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Changes coming to sexual assault policing standards

To support survivors of sexual assault, the province is updating the standards for police investigations.

The new standards will apply to every police officer in B.C.

It will require officers to work together with victim-services workers to recognize the individual’s needs when they first report a sexual assault.

There will also be supervisory oversight during investigations to ensure police are responsive, trauma-informed and impartial.

“All survivors deserve fair and empathetic treatment after they have experienced the trauma of sexual assault,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General in a release.

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“New policing standards and investments in sexual assault programs will empower survivors to decide how they want their case to proceed, shield them from further harm and connect them with services for a pathway to healing.”

To support this, the government is also giving annual funding for 68 new sexual assault programs.

This will include five regional sexual assault centres.

While the government hasn’t said the location for the new programs, $1,103,885 will be spread between 10 service providers in the Okanagan-Kootenay region.

The funding will start this month and the new police standards will be rolled out in 2024 to allow police and police boards to implement the requirements.

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