Police Services (EPS) are introducing a new tool to report current and past sexual assault incidents online. For sexual assault victims, this new tool is now another option for reporting an assault securely and without judgment.
What is Sexual Assault?
As defined by EPS, sexual assault is “an assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim.” In other words, any sexual actions that occur towards an individual without their consent (either touching, grabbing, or forced intercourse), is considered a sexual assault.
A few examples of sexual assault provided by EPS include being touched sexually by a stranger (i.e., on a bus, in a pool), or by a known person (i.e., partner, co-worker), and forced sexual intercourse or acts.
Sexual assault is a gendered crime, with women victimized at a higher rate than men. In 2016 and 2017, Statistics Canada reported that 55% of sexual assault victims were females between the ages of 15 to 25 years. Although a man may be a sexual assault victim as well, the majority of those attacked are females.
Did you Know?
Statistics Canada has indicated that only 1 in 20 sexual assault cases get disclosed to the police every year. In 2019, there were 1057 cases of sexual assaults reported in Edmonton. Unfortunately, the number of cases that go unreported to Edmonton police is significantly higher.
There are many reasons why women do not feel comfortable reporting their sexual assault incidents to police. One reason may be because 52% of sexual assault victims know their assailant. These perpetrators tend to be either a friend, acquaintance or neighbour of the victim.
EPS created this new tool for survivors of sexual assault so that they may have a secure and confidential platform for reporting their attack without having to speak to a police officer. When completing the online form, you have the choice to choose if you would like to move forward with an investigation or to report the assault for information purposes only.
Why should you report your sexual assault online if you do not plan on pressing charges?
Edmonton Police Services have recognized that they are a barrier to reporting sexual assaults. Even though EPS is here to help, some women may feel uncomfortable speaking to a police officer.
As a victim of sexual assault, you may not want to press charges towards the perpetrator today, tomorrow, or in the next year. However, your circumstances may change, and one day you may feel ready to pursue an investigation.
When the sexual assault survivor feels ready to pursue charges, the police can use the information stored in this online system to begin their investigation. That is why reporting your sexual assault incident on this online platform, no matter how long ago it occurred, is so important.
The online tool can be used in cases when:
– The victim is no longer in any immediate danger.
– The assault happened over 7-days ago.
– There is no evidence that may be lost if not collected.
– The victim is 16 years of age or older.
– There is a secure email in which police can contact the victim.
To report your sexual assault online, visit the EPS Online Reporting Police System, or call the Online Reporting Help Line at 780-391-6001.
If you are a Survivor of Sexual Assault and you would like to move forward with your case, please do not hesitate to contact our team at McGuiness Law by calling 780 900 7941.
As an all-female law firm, we are here to help support you without any judgment. We provide a free consultation and can answer any sexual assault questions you may have. If you do decide to move forward with your case, we cover all the costs, and you will not have to pay for our services as our compensation will be deducted from your settlement, and is typically lower than industry standards.