Reports of multiple alleged sexual assaults on the grounds at Cowichan District Hospital are under investigation. (File photo)

Reports of multiple alleged sexual assaults on the grounds at Cowichan District Hospital are under investigation. (File photo)

UPDATED: RCMP asking for other victims sexually assaulted on Cowichan hospital grounds to come forward

Security beefed up on hospital property

Island Health sent a memo to all of their staff urging caution when outside the hospital doors, reporting that there have been a number of reports of sexual assaults on the grounds of Cowichan District Hospital recently.

A memo sent to hospital staff from Island Health on Nov. 18 doesn’t get into the specifics of the alleged assaults or state how many have taken place, but advises staff and the public that the reports are being investigated by the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment in conjunction with the hospital’s Protection Services personnel and other Island Health staff.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP confirmed this news Thursday evening, saying they would like the public to help identifying a suspect, after assaults were reported to have happened between Nov. 2 and Nov. 17. RCMP were notified of the assaults on Nov. 17, and believe there are a number of victims who have not come forward.

“The RCMP are hoping to speak to anyone who has information on these alleged assaults, or who is a victim who has yet to come forward,” said Cpl. Chris Manseau, Divisional Media relations officer for the BC RCMP. “It has been circulated that there are multiple victims who haven’t yet spoken to police. They may not know that their evidence could be crucial in identifying a suspect.”

The RCMP are increasing patrols of the property by uniformed officers in marked patrol cars, and anyone who feels unsafe is should speak to one of these members for help.

CDH is also taking steps to keep both staff and the public safe.

In response to inquiries from the Citizen, Elin Bjarnason, Island Health’s vice-president of clinical operations for the south Island, said the safety of the hospital’s patients, visitors, staff and medical staff is paramount and of the highest priority.

“We are cooperating fully with the RCMP investigation,” he said.

“I encourage any member of the public or staff who may have been assaulted or have any information to contact police or reach out to site leadership.”

The memo was intended to provide staff and the public with information on what the hospital and Island Health is doing to ensure their safety and what supports are available to them.

RELATED STORY: 2019 CRIME SPIKE IN B.C. LARGEST IN 20 YEARS

It said additional protection services staff have been called in to support enhanced patrols of the hospital property.

“At this time, staff and the public should not be unaccompanied outside the building for any reason,” the memo said.

“When you arrive at work, remain in your vehicle and call [the hospital] for the auto-attendant, then [call] protection services dispatch to request an escort.”

The memo said staff who use public transit will be offered taxi services at the main door to the hospital.

It said staff and visitors can expect to see signs posted at exits and entrances in the hospital advising of the safety measures.

RELATED STORY: FIRST RESPONDERS SAY THANKS TO HOSPITAL WORKERS

“Visitors will also be instructed to contact protection services to be escorted to the hospital from their vehicle,” the memo said.

“Marked protection services vehicles will be parked at various locations across the site and the RCMP will provide an overt presence with up to 60 foot patrols daily. We encourage all staff who may be isolated or working alone inside CDH to discuss the working alone process with their supervisor.”

“We will do our best to keep you updated with as much information as possible,” the memo concluded.

If you have information about these alleged assaults or other similar incidents at Cowichan District Hospital, dial 911 or contact North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Police

Just Posted

North Cowichan’s senior environment specialist Dr. Dave Preikshot (pictured) said there’s a wide spectrum of views on carbon credits. (File photo)
Carbon credits expected to be part of discussions around forest reserve

North Cowichan acknowledges wide range of views on issue

Letters to the Editor.
Snipes prank not worth celebrating

Is another form of bullying deserving of a bronze statue?

Letters to the editor.
Money the B.C. government’s priority over health

Case numbers of COVID-19 don’t seem to back up opening the economy

Police have been kept busy dealing with a crime spree throughout the pandemic in North Cowichan/Duncan and elsewhere. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Worrisome time amid a pandemic

Huge drain on finances, rising criminal activity among the concerns

A young woman is believed to have died in a fire on the Malahat Nation reserve early Thursday morning. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
UPDATE: Woman dies in fire on Malahat Nation reserve Thursday morning

18-year-old victim alerted others to the fire, police say

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read