Sexual Misconduct Response Centre - Annual report 2016-2017 - Mandate and Services

The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) was established in September 2015 in response to the recognition by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) that there was a need to better support and facilitate access to services for members who have been affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behavior.

The SMRC operates as part of the Department of National Defence under the authority of the Deputy Minister of National Defence. Independent from the chain of command, the Centre provides CAF members who have experienced or been affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour with confidential support, information and facilitated access to services.

The mission of the Centre is three-fold:

Provision of Support

The SMRC provides confidential supportive counselling by telephone or email to CAF members. Its goal is short term and is focused on active listening, identification of options, provision of information on resources, and facilitated access to services provided by the vast network of internal and external resources (see insert).

The Centre’s focus is exclusively on harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour and provides members with the option of anonymity and confidentiality without the requirement to report to the chain of command or the Military Police.

There is no triage or prioritizing of calls received to ensure that support is as direct and immediate as possible. At the same time, the bilingual counsellors endeavor to ensure continuity of contact with the same counsellor if multiple calls and contacts are made.

Members of the chain of command also reach out to the SMRC either seeking information on available resources, and/or looking for assistance on how best to support members who have approached them directly.

The SMRC greatly benefits from the Military Liaison Team which forms an integrated part of the SMRC service delivery model. The team may respond directly to inquiries related to military processes and policies or provide access to the military police when such contacts are requested by affected members or the chain of command.

Advisory Role to the DND/CAF

In addition to supporting members who have experienced or have been affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, as well as members of the chain of command who seek guidance on how to deal with specific situations, the SMRC provides information to the CAF on trends based on aggregate data gleaned from interactions with CAF members. The longer the SMRC has been operational, the deeper the knowledge base on barriers and systemic issues faced by members. As a result, the Centre is better able to support individual members and to advise the CAF on any trends in an effort to assist in promoting the necessary culture change. The SMRC also provides input into training packages and policies developed by the CAF.

Mandate and Service Promotion

Lastly, the SMRC is mandated to promote its services in an effort to inform and encourage members to come forward and seek services that best meet their needs.

Supportive Counselling includes:

  • Active and empathic listening;
  • Verifying immediate safety;
  • Assisting with identifying and communicating needs;
  • Validating emotions;
  • Acknowledging barriers, recognizing strengths and respecting coping strategies;
  • Providing information on available resources, formal reporting options and complaint mechanisms; and
  • Facilitating access to resources.
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