Members of the Ontario Provincial Police say they’re concerned with a rise in sexual assault investigations in northwestern Ontario.

The OPP report that 2021 was the highest year on record for sexual assaults, with 429 incidents reported – representing a 31 per cent year-over-year increase for the region compared to 2020, which had 327 investigations.

The OPP then broke down sexual assault investigations in the North West Region, with a high number being reported locally. Investigations include 85 in Kenora, 26 in Dryden, 112 in Sioux Lookout and 58 in Red Lake.

Other communities in northwestern Ontario include 24 in Thunder Bay, 14 in Nipigon, 18 in Marathon, 41 in Greenstone and 51 in Rainy River.

According to a 2019 report from the Department of Justice, it’s estimated that only five per cent of victims will report a sexual assault to police. Frequent reasons to not report include feeling ashamed or embarrassed, did not know how to report the abuse, or they had no support.

The OPP encourages everyone to learn more about sexual assault by visiting 1istoomany.ca, which includes important information on consent, supports of victims and the process of reporting sexual assault to police.

To report a sexual assault, you’re asked to call 1-888-310-1122 or dial 911 in an emergency.

Other resources include:

Assaulted Women's Helpline
Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511 (multilingual services available)
Toll-free TTY: 1-866-863-7868
or #SAFE (#7233) on your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus mobile phone

Women's Shelter, Saakaate House 

Kenora Sexual Assault Centre

Women's Place Kenora