Stigma around people who have been sexually assaulted is unfortunately common in Canada.
Especially in smaller communities, where everyone knows everyone.
Folks who have been sexually assaulted can face backlash if they speak up. Because of that, according to Statistics Canada, only 6 percent of sexual assaults on those 15 and older are actually reported to police.
A new program on the NorthIsle is looking to change that.
The North Island Crisis & Counselling Centre (NICCC) and the RCMP have just announced the launch of Third Party Reporting.
This allows people to report details of a sexual offence to police “anonymously” through a third-party organization, in this case, the NICCC.
“We are able to provide this service to people who have been sexually assaulted but who are not presently prepared to approach police directly or to engage in court services,” said NICCC in a statement.
The service has been extremely beneficial in many other BC communities.
The name of the person coming forward is kept confidential. The process doesn’t charge the perpetrator or take them to court, but it makes sure that person’s name and details from the assault get registered in police databases.
It is also a good way for people to recount what happened shortly after the assault, which gives them a better shot at pursuing legal action in the future.
Anonymous reporters still have the right to make a direct police report at any time, even after a third party report has been made.
“Third Party Reporting can be used after all other alternatives have been explored, and it provides additional options for survivors who want their experience reported and their story heard,” said NICCC.
Through the process, NICCC staff are also able to give additional support and offer services.
All four North Island RCMP detachments, including Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Port Alice, and Alert Bay, have signed protocols with the NICCC to make this program a reality.
It seems like a vital service to have at the moment. Consent is reportedly still a confusing concept for a lot of Canadians.
A new study conducted by the Canadian Women’s Foundation has shown that only 45 percent of people understood that continuous consent is required during sexual activity.
That means just because someone said yes at the beginning doesn’t mean they’re down for whatever. You still have to make sure whoever you’re with is into whatever you’re doing.
This also means that over half of us don’t understand Canadian law. The law says that consent has to be both positive and ongoing.
“It’s alarming that so many still don’t understand,” said Paulette Senior, president and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, in a press release. “It’s a sign that Canada desperately needs to invest in consent education and effective abuse prevention measures relevant to all age groups.”
To make a report or for more info on Third Party reporting, you can contact TPR workers Melissa or Donna at the NICCC by calling (250) 949-8333, or contact your local RCMP detachment. You can also email email@example.com and your email conversation will be kept private.
For more information about the NICCC, please go to www.nicccs.org.