News Article: ‘Crisis in policing’

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kristen Thompson,
April 25, 2008

Delegates at an international conference in Vancouver on violence against women said 70 per cent of abused women don’t call police for fear of not being taken seriously.

Lee Lakeman with the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres said abused women tell her they’re “defeated in the initial stages of policing.”

She said 9-1-1 calls aren’t connected immediately, police take too long responding to calls or don’t show up at all, and cases get dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

Louisa Russell from the Vancouver Rape Relief Centre said the “crisis in policing” means most violent abusers never see a courtroom.

“When you mix violence with a lack of police response, it’s a lethal cocktail,” she said.
Nicole Westmarland, with Rape Crisis England and Wales, said Canada is perceived abroad as being a leader in women’s rights.

“We’re told things are better in Canada and we come here and find that’s not the case,” she said.

Vancouver Police Const. Jana McGuinness told news1130 radio that calls from abused women are taken seriously, and that convictions are low in part because women are often reluctant to come forward.

“It can be challenging to get witnesses in court,” she said.