CWAVS announces Third Party Reporting

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CWAVS Community Victim Service is now offering Third Party Reporting, a service for individuals who were sexually assaulted but are not ready at this point to report the assault to the police.

In British Columbia, Third Party Reporting (TPR) of sexual assault is a process which allows adult survivors (19 and over) to access support and to report details of a sexual assault to police anonymously, through a Community Based Victim Services program (CBVS) or other designated community program. This “Third Party Report” is an option of last resort for survivors who would not otherwise provide information to the police. It is not a substitute for a call to 911, nor is it in and of itself a police investigation.

The intent of the BC TPR protocol is not to circumvent the criminal justice system but to build a bridge, better enabling survivors who are marginalized to access the system. The hope is that the existence of the TPR option may encourage vulnerable people to seek the help of a community-based agency and build a relationship of trust with that agency, rather than remaining invisible to and unsupported by any response system. With enough information and the knowledge that they could have support through the entire process, some survivors may choose to make a full report to police.

The “anonymous” reporting contemplated by TPR gives survivors time to decide if and when they are ready to engage the criminal justice system. An anonymous TPR report may also provide police with critical information about sex crime patterns in their jurisdictions. A key objective of TPR is to promote improved evidence collection in order to provide better assistance to survivors during court proceedings and to hold more offenders accountable.

For the survivor, Third Party Reporting (TPR) is an invaluable tool which provides an opportunity to give the information to authorities without the undue stress of concerns such as being arrested, deported, not believed or judged. TPR gives an otherwise reluctant person, who may be mistrustful of the system, a way to engage with that system and a positive experience of reporting crime. This in turn may open up other doors down the road should other crimes be committed.

TPR also:
• Provides an opportunity for survivors to access supports and referrals to assist with safety, health needs and healing from trauma
• Gives survivors needed time to decide whether to engage the criminal justice system
• Provides an opportunity for survivors to disclose in a safe way
• Provides a way to engage with the system that may lead to making a formal report

For more information, or to begin a TPR, please contact Bernadette Franke, WAVAW Supervisor

Email: BernadetteFranke@cwav.org
Phone: 250 748 7000 Ext. 102