Montreal police hotline for sex assault victims receives 200+ calls in 2 days
A total of 19 investigators are now assigned to take calls
Montreal police say in just over two business days, its new sexual assault reporting hotline has received 253 calls.
That number represents calls received from Thursday afternoon, when the line was set up, Friday and Monday. It is closed on weekends.
The line was established as allegations of sexual assault and harassment rocked Hollywood, with the accusations against producer Harvey Weinstein, and Quebec's own star system, as alleged victims of media personality and producer Éric Salvail and Just For Laughs founder and president Gilbert Rozon came forward.
Quebec actress Patricia Tulasne and television host Pénélope McQuade have also launched formal police complaints against Rozon this week, accusing him of sexual assault.
- 'He pushed the door and came into the apartment': Another Quebec actress alleges assault by Gilbert Rozon
- Flood of #MeToo sexual assault stories shatters 'culture of silence,' creates bonds
Those who call the line speak directly to an investigator, explained police spokesperson Cmdr. Marie-Claude Dandenault. A total of 19 investigators are assigned to take calls.
"We want to tell them in Montreal, the police, we're open, we're listening to them, and it's very important that they come forward. It's the hardest part," she said.
- The special hotline number is 514-280-2079.
- It's open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday to Friday.
In an internal letter sent to employees last week and obtained by Radio-Canada, Police Chief Philippe Pichet told officers it was possible they would receive a higher number of complaints over the course of the coming days and weeks.
Dandenault said police are conscious of how hard it is for victims to come forward, and how they are sometimes afraid they won't be believed.
"Every person is different and how they go about it is different from one victim to another, but we thought that this way we're giving them easier access to being able to file a report."
Montreal police say if the reported incident did not take place on the island of Montreal, call the local police station or report it to provincial police at 1-800-659-4264.
With files from Sabrina Marandola