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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Village of Sayward)
Sayward elects new mayor and two council members

New mayor-elect Mark Baker and council members will be sworn in on Dec. 1.

The Strathcona Regional District received Safe Restart funding from the provincial government. File photo
SRD receives provincial safe restart funding

Allocation of funds to be determined by staff

Jessi Vanderveen (left), healthyway Assistant supplements manager, and Tara Jordan, CR KidStart Coordinator,  announce that Healthyway Natural Foods will match in-store donations to John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1, up to $1,000. Photo contributed
Help John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday

John Howard KidStart needs your help this Giving Tuesday, Dec. 1. Two… Continue reading

Pathway To Freedom, a non-profit society based in Surrey, wants to open two men’s addiction recovery houses in Campbell River as early as next April. Metro Creative photo
Two new addictions recovery houses could be on their way to Campbell River

‘I just want to help. That’s my hometown. And enough is enough.’

Ian Baikie shows the new booths at the Harbourside Inn restaurant space, which is being converted to a community kitchen for Campbell River’s population of vulnerable people. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
PHOTOS: New community kitchen coming to Campbell River

Kitchen will provide a safe, warm place for vulnerable population to eat in downtown core

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Brenda Schroeder thought she was reading it wrong when she won $100,000 from a Season’s Greetings Scratch & Win. (Courtesy BCLC)
New home on the agenda after scratch ticket win in Saanich

Victoria woman set to share her $100,000 Season’s Greetings lottery win

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Black Creek actress finds success in a virtual world

Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Most Read