Reports of sexual assaults to Salmon Arm RCMP jump substantially during last three months of 2021, SAFE Society says such assaults tend to be ‘vastly under-reported’ across Canada. (File photo)

Reports of sexual assaults to Salmon Arm RCMP jump substantially during last three months of 2021, SAFE Society says such assaults tend to be ‘vastly under-reported’ across Canada. (File photo)

Reports to police of sexual assaults in Salmon Arm rise substantially near end of 2021

SAFE Society says sexual assaults ‘vastly under-reported,’ offers supports to survivors

The number of sexual assaults reported to police at the end of 2021 was up substantially over the same period in 2020.

When providing statistics to Salmon Arm council recently, Staff Sgt. Scott West said sexual offence reports had risen, which “may be in part due to increased awareness, as well as us instituting, with the help of the SAFE Society, third-party sexual assault reporting…”

The number of sexual assaults reported to Salmon Arm RCMP in October, November and December 2021 was 13 in the city, a jump from just one during the same period in 2020. In the rural area surrounding the city that Salmon Arm polices, those reports went from two in the fourth quarter of 2020 to three in 2021.

The third-party reporting West referred to is an anonymous reporting option.

Asked for more information regarding sexual assaults in the community, the SAFE Society stated in an email such assaults continue to be under-reported.

“We know from self-reporting studies that sexual assault is a vastly under-reported crime and the only form of crime not declining in Canada (Canadian Women’s Foundation). The SAFE Society continues to work collaboratively with the police to ensure systemic barriers are addressed in the Shuswap.”

The society stressed its commitment to working collaboratively with community partners to ensure all survivors of sexual assault have access to the support, care and reporting options of their choice.

“This includes working with multiple RCMP detachments within the Shuswap area, health-care providers and other community partners to improve systemic barriers.”

In addition, the society said it provides specialized support for sexual assault survivors, with or without police involvement, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, to ensure they have access to timely, compassionate and ongoing support, empowered with information, so they can make decisions centred around their wishes.

“All survivors who wish to do so are supported to make a police report, which can include a full report, information only report, or anonymous Third Party Reporting options,” the society stated.

The SAFE Society’s Sexual Assault Support Services can be reached at 778-489-0508 during regular business hours or 24 hours per day at 250-832-9616.

Read more: ‘Pretty remarkable’: SAFE Society offers new expanded response to sexual assaults

Read more: Salmon Arm council told ‘no community is immune to child sex trafficking’




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