Ghomeshi fallout: Police chief urges sexual assault victims to come forward
WATCH ABOVE: Mark Carcasole reports on what happened the day after more women came forward with allegations about Jian Ghomeshi.
TORONTO – Less than 24 hours after the first person stepped forward claiming Jian Ghomeshi attacked her, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is asking anyone who has been a victim of sexual assault to come forward to the police.
“People may be reluctant to report their victimization and participate in the criminal investigation and a criminal justice system. Our first priority is their safety,” Blair told reporters Thursday afternoon.
Toronto Police are not actively investigating Ghomeshi because no one has come forward to the police, he said.
“We have not received a complaint of any criminality for us to investigate but we have heard the media reports and we want to make sure that anyone who has experienced that and believes they are the victim of sexual assault or any assault, to come forward and report it,” Blair said.
Eight women, seven anonymously, have told various media organizations, including CBC and the Toronto Star, the former CBC radio host attacked or sexually assaulted them at some point in the last ten years.
None of the women alleging Ghomeshi assaulted them have filed a criminal complaint.
WATCH: Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair addresses the recent allegations against Jian Ghomeshi, and explains why police aren’t investigating the former CBC radio host
On Wednesday, Canadian actor Lucy DeCoutere told the Toronto Star Ghomeshi had been physically violent with her.
And on Thursday, she told CBC’s Anna Maria Tremonti there was “no build up” to his actions.
“He took me by the throat, pressed me against the wall and choked me,” DeCoutere said. “He did slap me across the face a couple of times.”
Ghomeshi released a short statement Thursday morning saying he would “meet allegations directly.”
According to Statistics Canada statistics published on the Toronto Police website, only six per cent of sexual assaults are ever reported to police.
“One of the things that we are very sensitive to is not to further traumatize a victim,” Blair said. “One of the things that we will not do is force them to do something that they do not want to do.”
Blair also urged any victim of sexual assault to come forward to police so they can be connected with victim services regardless of whether they press charges.