Woodstock police say they have finished their investigation into how they handle reports of sexual assault and are making changes that include trauma-informed policing

Posted
December 14, 2017
Article Source
Woodstock Sentinel-Review

Woodstock police announced this week they will be modifying the way they investigate sexual assaults reported to them following a nationwide call for change.

Inspector Paul Hess said a review of sexual assault investigations, dating back to 2010, has been completed in Woodstock.

The investigation was the result of a media report earlier this year by the Globe and Mail that exposed huge issues in the way police investigators deal with allegations of sexual assault across Canada.

The article resulted in Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, as well as the Association of Chiefs of Police, encouraging police services across the country to look at how they deal with complaints of sexual assault.

One of the changes Hess said the local police are undertaking is training police officers in trauma-informed interviewing, also known as the neurobiology of trauma.

"This is relatively new to us, we are in the process of getting our investigators up to speed on this," Hess said. "We want to provide the best quality of service we can to support victims of sexual assault."

Hess also said the force is looking at adopting some form of the "Philadelphia model" of investigating sexual assault.

The model allows outside agencies to assist in reviewing sexual assault investigations.

Hess said the force is in "preliminary consultations" with Ingamo Homes and Domestic Abuse Services Oxford (DASO) to assist with the investigations.

"We are looking at some version of the Philadelphia model," Hess said. "It's about the quality of the investigation and they can help us understand what the victims are going through so we can provide better service to these victims."

Meanwhile Hess said a review of sexual assaults reported to Woodstock police from 2010 to January of 2017 has been completed.

Read more: Woodstock police say they have finished their investigation into how they handle reports of sexual assault and are making changes that include trauma-informed policing