Victim services, provided in a timely manner, play a critical role in reducing the harmful effects of victimization and re-victimization.
From a call for help, to the investigation of a crime, to an offer of a referral, police work in close partnership with victim services organizations to ensure victims of crime receive the support they need without delay.
The RCMP will always seek to obtain consent for a referral to victim services from the victim themselves. However, the RCMP's victim assistance policy and referral process allows proactive referrals in specific situations.
Victims are not always in a position to provide informed consent at the time of an incident. This may be as a result of trauma, the nature of the crime they have suffered and/or their current state ie. unconscious or alcohol or drug involvement. The policy allows RCMP officers to conduct an assessment of each situation to determine if conditions exist for a proactive referral to victim services to be made.
When there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, physical or emotional harm or economic loss as a result of a crime, offence or other incident that has been investigated by the RCMP or where the RCMP has provided assistance, police are allowed to pass on a victim's limited personal information to a victim services organization. A proactive referral can also be made when a police officer believes it would be in the victim's best interest.
The policy recognizes that the victim service worker, as the trained professional, is the best person to explain the services they can offer. The policy also ensures a balance between a victim's privacy concerns and their right to receive these services.
If the victim chooses not to use the available assistance, no further contact will be made. However, they will be encouraged to contact victim services should they change their mind in the future.
The personal information that can be shared with victim services is limited to information necessary for victim service workers to safely and effectively make contact with the victim to obtain their consent. The safety of both the victim and the victim service worker is key and therefore the information that can be disclosed in a proactive referral is limited to: the victim's name, address, telephone number, gender, age and language preference. In serious incidents, the name and location of the accused (if known) will be disclosed to the Victim Services Organization/worker. A brief summary of the circumstances of the incident and information such as the presence of drugs, alcohol or firearms may also be shared.