We said it back in 2014 & we still say it today. To all victims of sexualized violence - We Believe You

Monday, February 6, 2017

This was originally posted on our "Stories From the Street" blog in 2014. 

There has been much talk online, on the street, throughout Canada and around the world about sexualized violence in the wake of several high-profile incidents.
 
Much of this talk has focused around the hesitation of reporting incidents of sexualized violence to police. Although we do not have the information or jurisdiction to assist in a criminal investigation into these specific allegations, we want to assure you, we are hearing these powerful conversations. These matters are often complex and may involve several factors beyond the scope of policing, but we have one simple message to ANYONE who has been a victim of intimate partner or sexualized violence:
 
We Believe You.
 
We believe you because we know that it has taken an immense amount of courage for you to come forward. We understand that there are things far beyond a policing scope that concern you. We also understand that this is likely one of the most difficult times of your life and that this is not an easy decision.
 
We believe you because we know sexualized violence is unbelievably underreported.  We know that the amount of people who come forward are only a small fraction of the larger population that has experienced sexualized or domestic violence. We know that these cases are even further underreported in the LBGQT communities and we know that coming forward is difficult.
 
We believe you and you have a say in the direction of sexually violent investigations. We work closely with everyone who has been victimized by sexualized violence to create a safe space.  We work hand-in-hand with teams of professionals who are there to help. From the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre to the caring and professional staff at the Island Health Authority, our focus is on your safety and care.
 
We believe you, and, with our partners, are there to support you because the journey will not be easy. Your participation in interviews, collecting evidence, forwarding charges and possibly testifying will be challenging. We are here. Our support does not end at the conclusion of the investigation. We will be there for the whole process, and our partners at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre will be there as well if you wish. 
 
We believe you and even if we can’t gather enough evidence for charge approval, we believe you. The bar is set high for both charge approval and for conviction and rightfully so, but know that we believe you. Even if the charge is not approved, we will have the information and evidence lodged here and this may assist in future investigations.
 
We are a team of 243 sworn and 108 professional support staff who are here for you.  We also have a team of dedicated investigators in our Special Victims Unit and encourage you to reach out and speak with us.
 
We believe you.
 
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexualized or domestic violence, please contact us. Call our investigators through the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654. If, for any reason, you believe your complaint is not being addressed, contact the Sergeant in charge of VicPD’s Special Victims unit directly through the non-emergency line of 250-995-7654.
 
Please also know that the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is here to help as well. They can be reached, 24-hours, at 250-383-3232. In cases of spousal assault, the Spousal Assault Victim Services can be reached at 250-356-1201 or other resources at domesticviolencebc.ca or 1-800-563-0808.
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Sgt. Kristi Ross, Sergeant in charge of VicPD's Special Victims Unit was the guest of Gregor Cragie on CBC's 'On the Island''. You can listen to her full interview here: