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

Just Posted

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read