Calgary, AB,

Update on CPS approach to unfounded sexual assaults - Philadelphia Model

As part of the commitment to ensuring sexual assault allegations are thoroughly investigated, the Calgary Police Service Sex Crimes Unit and its partner agencies are currently meeting to review case files closed as unfounded or cleared otherwise.

This is the first time the group has met to undergo training and begin the review of files using the Philadelphia Model - an approach first used in Philadelphia 17 years ago that allows independent agencies to review sexual assault files, by walking through every step of an investigation.

While's Calgary's unfounded rate remains low at approximately 10 per cent, the CPS was the first law enforcement agency in Canada to adopt the Philadelphia Model.

In Calgary, a sexual assault complaint should only be classified as unfounded when a police investigation has determined that the offence reported did not occur and was not attempted, and that no other criminal offence occurred at the reported time and location.

This week, Sunny Marriner of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, and members of Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) are reviewing case files between January and March 2018. The review will continue through Friday, July 13, 2018.

Committee members are also identifying any training opportunities for officers, and will provide suggestions on how police policies and procedures can be improved.

Along with the adoption of the Philadelphia Model, the Service is also improving the training investigators receive on dealing with victims of sexual assault by addressing the effects of trauma, and have designated an officer as the Sexual Offence Coordinator to ensure all sexual offences are being tracked and investigated properly.