Security has been stepped up at Cowichan District Hospital following reports of sexual assaults on the property.
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP says it first learned about the assaults on Tuesday but there’s an indication the first one may have happened three weeks ago.
Security officers are now handing out notices to people as they arrive and more security officers are patrolling the hospital’s property. Police are also making frequent patrols.
“I came in the other side of the parking lot and saw the security guard and thought nothing of it but then I had to park down here because it was so full and so I came walking up and another security guard,” said Elly Mossman as she left the hospital grounds.
RCMP says they got a report on Nov. 17 of multiple sex assaults having occurred on the hospital’s property between Nov. 2 through to the 17
“Immediately the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP partnered with Island Health to ensure that this investigation was going forward and to ensure that the safety of all persons on the property was taken care of,” said Cpl. Chris Manseau with Island District RCMP.
But police say their information is incomplete and so they’re appealing for more information.
“That’s the difficult part of the investigation is that we don’t know how many victims we have in this investigation so we’re reaching out to anyone who was a victim please come forward to the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP,” said Manseau.
Those visiting the hospital say the report is concerning
“Shocking to me. Quite concerning and I felt bad for anyone involved in that way. It’s inappropriate. It shouldn’t happen so it’s good they have security,” said Chad Kervin, a Honeymoon Bay resident who was at the hospital Friday.
“Guess I will have to be cautious and come before it’s dark because often there are difficulties to find parking,” said Marie-Anne Hellincks, a hospital visitor.
Island Health is asking people arriving at the hospital to take extra precautions such as parking as close as possible to the hospital and to not walk in the parking lot alone.
If you are by yourself, Island Health recommends you call the hospital’s protection services for an escort in and out of the hospital.
Island Health says it also multiple levels of support for the victims including its forensic nursing services at the hospital.