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

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

North Island Gazette
EDITORIAL: What to do about homelessness in Port Hardy

‘people suffering from homelessness deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion’

North Island Eagles logo
North Island Eagles give update on the upcoming 2021-2022 season

The North Island Eagles minor rep hockey teams are getting ready for… Continue reading

Ma Murrays 2021 virtual ceremony screenshot
North Island Gazette wins big at 2021 Ma Murray Newspaper Awards

Zoe Ducklow and Bill McQuarrie both won gold at the online ceremony

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read