The Penticton RCMP is expected to provide an “educated explanation” about the high number of ‘unfounded’ sexual assault reports the detachment reported in 2018. (File Photo)

The Penticton RCMP is expected to provide an “educated explanation” about the high number of ‘unfounded’ sexual assault reports the detachment reported in 2018. (File Photo)

Penticton RCMP reviewing sexual assault claims

Thirty-eight per cent of the sexual assault reports in 2018 were deemed “unfounded” by RCMP

The Penticton RCMP are looking into the alarmingly high number of sexual assaults that were deemed ‘unfounded’ in 2018 and will provide further details next week.

According to Statistics Canada, 11 of 29 sexual assaults reported to the Penticton detachment last year were deemed ‘unfounded,’ meaning the investigation determined the offence didn’t occur and cannot be reclassified as another offence.

READ MORE: Penticton sexual assault stats may not be accurate, says SOWINS

This equates to nearly 38 per cent of the sexual assault reports the attachment received, which is more than double the provincial average at 15 per cent.

“Our management is currently reviewing these stats to provide an educated explanation and response,” said RCMP Const. James Grandy.

“I hope next week we should have an official statement.”

Debbie Scarborough, executive director of the South Okanagan Women in Need Society, said last week that she was concerned about what the numbers weren’t saying.

“I have to be honest, 18 in a town this size, it makes me wonder why the stat is so low,” said Scarborough.

“We know statistically across Canada that one out of 10 people report when they’ve been sexually assaulted, so when I see 18 proven, I think 180. So of 180 sexual assaults, we have 18 that came forward and were proven.”

Data from Statistics Canada found a similar trend in Kelowna, where 35 out of 88 sexual assault reports were deemed ‘unfounded’ in 2018.

Under pressure to explain the discrepancy with provincial statistics, the Kelowna detachment recently said the B.C. RCMP have conducted a preliminary review of Kelowna’s sexual assault reports from 2018. The RCMP’s Sexual Assault Review Team at its national headquarters are also expected to review the 2018 and 2019 files.

READ MORE: Nearly 38 per cent of sexual assaults in Penticton deemed “unfounded”