Safety for Women

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Woman being attacked from behind.

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The Ottawa Police is committed to supporting victims and holding perpetrators accountable.  No one deserves to be a victim. It is never the victim's fault. All acts of violence are a serious offence and a violation of basic human rights. 

Many crimes don't discriminate between the sexes, but most will agree that women are particularly
vulnerable to certain types of crime.  Some of the concerns expressed by Ottawa women revolve around the uncertainty of what to do in an unexpected, unfamiliar or frightening situation.

Would you know what to do if...

  • You were being followed?
  • You had car trouble while alone on the highway?
  • The actions of a spouse or partner left you feeling threatened?
  • You arrived home and found your door or window open?
  • You were sexually assaulted?

Did you know? An average of 375 victims are identified by the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section each year. That's more than one victim for each day of the year. The overwhelming majority of victims in these cases, are women.

If you don't feel safe, consider taking one of our Safety for Women Workshops.

Don't Ignore the Facts:

Don't Be That Guy Campaign ad

  • Rape is an aggressive act of violence where sex is used as a weapon in an attempt to hurt and humiliate someone. 

  • Any type of unwanted sexual contact - from touching to intercourse - is sexual assault, and it's against the law. The Ottawa Police and its partners are there to help.
  • Assault can occur any time and any place, and can happen to any person - rich or poor, and regardless of age, race or culture.
  • Anyone can commit an assault - strangers, neighbours, spouses, partners, co-workers, classmates, family members and even friends. In fact, in the majority of cases, the victim will know their attacker.
  • The majority of assaults occur in an environment familiar to the victim - home, office, school, dorm, etc.

Stay Safe - Be Alert:

  • Be aware of your surroundings - know who's around you and what's going on. Walk with confidence and purpose. Be wary of isolated spots - basements, laundry rooms, and parking lots.
  • Drugs or alcohol can cloud your judgment - recent trends like the use of various drugs and other   "date rape drugs " are disturbing.Photo of woman's hand holding her drink and other bottles and glasses around.
  • Be Aware of Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault. It could help prevent a tragedy. Whether at a bar or house party, make arrangements with trusted friends to look out for each other, only accept food or beverages from a trusted source and never leave that food or beverage unattended.
  • Make sure your home is not an easy target for criminals. Take advantage of Ottawa Police's free Home Security Inspection Program where, at your request, police representatives will visit your home (house, condo, apartment etc.) to provide a free safety audit - assessing ways to make your home safer.
  • Take advantage of or get involved in other crime prevention programs.
  • Be aware of the Bad Date Line and tell your friends about it too. Visit Crime Prevention Ottawa for information on the Don't Be That Guy campaign.
  • If you come home and see a door or a window open or broken, call the police immediately. NEVER enter the dwelling.
  • If you have car trouble on the highway, raise the hood - this will bring official assistance. If a stranger stops to assist you, use caution. If concerned, get back in the car. Speak through a slightly lowered window and ask that person to get assistance for you.
  • If you think you're being followed, change directions and woman jogging alone.look for open stores, restaurants or a lighted home. Call the police as soon as possible.
  • Above all, trust your gut feeling. If your instincts tell you that another person's actions are threatening or an environment is unsafe, then leave immediately. If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, remove yourself.

What to do if the unthinkable happens

We understand how difficult it may be to come forward however, it's important to report all incidents. If you or a woman you know has been a victim of crime, report it to the police immediately by contacting the Call Centre at 613-236-1222 ext 7300. We are here to help.

  • Try to remember points of identification about the attacker (e.g., complexion, body build, height, weight, age, type of clothing).
  • Write down the information while it's still fresh in your memory, and do not dispose of any physical evidence, such as clothing, hair, skin samples etc.

The Ottawa Police also has specialized sections and resources that may be of service: