VICTORIA -- The Victoria Police Department is taking the unusual step of reminding victims of sexual violence that they will be listened to, respected and believed by police after several allegations against local tattoo artists were made public this week.

Multiple allegations of sexual assault against an employee of Carne tattoo came to light through social media and news media earlier this week. One employee was subsequently fired, according to the company.

Another artist at Painted Lotus Studios was also dismissed after similar allegations were made.

VicPD says the department's Special Victims Unit will investigate any such reports.

The department on Friday issued a statement saying its officers are aware of "reports of sexualized violence during tattoo appointments here in Victoria," and said to anyone who comes forward with such complaints to Special Victims Unit detectives, "you will be listened to, treated with respect, and you will be believed."

Police added that victims do not have to file a police report to access community supports, adding that locations such as the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, the Men’s Trauma Centre, emergency rooms, family doctors' offices, counsellors and other supports are in place.

The department has compiled a list of such community resources under its "We Believe You" banner.

The Victoria police said, however, that providing a statement to police before speaking to media or posting details of sexual violence online is beneficial if the matter is to proceed to court in the future.

Anyone wishing to speak with a VicPD detective can call the non-emergency line at 250-995-7654 and select extension 1 for the report desk. Police said an officer will take a complainant's contact information and arrange for a detective follow up within a week or two.