Report A Sexual Assault
The St. Thomas Police Service is pleased to offer this new service of on-line reporting for Sexual Assault Investigations.
We understand that often times victims of Sexual Assaults have a difficult time reporting these crimes and that these crimes often cause long-lasting trauma. Our response, knowing that victims may have difficulty speaking about these incidents with friends, family and police officers, is to offer this on-line reporting tool.
By completing this on-line form, your submission will be read by a member of the St. Thomas Police Criminal Investigations Unit and followed up accordingly.
Our goal is to bring these cases to a resolution by conducting a professional and thorough investigation. Along with investigating your matter, we will provide you with assistance and the resources for on-going support during your period of recovery.
A sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, age, and cultural background. It includes, but is not limited to, unwanted kissing, touching, penetration or attempted penetration.
Sexual assault can be committed by anyone; a stranger, a friend, a partner, a family member or a person in a position of authority.
Consent is the voluntary and active agreement, given equally by participants, to engage in a specific sexual activity. Consent implies that a person understands what she/he is agreeing to, and the possible positive and negative consequences.
Consent is NOT GIVEN when:
- you are incapacitated by the use of alcohol or drugs;
- you fear the consequences of not consenting;
- you feel threatened or intimidated;
- you are coerced (compelled to submit through intimidation, threats, misuseof authority, manipulation, tricking, or bribing with actions and words);
- you are physically forced to comply;
- You say “no”, either verbally or physically (e.g., crying, kicking, pushingaway); and/or
- you have a disability or mental health problem that prevents you frommaking an informed choice.
Consent can only be given by the person participating in the sexual activity; it cannot be given by another person on your behalf, for example, by a parent, brother, sister, partner, spouse, or friend. Consent should not be confused with compliance, where you participated in any sexual act because of pressure, threats, fear of consequences or trickery.
No. You can show by your words OR actions that you do not consent. “Fight, Flight or Freeze” are all responses to trauma. Actions, such as struggling, trying to leave, or the fact that you are unable to move may all show that you did not consent.
Once you no longer agree to the sexual activity, there is no longer consent. Consenting to one kind of sexual activity does not mean that you consent to any other sexual activity.
Someone can be sexually assaulted even if he/she has engaged in consensual activity with an individual in the past – no one should assume that if consensual sexual activity occurred with an individual in the past, that it means there is automatic consent for future sexual contact – consent is needed every time.
As a survivor of sexual assault, we support the choices that you make with respect to the process and what is best for you.
The following choices are available to a survivor of sexual assault:
- you can report the sexual assault to police;
- you can get medical and / or emotional support from community support agencies;
- you can take civil action against (i.e., sue) the person who sexually assaulted you.
In Canada, there is no statute of limitation for sexual offences, which means you can report to police no matter how long ago it happened and someone can be charged with sexual assault.
Anyone can be sexually assaulted at anytime, anywhere, by anyone. This means a sex trade worker can be sexually assaulted by a client. Any sexual contact that was not consensually agreed to is a sexual assault. If you are victimized during your work in the sex trade you will not be arrested.
No. Your immigration status will not be affected by reporting to the police.
There may be certain circumstances where an officer may be legally required to ask you about your immigration status.
These circumstances are:
- a victim or witness who may require or seek admission into the Provincial Witness Protection Program;
- a Crown Attorney is requesting the information for court purposes;
- the information is necessary to prove the essential elements of the offence;and/or
- investigations where the circumstances make it clear that it is essential to the safety and security of the public, or to officer safety, to determine the immigrations status of a victim or witness.
The Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) is a specially sealed box that contains envelopes, bottles and other containers used to collect evidence. Evidence can be collected at many different points in time, however the sooner the better. There is a greater chance of collecting physical evidence within 72 hours of the assault; however evidence may still be available up to 12 days later.
The SAEK is conducted at a hospital in a Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre (SA/DVCC).
Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centres in London are:
St. Joseph’s Health Care London268 Grosvenor Street London, Ontario, N6A 4V2519-646-6100
A SA/DVCC provides emergency service, follow-up healthcare and counselling to both female and male survivors of recent sexual assault and intimate partner violence. Care is available 24 hours/day and includes: crisis intervention; physicalexamination; documentation of injuries (including photographs); testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy; forensic evidence collection for release to police (or stored at the hospital); safety planning; and referrals for ongoing support. Follow-up health care and counselling are also available at a SA/DVCC.
The process for the SAEK is voluntary, which means that your consent is required. As a survivor of sexual assault, we support the choices that you make with respect to the process that is best for you.
The following choices are available to survivors of sexual assault regarding the SAEK.
- It is your choice to have a SAEK done and ask for police involvement.
- It is your choice to have a SAEK done, but request no police involvement.(The kit can be held for up to 6 months, at the Sexual Assault Care Centre,in case you change your mind and want to involve police at a later date).
- It is your choice to refuse the SAEK and still ask for police involvement.
The SAEK is retrieved by police from the hospital and immediately turned over to a Forensic Identification Officer. A complete list of the contents of the SAEK is conducted to ensure all exhibits collected are accounted for. When reviewing the details of the case, the Forensic Identification Officer will contact the Center of Forensic Sciences (CFS) in order to obtain permission for the SAEK to be submitted for analysis. Not all exhibits are submitted for analysis. Based on the details of the case, only the relevant exhibits from the SAEK and/or clothing will be submitted.
Evidence is very important in any investigation; therefore, the collection of evidence in a timely manner should be considered. Evidence is not just limited to biological specimens, but also includes video, statements, cell phone and social media content, and other documentation. Although evidence is not absolutely necessary in conducting an investigation, it greatly assists the police with their investigation.
Victim Services Elgin
Victim Services Elgin is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated tohelping survivors of crime. They provide responsive, accessible, and accountable programs and services. They focus on restoring and enhancing the survivor’s quality of life and preventing re-victimization. There is immediate on-site support and crisis intervention, operating 24/7. They will connect you to agencies and resources in your local community for counselling, advocacy, violence prevention, safety services and outreach. Website: www.victimserviceselgin.org
Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP)
The VWAP provides information, assistance and support with respect to the court process for all survivors and witnesses of crime. The VWAP is located within courthouses across the province. To find the closest courthouse with a VWAP office, check the telephone book (all courthouses are listed in the blue pages under “Courts”). You can also check the Ministry of Attorney General website www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral
Reach Out – Mental Health, Addictions & Crisis Services
St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital
189 Elm Street
St. Thomas, Ontario