Letter Writing Campaign Support for Protecting Our Women from Violence: Reclaiming Our Safety February 26, 2013

Police Headquarters 9620 - 103A Avenue Edmonton, AB. Canada T5H 0H7 RE: Police Treatment of Rape Victim was Inhumane This letter campaign is sparked by the recent incident in which an 18 year-old First Nations woman contacted the Edmonton City Police for assistance after being violently physically and sexually assaulted. Instead of getting help for her injuries; she was placed into custody at the Remand Centre because of warrants she incurred as a youth and was incarcerated for 5 days. During this period, she was not provided access to a rape kit, counselling, proper hygiene or medical care. The Edmonton City Police website states when reporting a sexual assault, "the police officer may refer to you as the victim, as this is the term used to refer to anyone who has had a crime committed against them." It clearly states victim and not criminal. Also, "When the officers arrive, and depending on how recent the assault was, they may offer to take you to the hospital to receive medical attention and have any evidence of the sexual assault on your body documented" (www.edmontonpolice.ca/CommunityPolicing/PersonalPropertyCrimes/SexualAssault/ReportingSexualAssault.as px). She was told that she could file her report upon release. Canadian Prison Law discusses the duty of an officer on injury, illness or death.of an inmate states in Section 12 (a) & (b) that if an officer, “suspects that an inmate in the unit has a serious physical or mental illness or an injury… the officer shall advise the officer in charge of the unit and the medical officer as soon as reasonably possible.” (www.canadianprisonlaw.com/cora/frontpagerules.htm). She waited 2 days before a rape kit was performed. Despite her warrant; she should have been given the proper medical attention to be able to secure that her complaint be taken seriously and had some form of mental health or counselling opportunity. Is the precedent that you are establishing in the EPS that rape is not a crime against people with warrants? It does not take a large cognitive leap to realize that her outstanding warrant does not justify inaction towards her assault and rape. If it is protocol for Women who report such an injustice against them to first go to prison then protocol has to change. They should have access to the same level of due diligence accorded any other rape victim and not have to endure the delay in procedure through the act of being incarcerated before they can report their crime. This case shows a remarkable lack of compassion, human dignity and cultural sensitivity on the part of many individuals who dealt with and cared for this young lady. In order for police officers and prison guards to become more empathetic towards Aboriginal women, it should be mandatory that they receive training in: 1) Violence of / against women and girls 2) The police and remand guards / staff need compassion training (how to properly process a victim/prisoner that has been sexually assaulted) 3) They need knowledge of violence and colonization (that they receive a historical education on violence and colonization of First Nations people) 4) Special victims unit (too many victims of sexual abuse within the Edmonton Justice System We believe that this incident is the opportunity for you to review your current practice and improve on it. If an improved relationship within the Aboriginal Community which you service is a legitimate concern for you then you must attend to and implement significant change because doing it the way it has always been done is not improving anything. ] Sincerely,

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