Ottawa Police Badge on a neon yellow jacket.A recent article published by Metro Ottawa on March 27, 2016, found that “more than 2,000 sexual assault complaints to the Ottawa police over a 15-year period have been deemed unfounded.” According to Sunny Marriner, executive director of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre and one of CFICE’s Violence Against Women hub partners, this number is significantly out of proportion with the statistical rates of fabricated sexual assault reports: “Evidence shows us that people only fabricate sexual assault reports approximately 1 to 2 per cent of the time. So, the discrepancy between what we know to be true about the level of fabrication versus what we see in unfounded categories is deeply problematic,” said Marriner.

Here is a snippet from the Metro Ottawa article:

“More than 2,500 sexual assaults reported to the Ottawa Police Service within the past 15 years have been deemed unfounded – a statistic one victims’ advocate says is “shocking.”

Even a veteran Ottawa police officer struggled to find the words to put that number into context. “I have a really hard time commenting on that. The number is what the number is,” said Insp. John Maxwell. “I have to trust in my detectives that they’ve done complete, thorough investigations and that there simply wasn’t enough evidence to lay a charge.”

This photo is taken from the top of a woman's head as she lays on her back with her arms crossed over her legs. The top of her head are in focus, while the rest of her body is out of focus.Metro requested information on the number of sexual assaults deemed unfounded between 2000 and 2015 from Ottawa police under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

There were 2,538 sexual assault cases deemed unfounded in that period, according to the data. In 2012 alone, there were 220 reported sexual assaults that the police deemed to be unfounded.”

Read the full article or learn about the Violence Against Women hub’s work on how campuses and local police forces are dealing with sexual violence on campus.