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

A rendering of a proposed housing development located across from the beachfront in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Multi-residential development planned across from Qualicum Beach waterfront

Residents raise variety of concerns about project

Proprietor of Sweet Truck, Morgan Ray, as she hands off her baked goods to a customer. (Photo courtesy of Avrinder Dhillon Photography)
COVID-19: Qualicum Beach baker eyes move back from food truck to bricks and mortar

Storefront offers more stability amid growth in sales: Ray

The Town of Qualicum Beach will put aside money for future purchase of electric vehicle and to put up charging stations. (Photo Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions)
Qualicum Beach to put aside funds for purchase of electric vehicles, charging stations

Citizens can donate funds to help reduce emissions in town

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read