.