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Why Police Dismiss 1 in 5 Sexual Assault Claims as Baseless

Robyn Dootlittle in the Globe and Mail. In a 20-month-long investigation into how police handle sexual assault allegations, The Globe and Mail gathered data from more than 870 police forces. The findings expose deep flaws at every step of the process

When complaints of sexual assault are dismissed with such frequency, it is a sign of deeper flaws in the investigative process: inadequate training for police; dated interviewing techniques that do not take into account the effect that trauma can have on memory; and the persistence of rape myths among law-enforcement officials.

“What does unfounded mean to you? What does unfounded mean to anybody? It means ‘You’re lying,’.” says Ottawa criminologist Holly Johnson, who has extensively studied that city’s unfounded cases. She believes that high rates send a message that police don’t believe large numbers of complainants, “which reinforces damaging myths that women lie about sexual victimization, and could act as a deterrent to already low reporting.”

To conduct its review, The Globe and Mail requested unfounded data from every police service in the country, which covers more than 1,100 jurisdictions. Though not all forces complied with the request, The Globe received data from 873 police jurisdictions, which represent 92 per cent of the population.

How a Toronto family bought a school house in the country and made a new home.

From the Globe and Mail

How a Toronto family bought a school house in the country and made a new home.

Soon the girls were riding their scooters and roller skating down the corridor, Ms. Hawkins says. Walls were brightened with fresh white paint and new closets were built in all the rooms.

They bought a showroom kitchen from an ad on Kijiji and turned the former gym into a great room with the added perk of a stage for musical and theatrical performances.

Reya, Wini and Ruby each have a full-sized classroom for a bedroom. The former kindergarteners’ area has been repurposed as a mud room and the staff lounge has been turned into a guest kitchen.

By the summer of 2014 the place was so transformed that neighbours with a bed and breakfast suggested they start one of their own. Local businesses had more visitors than they could accommodate.South in Milford

“The community was great – they would send their excess.”

The school’s layout turned out to be ideal. Their B&B, called South in Milford, now has three suites open to guests in the summer months.

Two classrooms each have ensuite bathrooms, kitchenettes, sitting areas and doors to the outside. A massive two-bedroom suite combines the former library and offices.

Many inns in the county won’t accept guests with children or dogs, Ms. Hawkins says, so they accept families with both.

You can also read more about their adventures in their blog, Letters from the Lunchroom.  It is a great read.