Third-party reporting is an alternative way for people who have experienced a sexual assault to provide a formal report, without having to go directly to the police or start a criminal investigation. Instead, the report is taken and kept by a community organization that is separate from the police. The community organization provides a redacted copy of the report to the participating police force (redacted means a copy with all identifying information about the survivor/victim removed). This gives greater control over the process to the survivor – they can provide information about the person who committed the sexual assault and about the incident itself to police, but without having to identify themselves or start a formal police investigation and criminal justice process until they are ready to do so.
A person over the age of 18 who has experienced a sexual assault may make a third-party report by contacting the participating community organization. At this point, the only community organization taking third-party reports is the Journey Project, based in the offices of the Public Legal Information Association of NL (PLIAN). The survivor will meet with a Legal Support Navigator working with the Journey Project, who will review the program, talk about options that the survivor has, and take the third-party report if the survivor wants to do so. This will involve the survivor telling their story and providing as much detail about the incident or incidents of sexual assault as they wish. The Legal Support Navigator may ask open-ended follow-up questions for clarity and detail.
After the third-party report has been taken, the Legal Support Navigator will prepare a redacted copy of the report, with any information about the identity of the survivor removed. The Journey Project will keep the original report and contact information for the survivor. They will then send the redacted copy of the report to the RNC for storage. If the survivor chooses, they can tell the Legal Support Navigator to ask the RNC to put information about the sexual assault and the perpetrator on the Violent Crime Linkages Analysis System (ViCLAS) for inclusion into the national database. This database can help track violent offenders and behaviours across Canada.
The police will not move forward with an investigation unless the survivor gives their permission to start an investigation. At any time, the survivor can contact the RNC or the Journey Project to start a formal police investigation into the sexual assault. At this point, they will have to give a new statement to the police.
If the RNC sees a pattern of reports about the same perpetrator/offender, they may ask the Journey Project to contact the survivor and pass along this information to see if the survivor will want to start a formal police investigation.
If the survivor decides they no longer want to participate in the Third-Party Reporting program and that they want their information destroyed, they can contact the Journey Project, which will destroy the original report and contact information for the survivor and then contact the RNC to destroy the redacted report.
To Learn More:
Contact The Journey Project at 709-722-2805, 1-833-722-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org