New funding aims to improve tracking and reporting of sexual assaults in Ontario

News Release

Project will introduce collaborative review process of police case files at pilot sites in Ontario communities

December 5, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Status of Women Canada

Gender-based violence persists as a reality for too many Canadians, and the Government is taking important steps to end all forms of this violence in Canada.

As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Status of Women and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South, on behalf of the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, today announced new funding for an important project that will improve the tracking and reporting of sexual assaults by law enforcement authorities in Ontario communities. The new funding was awarded through the Funding to Advance Gender Equality call for proposals and follows the release in June of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.

Under this project, the Ottawa Coalition To End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) will work with women’s sexual assault centres, shelter networks, and police services to pilot the Philadelphia Model at seven sites in Ontario communities. The Philadelphia Model is a collaborative review process that allows outside experts to review police case files to help identify any missteps in the investigative process and alert investigators to worrying trends. This innovative approach has resulted in a decrease in the number of misclassified sexual assault cases in the United States.

The funding announcement coincides with the 16 Days of the Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, a commemorative campaign that shines a light on gender-based violence and its devastating impacts on individuals, families and communities. This year’s theme, My Actions Matter, reinforces that individual actions can make a difference and help bring an end to gender-based violence. Now and throughout the 16 Days, show your support by joining the conversation using the hashtag #MYActionsMatter.

Quotes

“We have long known that sexual assault goes widely unreported, and that to address this persistent challenge, we need a different approach. That is why this new project, from the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women is so important: OCTEVAW is showing real leadership with this innovative model. But more than that, this project brings hope for change in a process that has long failed the survivors of gender-based violence.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Status of Women

“We welcome the government’s investment in an initiative that seeks to improve the response to sexual assaults survivors. With this new funding, we can position frontline expertise at the forefront, and start the process of building a more responsive justice system. Public trust is paramount, and this model has illustrated an ability to foster collaboration and enhance policing.”

Sunny Marriner, Executive Director
Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre

Quick Facts

  • In 2017, an extensive investigation by the Globe and Mail examined why police dismiss one out of every five sexual-assaults claims as unfounded. Data was gathered from more than 870 police forces.

  • The Philadelphia Case Review Model review system was first used in the U.S. in 2000 after an investigation by The Philadelphia Inquirer revealed police in that city were dismissing a disproportionately high number of sexual assault complaints as unfounded.

  • OCTEVAW will receive $399,500 in funding through Status of Women Canada for a project to adapt the Philadelphia Model to the Canadian context and pilot it at seven sites in Ontario, including Ottawa.

  • Status of Women Canada is funding over $18 million in projects to advance gender equality across Canada.

  • The Women’s Program at Status of Women Canada supports eligible organizations to carry out projects to advance equality by addressing systemic barriers that contribute to gender inequality in Canada.

  • The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence start on November 25 with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and end on December 10 with International Human Rights Day. They also include the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women on December 6.

  • In June 2017, the Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, announced $100.9 million for the first federal strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. The Strategy is based on three pillars: prevention, support for survivors and their families, and promoting responsive legal and justice systems.

Associated Links

Contacts

Célia Canon
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Status of Women
613-862-3270

Léonie Roux
Public Affairs Officer
Status of Women Canada
819-420-6821


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