Vernon RCMP encourages people to report sexual offences, says 'all reports will be treated seriously'

'All reports treated seriously'

Mounties are encouraging victims to report sexual offences following a Vernon supportive organization saying it’s seeing “concerning trends” in sexual violence against women.

Archway Society for Domestic Peace previously told Castanet offenders are using dating apps to set up dates and commit sexual violence against women.

Const. Chris Terleski with the Vernon RCMP says it's not a specific statistic the RCMP track, but mounties haven’t had any reports to indicate “any concern, trend, or notable increase in this type of activity.”

Archway said it continues to see people hesitate or not feel ready to report sexual crimes to police. Since August 2023, Archway’s sexual assault services program has made contact with 73 different people in the North Okanagan about options, information and support after experiencing sexual assault.

Terleski said mounties will take sexual offence reports seriously.

“Anyone who has been the victim of a sexual assault or sexual offence is encouraged to please report it to police,” said Terleski in an email. “All reports will be treated seriously, with compassion, and investigated fully. Know that it’s not your fault, you’re not alone, and there are people who want to and are willing to help you.”

Terleski says the Vernon RCMP Special Victims Unit works in close partnership with the Archway Society to ensure mounties investigations align with trauma informed best practices. He adds the partnership allows RCMP to provide the best possible support to people who have – or are – experiencing violence or abuse.

Terleski also encourages anyone using dating apps to use caution.

“Given the popularity of dating sites and online apps, we’re reminding everyone to take all necessary steps to protect yourself and the importance of safeguarding your personal information when engaging in any type of online activity,” said Terleski.

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