Sexual assault is a serious crime often resulting in major physical or psychological injury. Under-reporting of sexual offences remains a critical issue. It is important to remember that with a sexual assault, as with any violence offence, police can play a critical role in assessing risk and protecting the survivor and other potential victims from further violence. To help police protect potential victims, every effort must be made to encourage reporting of these crimes particularly in high risk cases, or cases involving serial offenders or sexual predators. In British Columbia, Third Party Reporting (TPR) of sexual assault is a process which allows adult survivors (19 and over) to access support and to report details of a sexual offence/assault to police anonymously, through a Community Based Victim Services Program (CBVS).
TPR is an option of last resort for survivors who would not otherwise provide information to the police. It is not a substitute for a call to 911, nor is it in and of itself a police investigation. It is not to be used when the survivor or others are at risk of further violence. TPR connects survivors to specialized supports, gives survivors needed time to decide if and when they are ready to engage the criminal justice system, and provides police with critical information about sex crime patterns within and across police jurisdictions.
The BC TPR protocol is led by EVA BC’s Community Coordination for Women’s Safety (CCWS) program, which supports CBVS and police to develop local interagency protocols and to implement and maintain the TPR protocol. The TPR Protocol is guided by a provincial TPR Work Team comprised of EVA BC/CCWS, BC Association of Chiefs of Police, RCMP “E” Division, Vancouver Police Department Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit, BC Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police, and BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
If you have any questions about TPR, please contact Wendy Potter by email: potter (at) endingviolence (dot) org.