Missing Women’s Commission releases new reports

FOUR NEW reports have been released by the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

  • Mar. 29, 2012 2:00 p.m.

FOUR NEW reports have been released by the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

The reports are:

“Practices and Procedures in the Investigation of Missing Persons Across Canada: 1997 to Present” analyzes information received from 20 Canadian police agencies that responded to surveys distributed by the commission regarding missing persons practices and procedures;

“Comparative Approaches to Missing Persons Procedures: An Overview of British, American and Australian Policies” provides an overview of comparative missing persons policies from the U.K., U.S. and Australia. It outlines the scope of missing person issues and describes the agencies involved in missing person investigations. It includes the degree of federal or national coordination of missing person investigations;

“Policies and Practices in the Investigation of Missing Persons and Suspected Multiple Homicides” identifies and discusses issues related to police policies and practices in the investigation of missing persons and suspected multiple homicides. This policy discussion report was developed on the basis of a review of Canadian and international reports on the phenomenon of missing and murdered women and best practices in missing person and serial homicide investigations.

This paper concludes by posing a number of questions designed to stimulate public discussion and input. These questions include:

– Are existing BC police standards for missing person investigations comprehensive and effective? What gaps remain to be filled?

– Should standards be set at the local, provincial and/or national level?

– Is risk assessment effectively incorporated into missing person policies and practices?

– What support systems are required to facilitate effective investigations of missing women and suspected multiple homicides?

The fourth report is “Towards More Effective Missing Women Investigations: Police Relationships with Victims’ Families, the Community and the Media” identifies options for improving police responses to missing person cases with a focus on “external” issues relating to how police interact with families and others reporting a missing person, communities and the media in the context of missing person investigations.

This paper concludes by posing a number of questions designed to stimulate public discussion and input, including:

– What steps need to be taken to build an effective network of support for families and friends of missing persons?

– How can police-community partnerships be developed and used effectively in both prevention and investigation efforts in the context of missing persons, particularly vulnerable and marginalized women who face high risks of going missing?

– What steps can be taken to build community skills and community engagement in missing person investigations?

– Should the media be encouraged to develop standards for reporting in missing person cases?

The commission released four reports in February and will be issuing several additional reports in the coming weeks.

Written submissions on the issues discussed in the reports and on other issues within the commission’s terms of reference are welcomed by the April 15 deadline. Information on how to make a submission is on the Commission’s website at:http://www.missingwomeninquiry.ca/ways-to-participate/

The study commission reports and written submissions received from individuals and organizations will assist in the development of the commission’s Policy Forums to be held in early May and the commission’s report and recommendations.

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry is conducting a range of research and consultation activities to gather the information required to make effective recommendations for province-wide change.

Additional policy discussion and research reports will be published as they become available.

All of the reports were prepared for consideration by the Commission and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Commissioner or Commission staff. No findings of fact will be made based on these reports and no conclusions have been reached to date on the issues raised in them.

The reports are available on the commission’s website at http://www.missingwomeninquiry.ca/reports-and-publications/

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry was appointed by the provincial government in September 2010 with a mandate to inquire into the conduct of police investigations of women reported missing from the Downtown Eastside between January 23, 1997 and February 5, 2002, and to review the decision by the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch on January 27, 1998 to stop legal proceedings against Robert William Pickton on charges of attempted murder, assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and aggravated assault; to recommend changes considered necessary respecting the initiation and conduct of investigations in B.C. of missing women and suspected multiple homicides; and to recommend changes considered necessary respecting homicide investigations in B.C. by more than one investigating organization, including the coordination of those investigations.

The Commission is currently scheduled to report back to the Attorney General by the end of June 2012.

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