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Supportive Reporting offers safe space

The Supportive Reporting Program is offered to survivors of historical sexual assault that have not yet reported the incident(s).

The RCMP works collaboratively with CASASC to arrange for a trauma-informed, plain clothes police officer to meet the client at a non-police location. When at this location, options for reporting the crime, providing a statement and initiating an investigation are discussed.

The CASASC Police, Community + Court Support Worker is an advocate and source of information for the client – that safe guiding presence throughout the process.

To offer these services to survivors, the RCMP unit collaborates with a number of agencies in Red Deer including the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, CASASC, Southern Alberta Integrated Child Exploitation Unit and the Red Deer Hospital Sexual Assault Response Team.

Find more info here about CASASC’s Police, Community + Court Support Program.

#IBelieveYou… Now What?

“I Believe You… now what?” was the topic of discussion on November 22 at a student-led forum at Red Deer College (RDC).

The Margaret Parsons Theatre was a full house, with several panelists speaking on the issue of sexual violence.

Two student ambassadors designed the evening event as part of the 2018 I Believe You campaign. The keynote event of the campaign featured six panelists from several disciplines and schools of thought within RDC including Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Philosophy and Criminal Justice.

Each panelist presented briefly from their perspective, which was followed by a question and answer period from students and the general public who were in attendance.

The evening was well attended and brought out a thoughtful discussion, to be continued on in to daily life, surrounding victim blaming, false reporting and the concept of creating a culture of respect.

 

Opinion: No grey area when it comes to sexual assault

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BY SARAH MAETCHE

Sexual misconduct.

There, I said it. This is a term we are hearing a lot lately, in the media, around the coffee table, even in the House of Commons.

But, what does it actually mean?

Here are a few examples of some of the headlines sweeping our news stream today on this topic: “Zero tolerance on sexual misconduct for UCP MLAs, Jason Kenney says,” “Complaints against two former RCMP doctors accused of sexual misconduct hit 80,” and “Trudeau says zero tolerance on misconduct toward women applies to him as well.”

How about a definition?

Elaine Craig, of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, words it as this: “Sexual misconduct is a lay term, sometimes used in institutional policies or by professional bodies. It covers an array of problematic sexual behaviours including sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual abuse. Two of these terms have specific (and different) legal meanings: Sexual assault has a specific meaning in the criminal law context, unlike sexual misconduct, which may cover both criminal and non-criminal conduct.”

The term sexual misconduct is broad. It does not have legal implications attached to it. The meaning of it is far from clear and is deeply generalized. Yet, here again we have a federal MP and provincial MPP both being accused of sexual misconduct.

Patrick Brown, an Ontario MPP received allegations of sexual misconduct last week. He is accused of sexual misconduct with two teenage girls (one being a high school student and the other a university student). Brown states the accusations are false and formal charges have yet to be laid.

Then there is Kent Hehr, a MP who has been accused of sexual misconduct for allegedly making sexually inappropriate comments to women during his time as a Calgary MLA. Last week he resigned from the Liberal cabinet pending an investigation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement said the government takes allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously: “we believe that it is important to support women who come forward with allegations and that is exactly what our government will do.”

This does not clear up the confusion surrounding this term.

It appears over the past few months and with the groundswell of survivors coming forward to share their stories, the media has been using sexual misconduct as a broad-sweeping term to label anyone who is accused of a nonconsensual or unwelcome sexual act or statement.

As a sexual assault service provider and advocate, I would prefer we eliminate this grey area and often confusing terminology and call it what it is – sexual assault or sexual harassment. Plain and simple.

The media should not continue to minimize or downplay these very serious allegations by using a broad, nonsensical term.

We should be progressing, with our language and thoughts, and like the #Metoo and #IBelieveYou movements, we support survivors and believe what they are saying. There is no grey area in sexual assault.

Thoughtful Films at Red Deer Justice Film Festival

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The 10th annual Red Deer Justice Film Festival (RDJFF) was held from January 25 to 27. The festival was held at the Welikolad Event Centre and showcased 12 films.

RDJFF is a non-profit event run through sponsorship and donations. It is also free to the public. The vision of the festival is promote awareness of global issues and activate our community through documentary films exploring a range of diverse topics, groups, and perspectives.

RDJFF also hosts a NGO Village where several non-profits set up booths in the theatre lobby to share information. CASASC was in attendance in the village for all three days, providing information to attendees and creating awareness of the issue of sexual assault.

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