Steven Blaney responds to RCMP voice mail mocking assault
'So did she deserve to get hit?' officer says while laughing in recorded message
The case of several RCMP officers in Nova Scotia who were caught cursing and making light of a domestic assault complainant in a voice mail message has prompted Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney to raise the issue with the RCMP commissioner.
Blaney told the House of Commons he had spoken to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson about the incident.
"Like all Canadians, I expect all members of the RCMP to conduct themselves with professionalism and respect at all times," he said Wednesday.
A woman who lives near Parrsboro in Cumberland County told CBC News she had gone to her partner's house to retrieve a cellphone that she said he took from her. She alleges that when she arrived at her partner's house, he forced her from his residence and assaulted her in the process.
She reported the incident to the police.
Last week, she returned home to a voice mail message left inadvertently by an officer with the Oxford detachment of the RCMP. Officers could be heard discussing the weather in the first few minutes, then the conversation turned to the woman's domestic assault complaint.
"The way she was talking she was very nonchalant about everything," one officer can be heard saying in the conversation.
"So did she deserve to get hit?" an officer asked. Then he laughed.
The woman filed a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP and is also considering a complaint to the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Pamela Harrison, the executive director of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia, said the comments are damaging to the work her group does.
"It had never been so blatant and so open before," Harrison said.
"One has to wonder, if one group is having those conversations behind closed doors, what are other police doing? And other RCMP? Has all the work that we've done to educate policing services gone for naught?"
The woman at the centre of the case contacted CBC News on Wednesday morning after a flurry of publicity surrounding her story.
She said she needs time to heal and has not heard directly from the officers who made the disparaging comments. She said she'll now wait to see the outcome of her complaint.
The woman fears for her safety and the safety of her children because of a previous relationship. CBC News has agreed to protect her identity.