Data published in the Globe and Mail indicated that around thirty percent of sexual assault allegations were declared unfounded in the Northwest Territories. Northwest Territories’ rate is higher than the national average of nineteen percent.
The rate of unfounded claims does not prove misfeasance, but it cannot be disregarded either. The rate speaks to how the claims are treated, and as a society we need to make sure that all alleged crimes are properly investigated and the high rate of unfounded claims suggests this may not be the case.
The Northwest Territories’ RCMP has taken action in light of the report to ensure all cases are being properly investigated. The report was debated in the Northwest Territories’ legislature on February 17th, 2017. During the debate, Justice Minister Louis Sebert said he had talked with the RCMP’s G Division commanding officer who explained that the RCMP is working to implementing changes, as reported by CBC.
The changes include, according to Sebert, “reviewing all the sexual assault files from 2010-2014, additional training for officers and oversight by senior officers when future cases are deemed unfounded”, as reported by the CBC. These changes show that the Northwest Territories’ RCMP are taking the statistics published in the Globe and Mail seriously.
The Northwest Territories’ Minster of Justice is satisfied with the initial response, according to CBC. I agree, I think it is great that the RCMP has used the report as an opportunity to review their policies and make sure they treating every case seriously, rather than downplaying or dismissing the report.
Sexual assault raises numerous criminal justice issue, and it is great to see the Northwest Territories’ RCMP making sure that claims are not dismissed without a good reason.
This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the view of the CCLA or PBSC.