The Strathcona County RCMP has made some changes to help victims of sexual assault.
They teamed up with the Saffron Sexual Assault Centre to implement a Supported Reporting Protocol (SRP). The goal is to increase comfort levels in reporting sexual assaults and offering more freedom of choice surrounding the reporting process itself.
"The Supported Reporting Protocol changes the scope of reporting sexual violence and gives survivors more decision-making power, creating a trauma-informed process," stated Kiara Vroman, coordinator of justice, research and outreach for the centre.
Survivors will now have the ability to provide a statement to police at the Saffron Centre rather than a police station if they wish to do so. They will also get the option to have a victim advocate accompany them during the interview.
“Survivors will also have access to the many support systems that SAFFRON has available in dealing with victims of trauma,” said Sergeant Andrew Kyle of the Strathcona County General Investigation Section.
The SRP can be applied to any non-urgent sexual assault complaints brought to Strathcona County RCMP, which are complaints that are not the result of a 911 call and do not require a visit to the hospital for immediate forensic examination.
Files involving youth under the age of 16 will continue to be referred to the Zebra Child Protection Centre in Edmonton, whose staff specialize in supporting children and youth through the police and court process.
According to Saffron's 2020 stats, most of their clients are women, and their biggest demographic is adults between 25-64, followed by teenagers ages 13-17. The number of cases they dealt with also doubled from 2018 to 2020.