Our letter to York Region Police Board about sexual assault

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After reviewing a Globe & Mail report concerning sexual assault investigations in York Region, the following letter will be delivered to the York Region Police Services Board, chaired by Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti:

 

February 16, 2017

Christopher Raynor, Clerk

The Regional Municipality of York Police Service Board

17250 Yonge Street

Newmarket, Ontario

L3Y 6Z1

 

Dear Mr. Raynor,

Please include this correspondence with your March 22, 2017 agenda of the York Police Services Board.

The Globe and Mail reports that the 5-year unfounded sexual assault rate for York Region Police is 31%. Of a total 2,058 complaints received by police between 2010 to 2014, 646 were dismissed because the police concluded that the alleged assault never happened. Of the sexual assault allegations received during this period, 790 resulted in charges being laid by police.

In comparison, The City of Toronto received more than 5 times the complaints of sexual assault over this same period of time. Yet, Toronto Police dismissed just 7% of the cases as unfounded. 78% of complaints about sexual assault received by Toronto Police resulted in charges being laid, compared to just 38% of complaints in York Region that resulted in charges laid.

Not too long ago, the Ontario Government launched a $41-million ad campaign asking citizens to help stop the spread of sexual violence. On social media, the hash tag #ItsNeverOK was used.  On television, commercials reminded us that when we do nothing, we are helping the perpetrator. When we do something, we help the victim of sexual violence. “Thanks for not telling,” was the tagline in these commercials.

With a population of 1,122,803, we see that incidents of sexual assault are under-reported in comparison to the City of Toronto.  It isn’t hard to imagine why victims are afraid to come forward to the police judging by the odds that their assault will be dismissed as unfounded by York Region Police.

Residents need to have confidence in York Regional Police and their ability to investigate crimes. We are seeking assurances that those responsible for sexual assault crimes will be brought to justice.

Other police services, such as the OPP and Brantford Police, have responded to the Globe and Mail’s report with promises to re-examine complaints closed as unfounded. It is frankly unacceptable that The Regional Municipality of York Police Service Board did not consider the Globe and Mail’s report during your February 15, 2017 meeting.

It is the responsibility of the York Police Services Board to provide civilian oversight of our police force. The issue of sexual assault crimes can no longer be dismissed/ ignored. We are asking you to direct Chief Joliffe to put more resources towards this criminal activity to ensure that victims of sexual assault are confident to report crimes to York Police. We are also seeking Chief Joliffe to provide answers as to why so many complaints have been dismissed/ ignored in comparison to Toronto Police records. And finally, we would like explanations why Toronto Police have almost twice the success at bringing charges against a perpetrator as compared to York Region Police.

We suspect that the answers to these issues lies within the area of proper allocation of resources within the police budget towards sexual assault investigations. This means that your Board and the senior management team at York Regional Police must do a better job of using budgets more effectively.

We look forward to your response to this very serious matter.

Sincerely,

Maddie Di Muccio

President, York Region Taxpayers Coalition

About Maddie Di Muccio