Individuals can file complaints about how their case was handled. Many people do not use this system. Individual complaints do not lead to system-wide change and may only result in individual officers being reprimanded.
Details from the case reviews will not be made public to ensure privacy. However, police and advocates can report on the overall process, as well as any trends they identify and proposed solutions to address system-wide issues/barriers to justice.
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario says advocate case review is permissible with the removal of names to protect the identity of survivors and others implicated in the file.
Many organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Women’s Legal Project and regional and national U.S. executive police leadership support this model.
Front line organizations, legal and other experts on violence against women are committed to justice and accountability. The coordinators of this project are committed to working with the police to make the system better and police services are signing on and recognizing the value of these reviews.
All experts sign confidentiality agreements and memorandums of understanding with their local police agency.
Reviewers will excuse themselves from reviewing any cases where the victim (and others involved in the case) might be known to them beyond their professional capacity.
Many community members and survivors strongly support the VACR model. We have even received many requests directly from the community hoping to have individual cases reviewed. Please know that if you are a survivor of sexual assault and your case was coded ‘unfounded’, your case will definitely be included in the review process as we work for systemic change.
This model is considered the ‘gold-standard’ in improving police response to sexual assault and intimate partner violence. This model is evidence-based, has been tested (in Philadelphia), includes a 6-layer privacy protection framework, and has been subjected to internal and external review.