Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is encouraging victims of physical and sexual assault to come forward and speak to investigators, after three different women came forward with Abuse allegations against former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi
Speaking to reporters Tuesday about the police investigation into allegations against Ghomeshi, Blair said he hopes that other victims will feel comfortable speaking to officers. However, he rejected the notion that victims should be forced to file a report.
"I think it's very important to encourage women who have been victims of sexual assault to come forward. But I think it's equally important that they not be compelled to do it; they not be forced to do it. It's their choice," he said.
The chief said officers with the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit are working to ensure that any victims who do come forward are offered a "respectful and compassionate" response. In addition to speaking with investigators, victims will also be directed to a range of support services.
"If they come forward to police they will be treated with respect. They will be treated professionally, and they'll be treated with care," Blair said.
He noted that in recent days he was "surprised" to have received letters and comments from men suggesting that the police should force victims to come forward and file a complaint.
"Quite frankly that attitude is shocking to me in the 21st century," he said. "We have worked very closely and collaboratively with various victims' support groups and women's advocacy groups over the years, and the message they've given to us, unequivocally, is that we have to be respectful of a woman's right to make those choices."