Thursday, July 23, 1998

Canadian Press

p. C3.

Rape victims rate police performance

A unique system of surveys suggests Toronto police have made progress in dealing with rape victims, and has also helped identify the kind of problems that led a judge recently to blast the force's approach.

Police started the year-long pilot project last December to give victims the chance to comment anonymously on their experience with the force.

"They have an opportunity to say, "This stinks," said Detective Wendy Leaver, a member of the sex crimes unit who heads the pilot project.

This month, a judge blamed systemic sexism for he way police handled a 1986 rape investigation.

After the Jane Doe ruling, Toronto police protested their procedures have changed a lot in the past 12 years, and cited the survey as an example.

Among other things, the four-page, multiple-choice questionnaire asks victims to rate how the first uniformed officer on the scene treated them, their experience with medical professionals, and how the case was handled in general.

Most complaints are still about uniformed officers, the survey show. One respondent said the officer she dealt with scared her as much as her attacker had.

The force's stand-alone sex crimes unit was almost universally praised in the survey responses.

The survey suggests some victims want to be kept better informed of the status of their case, while others don't want to hear from police until a court date has been set.

"Balcony Rapist" case... [Fiona Stewart]

Created: February 14, 1999
Last modified: February 14, 1999

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