18.7% of sexual assault complaints ‘unfounded’, says NWT RCMP

Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green, Justice Minister Louis Sebert, and Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy. Art Work and headline from the Globe and Mail's Investigative Report 'Unfounded."

In February, a national investigation by the Globe and Mail revealed that one third of all sexual assault complaints in the NWT were dismissed as unfounded.

Minister of Justice Louis Sebert declared last Thursday that in response to this investigation, NWT RCMP conducted an in-depth review of every complaint classified as unfounded between 2010 and 2016.

“The Globe and Mail report indicated that 30% of sexual assault complaints in the NWT during that time period were closed as unfounded. The RCMP’s detailed review and analysis adjusted the unfounded number of sexual assault complaints to 18.7%. This was because they found that a number of cases classified as unfounded were done so in error due to a coding issue and not to an investigative conclusion.”

These new numbers make the NWT pass under the national unfounded rate of 19.39% released by the Globe and Mail. However no media has yet been able to access these new data to confirm the error.

In 2014 in Canada, only 5% self-reported sexual assault were reported to police and 87% of victims were women.

RCMP Media Relations Marie York-Condon could not say how many female officers are investigating sexual assaults in the NWT.

She explained that “the amount of persons involved in an investigation fluctuates in each individual case, as does the number of female members that may be involved in the investigation.”

In 2011, a woman’s risk of sexual violence was nine times higher in the NWT than in the rest of Canada.

About the Author

Melinda Trochu
Melinda Trochu is an independent multimedia journalist from France who moved to Yellowknife recently. She has worked and lived in France, Lebanon and Australia. She is currently the News & Current Affairs Director at CKLB. If you want to contact her, here's her email: melinda.trochu@cklbradio.com

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