Sexual Assault Investigations Review Committee Privacy Impact Assessment

Executive Summary

The RCMP is establishing Sexual Assault Investigations Review Committees across Canada. The Committees will be composed of individuals representing agencies and organizations engaged in delivering direct/frontline services to survivors of sexual assault and will be representative of the diverse communities and vulnerable populations where the RCMP is the police of jurisdiction. The Divisional Committees will be overseen, at the national level, by the Sexual Assault Review Team to ensure national standards and consistency across divisions.

The Committees will become an important part of the RCMP's sexual assault investigations process. The Committees will be mandated to make case-specific recommendations which could lead to investigations being re-classified and/or the re-opening/taking further investigative actions for cases determined to have deficiencies that may impact the outcome of the investigation. The Committees will also be mandated to make broad-based recommendations to improve the RCMP's response to sexual assault offences and enhance RCMP policies, procedures and training.

To conduct the reviews, the Committees will have full access to select RCMP sexual assault investigation files including the personal information of all involved persons. Access to the complete file will allow committee members to make meaningful assessments regarding the investigation and help them identify any deficiencies or concerns. Without access to the full file, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for the Committee members to assess whether the information documented on file is consistent with the audio/video statements; the adequacy of members actions, and may also impede their ability to make recommendations with respect to the classification of investigations – the primary purpose of their review.

By implementing this model, the RCMP will improve its investigative accountability of sexual assault investigations, resulting in fewer cases being concluded as "unfounded" and "not cleared by charge". Not only does this serve an important public safety and law enforcement objective, it is also hoped that victims of sexual assault will have greater confidence in coming forward and reporting incidents to the police, a long-standing systemic challenge in cases of sexual assault in Canada.

Working collaboratively with subject matter experts will also help the RCMP develop a survivor-centered response to sexual assault crimes, improve the quality of investigations and enhance community confidence and trust in the investigation of sexual assault offences.

The Committee members will be selected based on strict criteria, will need to obtain and maintain a RCMP security clearance as well as sign and adhere to a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement. The Committees will not collect, retain or disclose any personal information. Further, at no time will any information leave RCMP premises and participating members will not access or rely on their respective information banks in any manner.

The RCMP is satisfied that the Committees' mandate is consistent with section 8(2)(a) of the Privacy Act and that amendments to the RCMP's Personal Information Bank (PIB) PPU 005 are not required.

The RCMP has also assessed the privacy implications of the implementation of this review model and is satisfied that an assessment of the risks has been conducted and the potential for privacy breaches has been examined and mitigated where possible.

Efforts are underway to establish Committees across the country where the RCMP is the primary police of jurisdiction.

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