Released on March 20, 2023
The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to announce the expansion of the Victim Advocate Case Review (VACR) program to Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and their surrounding areas.
VACRs are collaborative in nature and allow community experts to work with police agencies on closed sexual assault files and help determine challenges and identify opportunities to improve investigation outcomes in cases that were deemed unfounded. Government dedicated $92,000 in VACR partnerships in 2022-23, an increase of nearly $25,000 over the previous year to cover the cost of expanding the program to Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.
"Once again, our province is leading the way for Canada by providing funding and support to community agencies who will partner with police to review closed cases in order to improve investigations of sexual assaults in our communities and increase accountability for offenders," Corrections, Policing and Public Safety Minister Christine Tell said.
The VACR in Moose Jaw will be delivered through a partnership between the Regina and Area Sexual Assault Centre, Moose Jaw Transition House, and Moose Jaw Police Service. The VACR in Prince Albert will be delivered through a partnership between the Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit and Prince Albert Police Service.
"The Moose Jaw Transition House is honored to be part of the Victim Advocate Case Review, working alongside the Moose Jaw Police Service and the Regina and Area Sexual Assault Centre," Moose Jaw Transition House Executive Director Jennifer Angus said. "This incredible collaboration and knowledge sharing with frontline specialists is an important step in creating systematic change and improving trauma informed approaches for victims of sexual assault."
VACR partnerships increase transparency and improve the way police investigate reports of sexual assaults, leading to an increased likelihood that offenders will be held accountable for their crimes.
"The Moose Jaw Police Service values the addition of reviewers from the Regina and Area Sexual Assault Centre and Moose Jaw Transition House," Moose Jaw Police Service's Chief of Police Rick Bourassa said. "Their commitment and dedication to applying their expertise strengthens community safety and well-being."
Saskatchewan is the first province in Canada to provide funding for sexual assault advocates to participate in VACR partnerships, and it has been highlighted as a leading example for other provinces to follow.
"The Regina and Area Sexual Assault Centre is pleased to be undertaking VACRs with the Moose Jaw Police Service," Regina and Area Sexual Assault Centre Executive Director Lisa Miller said. "Sexual violence is a complex issue that is unlike other crimes. Our work with the Regina Police Service over the past four years has shown that the reviews and feedback have a positive impact on how interviews and investigations are conducted. We hope this work translates into increased charges and convictions, and most importantly, ensuring victims feel respected and heard."
The original VACR pilot project was completed in 2021 with the Regina and Area Sexual Assault Centre and the Regina Police Service. The following year, the Saskatoon Police Service partnered with the Saskatoon Sexual Assault and Information Centre to expand the VACR program to that community.
In addition to the VACR expansion, the government continues to support two transportation initiatives in the province for individuals and their families leaving interpersonal violence and abuse or in immediate need of a sexual assault forensic examination with the Northern Transportation and Support Initiative (NTSI) and the Transportation Reimbursement Fund. In 2022-23, $164,000 was allocated to deliver these transportation services across the province.
For more information, contact:Ariane Whiting
Corrections, Policing and Public Safety
Regina and Area Sexual Assault Centre
Staff Sergeant Taylor Elder
Moose Jaw Police Service
Moose Jaw Transition House