MPA Major Research Papers

Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration


Political Science


Jennifer Kirkham

Geographical Areas

London, Ontario


One in five sexual assault cases reported to police are deemed to be baseless by investigating officers and are therefore coded as “unfounded”. High rates of unfounded sexual assault cases have revealed significant flaws within the justice system as women’s stories are disbelieved by the police. Coding sexual assault cases as unfounded has become common practice amongst police services across Canada as police officers continue to dismiss sexual violence against women. Police officers play a crucial role as they are the first point of contact within the justice system that determine whether an offence has been committed. Police services across Canada have been criticized for their handling of sexual assault investigations based on emerging data that exposes the high number of cases being dismissed as baseless. As a response the Province of Ontario developed a Canadian Framework for Collaborative Police Responses on Sexual Violence to provide police services best practices to address sexual violence. London Police Services implemented the London Police Advocate Case Review program in hopes of developing appropriate practices and reducing the number of unfounded sexual assault cases. Using the theory of representative bureaucracy, this paper explores how the Victim Advocate Case Review (VACR) program can impact the number of unfounded sexual assault investigations. This paper finds the VACR program is essential in reducing the number of unfounded sexual assault cases as it has proven to be a successful program.