London

Advocates have pored over 129 London sexual assault cases. What did they find?

Community advocates have reviewed 129 sexual assault cases in the two years since the London police decided to open its files to groups that would make sure officers were conducting investigations properly, CBC News has learned.

The community case reviews have been done since December 2017 in London

London police headquarters at 601 Dundas Street. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Community advocates have reviewed 129 sexual assault cases in the two years since the London police decided to open its files to groups that would make sure officers were conducting investigations properly, CBC News has learned. 

The community case reviews are part of a Philadelphia Model pilot project, started by a number of police services including London, in the wake of an investigation that found this city classified a high number of reported cases of sexual assault as "unfounded." 

"They've been very open to us coming in and reviewing the cases," said Jane McGregor, one of the people who sits on the review committee. McGregor is also Anova's director of community programs. 

"It's been a learning curve for all of us." 

Of the 129 cases that the advocates have reviewed, none has led to cases being reopened or requiring any further action from London police, according to numbers obtained by CBC News through an access to information request. 

McGregor said that could be because the community advocates have been learning how police do their work, how they investigate, and what needs to be done differently. 

'A work in progress'

Reviews will continue as cases present to the advocacy committee.

"It's been a learning process for both sides and I think, as we move forward, there may be cases that may need reviewing," McGregor said. 

"We need to work together and learn about how we share information and ultimately, it's up to them (police) if they want to re-open the cases." 

The next step, McGregor said, will be to meet with the staff sergeant of the sexual assault section to figure out a process for sharing the information learned from the community reviews and how to more formally address any concerns that may be unearthed.  

"It's a work in progress, but also, the bigger picture is that we're both learning how to support people."