Sexual Assault, Child Abuse and Victim Services
It is the policy of the Kingston Police to protect human life by thoroughly investigating incidents of violence and supporting victims through a coordinated community response designed to improve the quality of life.
Medical Attention and Police Aid
After an assault you should seek immediate medical attention and contact police. Being examined by a paramedic, nurse or physician will help ensure you receive proper diagnosis and treatment of you injuries. They can also provide information of tests for sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) and/or pregnancy.
It is also recommended that you contact Kingston police as soon as possible to report your victimization.
Victims of Sexual Assault
If you are a victim of sexual assault you should attend the hospital. If you need transportation the police, the sexual assault center or the hospital can help with arrangements. You should consider bringing a change of clothing. While you are at the hospital medical staff may ask if you are willing to have a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) completed. If you agree, a Doctor or specially trained nurse would perform the examination and you will always have option to stop at any time.
What Police will Do
If you choose to report your victimization a police officer will be dispatched as soon as possible to meet with you at your residence, the hospital or at any location necessary to ensure your safety and privacy. If you choose to attend police headquarters, Kingston police offer soft interview rooms where you can feel safe and comfortable.
Once you sit down with an officer to report you victimization, the officer will:
- listen to you with compassion and without judgement
- provide you with information on victim services
- provide you with a safety plan and help with a place to stay if necessary
- complete a thorough investigation
- provide you with information on the justice system
- provide you with information on your choices going forward
The officer you report to will leave his/her name and badge number so that you may contact them should you have questions or remember anything of significance. In some instances a Detective may follow up with you to continue the investigation. As the investigation progresses, you will be notified:
- if/when charges are laid by police or through victim witness assistance.
- if/when the accused has been arrested by police or through victim witness assistance
- if/when the accused is released and any conditions of that release by police or through victim witness assistance
“No one is prepared to become a victim of crime. It is a traumatic and difficult experience. Ontario Victim Services recognizes these hardships and is committed to providing victims with the support and services they need in the communities where they live.” – Ministry of the Attorney General – Ontario Victim Services
Through Ontario Victim Services, victims of crime can receive the respect and information they need.
- For information about programs and services for victims of crime and their families, see: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ovss/programs.php
- To locate services in or near your community, you can use the Victim Services Directory http://services.findhelp.ca/ovss/ or call the Victim Support Line toll-free at 1-888-579-2888.
Kingston Police Partner Agencies
Kingston Police partner with several agencies to ensure victims have access to the valuable support services and resources available to them:
- Kingston Police Path of Strength Smartphone App https://www.kingstonpolice.ca/services-resources/online/path-of-strength-app/
- Kingston Interval House http://kingstonintervalhouse.com/
- Kingston Sexual Assault Centre – http://sackingston.com/
- Resolve Counselling Services Canada https://resolvecounselling.org/
- KFACC (Kingston Frontenac Anti-violence Coordinating Committee) http://kfacc.org/. For men http://kfacc.org/do-you-need-help/for-men/
- Victim Services of Kingston and Frontenac (613-548-4834) http://victimservicesontario.ca/
- Addiction & Mental Health Services - Kingston Frontenac Lennox & Addington https://www.amhs-kfla.ca/
- Ministry of the Attorney General – Violence in the Family https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/violence.php
- Ministry of the Attorney General – Victim Services Directory http://services.findhelp.ca/ovss/
- Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres https://www.sadvtreatmentcentres.ca/
- Canadian Centre for Men and Families http://www.menandfamilies.org/
Paths of Strength App
The “Path of Strength” App has been developed by the Kingston Police Sexual Assault Unit.
If you have been sexually assaulted or know someone who has been, this App offers readily available information and resources to help you navigate through this difficult time.
The Path of Strength App provides:
The App is free and is available for Apple and Android devices at:
- Apple Store: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/path-of-strength/id1364003262?mt=8
- Google Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goodbarber.hello567&hl=en
Kingston Police Canine-Assisted Intervention Dog
Kingston Police is pleased to introduce Vernon (“Vern”) who is the first accredited Canine-Assisted Intervention (CAI) dog to be used by a police service in Ontario. Vern is a yellow lab/golden retriever mix and has been generously donated by National Service Dogs (NSD), located out of Cambridge, Ontario.
NSD is accredited through Assistance Dogs International, which adheres to the highest calibre of training standards available. NSD bred and trained Vern to specifically be a Canine-Assisted Intervention dog.
Within the Kingston Police organization Vern will fall under what is called the Canine-Assisted Response for Emotional Support (CARES) Program. Vern began his official training at seven to eight weeks of age and was placed with a puppy raiser for the first 18 months of his life. He then returned to NSD for advanced training with professional trainers. He was chosen to be part of the CAI Program and was specifically selected for the Kingston Police due to his tranquil demeanour and ability to remain calm.
CAI dogs enhance the quality of support provided to those who have witnessed or been victimized by crime and/or trauma and can be used to:
- act as an effective icebreaker for difficult conversations;
- act as a tool for those who struggle to communicate, e.g., a child who will not leave mom or dad to provide a video statement;
- provide a healthy and positive distraction to upsetting matters;
- provide the physical comfort of a cathartic touch that a victim may need;
- reduce the blood pressure of victims and witnesses;
- provide an overall calming influence to those who may be highly agitated or highly emotional;
- help to normalize traumatic situations; or
- act as a goodwill ambassador to the agency they serve.
Following are some situations in which Vern can be used:
- child interviews for sexual or physical abuse;
- assisting child witnesses to traumatic events;
- domestic violence victim interviews;
- assisting victims of elder abuse;
- assisting victims encountered by the Vulnerable Sector Unit;
- assisting witnesses to traumatic events, including in homicide and sudden death investigations;
- death notifications;
- support for court testimony by victims under the age of 18;
- support for victims during court preparation, e.g., reviewing statements;
- traumatic incident debriefings for large groups, including businesses, elementary schools, secondary schools, Queen’s University, and St. Lawrence College; or
- internal incidents affecting sworn and civilian members of the Kingston Police.
Vern’s primary handler is Detective Melanie Jefferies, who is currently assigned to the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit. A secondary handler, Amanda Smith, is a civilian employee and works within the Criminal Investigation Division. Vern can normally be found on his dog bed beside Detective Smiths’ desk when the two of them are not involved in interviews and other roles, and accompanies her home when their shift is done for the day.
There are currently nine other CAI dogs being used in Canada, predominantly found within Alberta and British Columbia. Caber from the Delta Police Victim Services was the pioneer in Canada and then Hawk from the Calgary Police Service was the first CAI dog to be allowed in court to assist a child sexual abuse victim testify on the stand. This authority comes under the “support person” provision found within the Criminal Code of Canada. Kingston Police hopes to do the same within the Frontenac County court system in the near future.
Vern has already been used in numerous interviews and court preparation sessions. The benefit to victims and witnesses has been overwhelmingly positive.