The Vancouver Police Department conducted a review of the Saanich Police Department’s policies and procedures in relation to sexual assault investigations after a complaint was lodged against Saanich police in January, 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Vancouver Police Department conducted a review of the Saanich Police Department’s policies and procedures in relation to sexual assault investigations after a complaint was lodged against Saanich police in January, 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police officer’s ‘walk of shame’ comment spurs call for provincial reform

Saanich department’s sexual assault investigation process reviewed after complaint issued

A complaint lodged at the Saanich Police Department’s sexual assault investigation process has prompted calls for a provincial standard.

The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner of B.C.’s (OPCC) 2019/2020 annual report includes details from a January 2019 complaint that arose from a year-long sexual assault investigation.

The complainant said that the investigating officer had made comments and asked questions that made her feel “devalued” and “disrespected.” The officer asked her about alcohol and medication consumption, she said, and asked whether she had stayed in a park to avoid a “walk of shame.”

The complainant also said she was denied assistance from a support person during her second meeting with the officer.

The Saanich Police Board requested the Vancouver Police Department review the Saanich departments’ policies related to sexual assault offences.

The OPCC report says Saanich policies shifted as a result of that review, including a mandate that supervisors are made aware of all sexual assault investigations, designate appropriate resources and expertise and ensure appropriate rationale and evidence are documented in cases where officers don’t recommend charges.

READ ALSO: Saanich woman says sexual assault was dismissed by police because of her ‘body language’

Now Saanich investigations involving a sexual offence will be reviewed and monitored by a supervisor in the detective division, the OPCC says. The report also says the department created a policy regarding trauma-informed practices and will require training in that area for all current and future Saanich police officers.

The incident also spurred a call for province-wide sexual assault investigation standards. That recommendation, from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, calls for a “pan-justice, pan-provincial, multi-disciplinary approach.” The ministry also recommended “comprehensive preventative education and outreach.”

“The issues identified in this matter are not isolated to this one occurrence and department,” the OPCC writes. “The OPCC has also seen clear incidences of the persistent application of sexual assault myths and discriminatory attitudes based on gender identity.”

READ ALSO: Saanich officer suspended for counselling alleged sexual assault victim not to report

The Director of Police Services will begin developing provincial policing standards in the area of sexual assault investigations, the OPCC reports.

The 2019 complaint is not the Saanich department’s first when it comes to officer conduct during a sexual assault investigation.

In 2019 the OPCC annual report included an incident where a Saanich police officer received a 20-day suspension for counselling a complainant not to formally report a sexual assault.

The OPPC annual report overviews misconduct involving municipal police officers across B.C., detailing substantiated allegations and the disciplinary measures recommended. For the 2019/2020 review, the OPCC opened 83 files into the Saanich Police Department, 187 into the Victoria Police Department, 17 into Central Saanich and nine into Oak Bay.

There were 29 complaints lodged against the Saanich Police Department – nine were deemed admissible by the OPCC and six investigations were ordered.

Saanich Police Departmentsexual assault

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read