Complaints about sexual assault rejected by Quebec police forces over the past few years will be systematically re-examined to determine why they were found to be unfounded, Public Safety Minister Martin Coiteux said yesterday, reports the Globe and Mail .
The decision was made after a large-scale journalistic investigation of the high number of sexual assault complaints in police services across Canada over the past two weeks in the Toronto daily.
According to data from this survey, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) rejected 21% of sexual crimes complaints over a five-year period ending in 2014, 2 points more than the national average, and Much more than in regions with best practice.
It is the SQ itself that will be responsible for reviewing the rejected files, to verify the reasons given by the investigators to conclude that no crime was committed and not to lay charges, indicated Minister Coiteux at Globe and Mail .
For all police forces in the province, the complaint rejection rate is 17%, lower than the Canadian average, but twice as high as for other violent crimes.
The procedures for handling sexual assault complaints will also be revised for the SQ and all municipal police services, the minister said.
“We take this very seriously and want to do a thorough review to understand what led to these decisions,” said Captain Guy Lapointe, head of communications for the SQ, quoted by the Globe . The number of cases to be reviewed has not yet been determined and it is not clear whether the results of the survey will be made public.
About 40 police forces across the country, including the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial Police, have decided to reopen more than 10,000 cases since the newspaper’s investigation revealed that sexual assault complaints were rejected in a Out of five cases.