Const. Nicole Chan inquest jury recommends better communications between doctors, changes to VPD policy

Chan took her own life four years ago after filing a complaint of sexual assault and extortion against a supervising officer.

Chan died by suicide in 2019 after filing a complaint of sexual assault and extortion against a supervisor

A woman wearing a police uniform looks solemn.

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

The jury in the B.C. Coroner's Inquest into the suicide of Vancouver Police Const. Nicole Chan has made a dozen recommendations, including better communication between community doctors with knowledge of a patient's mental health history and the physicians attending the same patient in hospital during a mental health emergency.

Other recommendations include better respect-in-the-workplace training within the VPD and training specific to human resources duties for officers who are moved into the VPD's human resources section.

The jury verdict confirmed Chan's official cause of death to be suicide by ligature strangulation in the early morning hours of Jan. 27, 2019.

Chan, 30, took her own life hours after being released from the Vancouver General Hospital access and assessment centre, where she was brought as a suicide risk after being apprehended by VPD officers under the Mental Health Act.

The inquest heard about Chan's history of mental health struggles and that she had been intimately involved with two superior VPD officers, including Sgt. David Van Patten, who she filed a complaint of sexual assault and extortion against. Van Patten was Chan's supervisor in the VPD human resources section.

Chan alleged Van Patten told her not to report their relationship to the VPD psychologist, and he warned her that he would find out if she did because he had access to her human resources file.

More to come.

If you or someone you know is struggling, here's where to get help:

This guide from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health outlines how to talk about suicide with someone you're worried about.


Karin Larsen


Karin Larsen is a former Olympian and award winning sports broadcaster who covers news and sports for CBC Vancouver.

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