Kaushee’s Place in Whitehorse has teamed up with the RCMP to offer a new option for women who have been sexually assaulted, but aren't ready to go to the police.
Women can now report the crimes anonymously to Kaushee's Place using what's known as third party reporting.
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“The statistics say that only 10 per cent of women who have suffered from sexualized assault come forward,” says Renee-Claude Carrier, the assistant director at Kaushee's Place transition home.
“We just decided that there needed to be another option to report this information.”
The pilot project began this summer and is now being rolled out across the Yukon. Women can report crimes to Kaushee’s Place in person or by phone.
“We have a 24-hour staffed crisis line so they can call to Kaushee's and hopefully get through and make those informed decisions with staff on the phone,” Carrier says.
The number is 1-867-668-5733.
Kaushee’s Place keeps the names of the victims confidential, sharing only a file number to the police for future reference.
Most important thing is to get support
Cpl. Calista MacLeod with the Whitehorse police says third party reporting is a good way for people who don’t want to call the police directly to get information and support.
“The most important thing for people who are victims of crime is to get support and have people they can talk to, and Kaushee’s is certainly a service provider in Yukon that helps with that,” McLeod says.
Police won’t investigate crimes reported through a third party. “We’re not going to be doing anything that would identify that victim to the offender,” MacLeod says.
But the system does give police a way to reach out to the complainants later on, for example, if they receive another report about the same offender.
That information could be relayed to a complainant who could then decide if she wanted to talk to police.
Police might also take action if a sexual assault was reported in a public place. For example, by taking pictures or having a look around the site.
Third party reporting was introduced in Ontario about 20 years ago and in B.C. 10 years ago.
MacLeod says this program was informed by both.
“As police, we would want people to come forward and report the crime to us, but if you’re not ready to involve the justice system, Kaushee’s can explain what the options are.”