A Year In Review | Section 2: Military Liaison Team
Section 2: Military Liaison Team
The military liaison team is comprised of a Military Liaison Officer (MLO), a Military Police Liaison Officer (MPLO) and a Military Plans Officer (MPO). These three positions, which are embedded within the SMRC, contribute to the effectiveness of the response and support services provided to CAF members, including the chains of command.
Figure 9 depicts the number and type of contacts to the MPLO. Twenty-seven were direct contacts from CAF members to the MPLO, while 47 entailed facilitated access from a Counsellor, and 17 were transferred directly to the MPLO following contact with a Counsellor. Two cases were transferred directly to a local Military Police/Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (MP/CFNIS) officer during off-hours. Of the 91 contacts with the MPLO, 21 (23%) previously unreported cases led to a MP/CFNIS investigation
While the proportion of CAF members who chose to speak to the MPLO was the same in 2016-2017 and 2017-2018, 32% and 33% respectively, the number of facilitated access contacts increased while the number of live transfers decreased. This may be due to the fact that the Response and Support team hours expanded to 24/7 in 2017-2018, while the MPLO was only available during core hours.
Figure 10 depicts the number and type of contacts to the MLO. Thirteen were direct contacts to the MLO while 66 involved facilitated access from a Counsellor and 9 were live transfers from a Counsellor. The proportion of CAF members who chose to speak to the MLO increased significantly from 2016-2017 to 2017-2018, from 7% to 32% respectively. This could be due to several reasons. First the need to provide information to the Chain of Command and CAF members seeking advice which lay outside the purview of the SMRC counsellors was not identified until the second quarter of 2016-17. Once the need was understood, a referral system was established between the Counsellors and military liaison officer. Tracking of contacts has grown demonstrating that the referral system was an effective innovation and the level of trust between the CAF and SMRC has grown. This may also signify the effectiveness of the outreach events the SMRC had engaged in, to increase the understanding of the SMRC service delivery model.
Facilitated access was also arranged for CAF members wishing to contact other support agencies, e.g. the Chaplaincy (1 case), the CSRT-SM (8 cases), the Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management team (2 cases) and local MP/CFNIS sections (7 cases).
Facilitated access is a valuable support service that the SMRC has implemented. If a member of the military liaison team is not available, Counsellors will provide e-mail and contact information to the CAF member. This protocol has allowed the military liaison team to support the expansion in services to 24/7 without increasing their hours of work, and allows CAF members to call when they are comfortable to speak with the military liaison team. This is important if, for example, the member wants to initiate contact from a location outside their normal work area.
Having an embedded military liaison team is also a best practice in service delivery. The MPLO facilitates reporting in that CAF members can speak to the MPLO anonymously to get information on whether or not the incident they experienced might meet the threshold for an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada, and to get information on the investigative process to help them decide whether or not they want to report. As indicated, 23% of contacts with the MPLO led to an investigation.
Having a MLO provides immediate support to chains of command in managing what can be sensitive and challenging situations. The MLO also supports affected members in a variety of ways, from seeking information to reaching into environments to attempt to resolve issues. There are many benefits to joint SMRC civilian/MLO outreach as well. Other allied partners have recognized the merits of having an embedded military team as part of a comprehensive service delivery model.
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