Edmonton, Alberta – In a commitment to ensuring a victim-centred and trauma-informed response is provided to all survivors of sexual violence, the Alberta RCMP is expanding its response to sexual crime. With new dedicated teams and positions across the province and a new web page with tools and information for the public, the Alberta RCMP is highlighting the importance of understanding the impact of sexual and domestic crimes in our communities during Sexual Violence Awareness month.
Sexual Violence Awareness for the month of May began in 2018 when the Government of Alberta launched a commitment to working towards ending sexual violence. On average, there are about 2500 calls for service relating to sexual violence each year. In 2021, there was just over 3000 sexual offences reported to the Alberta RCMP which was an increase from the previous year.
Having specialized teams in place for sexual violence occurrences has proven to be valuable for centralizing service and having specific expertise to support survivors. In 2020, a Specialized Investigative Unit was piloted in Grande Prairie and surrounding areas to focus on investigating sexual assault and domestic violence offences. After a successful pilot year, the team is now in full operation and the Alberta RCMP implementing similarly focused teams and positions across the province. Most recently, Wood Buffalo RCMP created their own unit, Airdrie RCMP and Parkland RCMP have dedicated positions, and Strathcona County RCMP is currently in the process of developing new dedicated roles.
In working with and responding to survivors of sexual violence crime, education and understanding about the impact of the crime and the needs of survivors is vital. The Alberta RCMP has set up a new web page with detailed information for the general public and a centralized location for resources for survivors: https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ab/community-communaute/sa-as/index-eng.htm.
The Alberta RCMP has also established important relationships with community sexual assault centres and other partners to allow for more comprehensive service for the survivors of sexual assault including support for children and youth. The dedication of our community partners is vital to the work we are doing collaboratively to support survivors and bring awareness to the public.
Recently, Corporal Courtney McCarron attended the International Conference on Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Reimagining Justice in San Francisco. “Being a voice for sexual violence is being a voice for generations to come. Our work is crucial to ending the crippling effect of trauma associated with these crimes of power and control,” said Cpl. McCarron. “We need to support victims and they need to always know that the assault is never their fault.”
If you are a survivor of, or witness to, sexual violence or any criminal activity, please report it to local police or contact your nearest sexual assault or community-based Victim Services agency for appropriate support and reporting options.
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