Saskatoon police reach out to victims and survivors of sexual assault

Police in Saskatoon announced Monday they will add a special section to their website offering extensive information to sexual assault victims and survivors.

What to expect when you report, now online

Saskatoon police have added a section to their website detailiung what to expect when reporting a sexual assault. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

The Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre (SSAIC) is applauding a new effort by local police to put more information into the hands of victims and survivors.

We know that there are sensitivities around our processes and attempts to gather evidence.- Staff Sergeant James Repesse

"I think it could give them some sense of control about what's going to happen," said Faye Davis, executive director of the SSAIC.

"For survivors, they feel completely out of control after an assault like this and they don't know what steps to take next."

"I hope it takes some of the mystery out of the process," Davis said.

Police in Saskatoon today announced they will add a special section to their website offering extensive information to sexual assault victims and survivors outlining exactly what happens when they report an alleged crime to police.  

The Saskatoon Police Service website now offers a special section that details what a survivor of sexual assault can expect in a criminal investigation. (Saskatoon Police Service)

Police post facts on reporting 

"We understand that sexual assaults are some of the most traumatic of crimes for the survivors involved. And we know that there are sensitivities around our processes and attempts to gather evidence and collect information necessary to an investigation," said Staff Sergeant James Repesse.

Repesse is in charge of the unit that investigates sexual assault.

"It's our hope and intention that by providing this information, survivors will gain a level of comfort in knowing what they can expect."

According to Faye Davis, comfort is vital for people who have been sexually assaulted, not only because of the trauma, but also because of the "shame" that victims sometimes feel.

A new era 

Davis applauded police for embracing new ways of communicating with victims using the Internet and social media. She said it is happening at a time when more and more people are speaking openly about their own survival stories.

"This is a time where we are going to see a lot more attention paid to the issue of sexual assault and how agencies or different groups work with survivors."

Davis added that reporting a sexual assault to police is just one small step in a very long healing journey for survivors. Finding additional help, like that offered by the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre, can be as important as seeking justice.

"Seeking counselling and support from others is the best way to start that process."

Faye Davis welcomes the move by police, suggesting it make help victims feel like they have some control over what's happening to them. (Don Somers/CBC)