Speak Out is a new online service that allows those who have experienced sexual assault or sexual violence to report it anonymously.
Described as a “crime stoppers”-type tool for sexual violence, Speak Out allows advocates and the Barrie Police Service to gain a better understanding of the types of occurrences, the locations, and the circumstances that are happening in our city related to sexual violence, which is known to be underreported.
While filing a report through Speak Out isn’t the same as filing an official police report, your information might assist investigators in ongoing, or future sexual assault investigations, leading to a better chance of charges and convictions. The information gathered through these reports can help to strengthen our response to the community and shift the narrative around sexual violence.
“We want to make it as accessible as possible for those who have experienced sexual violence to report it, even if they’re not comfortable coming to police, or reporting it under their name,” said Valarie Gates, Staff Sergeant with the Barrie Police Service. “Any information you provide is helpful and might be the key that leads us to make an arrest or may allow us to press charges in a different investigation. Sharing your experience could help keep others safe or hold persons responsible for their actions.”
This system can be used by anyone over the age of 18, when reporting an occurrence which has taken place in the City of Barrie. Users reporting an occurrence which happened outside of Barrie will be provided with resources to access additional support.
When reporting, users are provided with a reference code, which can be used if a decision is made to file a formal police report in the future.
“The Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie supports women who have experiences of sexual assault and sexual violence. Women in our services are very often afraid to report intimate details of their experience but have a desire to protect other women from becoming victims,” said Teresa MacLennan, Executive Director of the Women & Children’s Shelter Barrie.
“The Speak Out app that is now available for sexual assault victims will be a great tool for reports to be made that respect anonymity and confidentiality of the victim. They may choose to identify themselves or not, but the app supports victims to share their experience and provide those details of their assault. That information can inform Police Services of trends, historical situations, and areas of our City where sexual violence and assaults may be occurring. Our agency has implemented the Speak Out app as another tool that women can use to empower their voice and share their stories,” said MacLennan.
Users are never required to give their names and can always choose to report the occurrence to police at a later time if they feel comfortable doing so.
For more information, or to fill out a report, please visit: Speak-Out.ca
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