Part II of V – The problem we are having with rape crime in Canada is:
- Anyone can do rape crime and get away with it; and
- Canadian Law Enforcement has a higher percentage of rape offenders in its population than does the Canadian general population.
Under the Justin Trudeau Canada government, the 2018 Federal Budget contains a five-year allotment of funds that essentially forces the RCMP to review its large inventory of secret, dismissed rape cases. The extra budget provides the RCMP with $10 million initially, and $2 million per year ongoing, to establish a national unit that will coordinate the review of nearly 25,000 rape and sexual assault cases that were dropped by investigators as “unfounded.” Women in Canada can thank the excellent work of a 20-month Globe and Mail investigative team.
According to the Statistics Canada General 2014 Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization), there were 22 incidents of sexual assault for every 1,000 Canadians aged 15 and older in 2014. This represented approximately 636,000 self-reported incidents of sexual assault.
- The rate of self-reported sexual assault in 2014 remained unchanged from 2004; however, declines were noted over the same time period for all other types of violent and non-violent crime measured by the General Social Survey on Victimization.
- A higher risk of sexual assault was noted among those who were women, young, Aboriginal, single, and homosexual or bisexual, and those who had poorer mental health. In addition, individuals who had certain experiences—childhood abuse and homelessness—and more evening activities outside the home also had a higher risk of sexual assault.
- Among the three types of sexual assault measured by the General Social Survey on Victimization in 2014, seven in ten self-reported incidents were unwanted sexual touching, two in ten were sexual attacks and one in ten was sexual activity where the victim was unable to consent.
- Victims of sexual assault often had negative perceptions of their neighbourhood, lower levels of trust in others and less confidence in the police, compared to those who were not sexually assaulted. They were also less satisfied with their personal safety from crime and less likely to feel safe in certain situations.
- Overall, sexual assault offenders were most often men, acting alone and under the age of 35. Just over half of victims knew the person who sexually assaulted them.
The Toronto Globe and Mail Newspaper Investigation
National policing data, compiled and reviewed by The Globe and Mail as part of its 20-month investigation ending in early 2017, reveal that one of every five sexual-assault allegations in Canada is dismissed as baseless and thus ‘unfounded.’ The result is a national unfounded rate of 19.39 per cent – nearly twice as high as it is for physical assault (10.84 per cent), and dramatically higher than that of other types of crime. Photo: The Globe and Mail, Toronto, Canada
According to the Globe and Mail report:
In addition to the unfounded data, The Globe interviewed 54 complainants from across the country about their experience reporting a sexual assault to police, in order to understand how their cases were handled. For the majority of cases, The Globe was able to obtain documentation, such as police notes and e-mails, medical records, court documents, video and audio interviews, and internal police professional-standards reports. In cases where no documents were available, The Globe interviewed police, parents, friends and witnesses to verify the complainants’ accounts.
In all but 15 cases, those files were dismissed without charges. While complainants are rarely, if ever, told whether their allegation has been deemed unfounded, The Globe obtained documents that showed that seven of the 54 cases had been closed as unfounded. At least four other cases were likely closed in that way: Two complainants were charged with public mischief for filing a false report (in both instances, the charges were dropped before going to court); another two women said they were threatened with public mischief after making allegations of sexual assault.
Because unfounded statistics are kept secret – except through individual and often costly freedom-of-information requests – there is no imperative for police to analyze or account for them.
It wasn’t always this way. Until 2003, Statistics Canada released unfounded numbers. The last year for which numbers are available is 2002, when the national unfounded rate for sexual offences was 16 per cent. The agency collects data through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, a national set of standards that every police service is supposed to follow. The definition of unfounded, along with all other clearance codes, is laid out explicitly in the UCRS protocols.