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The results come from an independent group tasked with reviewing sexual assault cases closed by Saskatoon police officers without charges being laid.
Feedback from reviewers has prompted changes that have meant improving the reporting process for survivors.
Police operations across the country are under national scrutiny after an investigation by the Globe and Mail revealed that 19 per cent of sexual assault complaints in Canada were deemed unfounded by the police between 2010 and 2014. basis” on cases means that the police investigate and the Officers decide that a crime did not occur.
Saskatoon Police collaborated with staff from the Saskatoon Sexual Assault & Information Center (SSAIC) to conduct a review in 2022. The reviewers examined 172 police files for strengths, weaknesses and potential concerns. They concluded that 42 of the closed files (24 per cent) required a closer look from police management.
Some files have been reopened, although no charges have been laid as a result.
“We can’t print any kind of proof going forward, but it helps us to have a more rational approach. The most important part is that now it establishes a tree and sets a standard for that the researchers of behavior- the future sexual role must follow,” said Supt. Patrick Nogier with the Saskatoon Police Service.
On Thursday, Nogier presented a report on the 2022 Case Review Analyst to the city’s police commission.
Nogier said SPS has already taken steps to improve the way it works with people reporting sexual assaults because of the review team’s feedback.
“The common language to me – in regards to communication to the survivor of sexual assault – is considered to be a little problematic from the victim advocate lens.”
Reagan Conway, executive director of SSAIC, told the committee of police commissioners that one of their concerns is the way officers provide case updates to victims. He notes certain sentences can make victims blame themselves or feel as if they are not a “good victim.”
“There is not enough information as to why it continues or [the investigation] He just shut down because he couldn’t go any further, and so we give suggestions on how to give those feedbacks without the victim feeling that it’s their fault. “
Officers now have sentences and handouts from SSAIC. Conway said he hopes the partnership leads to better experiences for survivors of assault, whether that’s helping them understand why charges aren’t being brought or allowing investigators to look at another case.
Sexual violence is common, but under-reported
Sexual violence is surprisingly under-reported, which is part of the reason why it’s important that reported cases are fully investigated and that victims trust that they will be taken seriously, Kristina Kaminiski, regional justice coordinator partner for Saskatchewan Sexual Assault Services.
Kaminski has been involved in regional and national conversations about case review programs, which have been in development across Canada for more than a decade. He said the programs are about bringing two groups of experts together to highlight what is being done well and to solve problems or identify barriers.
“The whole point of this is that the survivors individually won’t have to force themselves to get the justice system and advocate for their case – to create the FOI and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? ?I don’t understand why charges aren’t being filed,'” he said.
He said tweaks to the language used by officers could prevent further harm during the reporting process.
“Then the rest can be sure that they can leave the criminal justice process and not let it be a re-traumatic, sad experience.”
He said police transparency allows these agencies to better understand the process, from the initial report to its conclusion.
In Saskatoon, the review team has unlimited access to copies of all police reports, file assignments, videos, interview transcripts and medical reports. Reviewers consider things such as completeness of files, interview process, interview approaches to questioning and references.
Kaminski noted Saskatchewan has some of the highest rates of sexual and domestic violence in the country.
It’s not just violence that’s a problem, but also the beliefs and attitudes about violence that allow it to continue and go unchecked in Saskatchewan, he said.
“Our understanding of sexual violence in general, I think in this area, is incredibly poor and there is a lot of oppression and myths.”
He says programs like the case review model can drive positive change.
He said it’s important survivors feel comfortable with police and a step toward that is knowing there will be a second set of eyes — someone with a different perspective — on the file.
Kaminski said similar review programs are coming to Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.
As for Saskatoon, the case review program will continue to 2023 and Nogier said SPS is considering different methods of reporting that could make it easier for victims to come forward.