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Some RCMP officers need additional training with sexual assault cases

A report from the Sexual Assault Investigations Review Committee suggests some RCMP officers in the NWT require more training when it comes to dealing with sexual assault cases. 

The committee met in December 2019 and June 2020, and looked at randomly selected cases in seven different communities.

While they found officers generally responded timely, thoroughly and with empathy, some officers needed more training. 

Some investigation reports were found to include the officer’s personal opinion when it wasn’t relevant to the investigation. The committee also found documentation about discussions with the victim and suspect sometimes weren’t documented properly, as well as officers in some instances failing to explain the procedure of the investigation to victims properly.

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The committee recommended some investigators receive additional training on consent, rape myths and levels of intoxication, and in interviewing youth victims. 

The committee added victims should also be given the opportunity to provide statements to an officer in the gender of their choice.

In the Northwest Territories, 52 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men reported having been sexually or physically assaulted since the age of 15, according to a report from Statistics Canada. Women are three times as likely to have been assaulted at least once since the age of 15.

In December 2017, the RCMP released a sexual assault review and victim support action plan, which provided the framework for RCMP divisions to establish external review committees.

Cpl. Jesse Aubin, NT RCMP Family Violence Coordinator, a RCMP spokesperson, said in a statement they look forward to working with the committee in the future.

The committee’s next review will be held in April 2021.

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