A Year In Review | Section 3: Communications/Outreach Team

Section 3: Communications/Outreach Team

A key priority identified in the 2016-2017 Annual Report was to enhance SMRC’s proactive communications, outreach and awareness strategy with the primary objective of increasing CAF awareness and understanding of the SMRC and the services it provides to CAF members.

This is critical to reducing barriers to reporting and improving CAF responses to incidents of sexual misconduct.

Toward this end, a Communications Strategy was developed. Target audiences were both internal and external to DND with a priority given to military personnel in the CAF community. The audiences can be grouped as follows: CAF members who have experienced sexual misconduct, chains of command, bystanders, and individuals/ groups who wished to learn more about the SMRC and its services.

3.1 - Outreach/Awareness Activities

The objective in SMRC’s Communications Strategy for 2017-2018 was to complete 10 outreach and awareness activities during the fiscal year.  Between May 2017 and March 2018, SMRC personnel participated in 23 activities, far exceeding the planned objective. SMRC personnel engaged directly with approximately 3,500 CAF members through these activities. Figure 11 indicates the number and type of outreach activities completed last fiscal year. 

 

 

Figure 11 is a vertical curved list that depicts the number and type of outreach activities in 2017-2018. There were 12 participations in various outreach activities including conferences, kiosks and presentations for Respect in the CAF and ICCM Agent Training; 8 local briefings to various internal stakeholder groups; 4 local and national media outlets and 3 base visits (Petawawa, Victoria and Winnipeg).

 

Of note, SMRC has modified the way it conducts outreach activities upon receiving direct feedback from participants who attended town halls in FY 2016/17, and results of the Your Say Survey (YSS) in the Fall of 2017. In-person interactions with CAF members have proven to be beneficial in educating, dispelling myths on aspects of sexual misconduct and managing expectations regarding services offered.  In 2017-2018, almost every outreach activity generated a subsequent outreach request, perhaps explaining the doubling of completed outreach activities versus planned number, and indicating the added value of in-person interactions for the target audiences. Of significant value is the fact that, after participating in these events, a number of members reached out to a Counsellor at the Centre, by virtue of having heard about SMRC’s services and being able to put a face to a contact name. Given this, SMRC will seek to expand outreach resources in order to increase the number of Base Visits per year. At the same time, the communications’ strategy will also shift towards engaging with smaller groups including Primary Reserve units and specialized groups, to increase awareness of these audiences. 

3.2 - SMRC Online

On November 21, 2017, the SMRC launched its new web content on Canada.ca.  It followed considerable

consultation with SMRC Counsellors, executives and military liaison officers, and with the Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Affairs)’s (ADM(PA)) Web Services team.

For the first time since the creation of the SMRC web pages, the approach became audience-oriented; it targets four primary audiences identified by SMRC Counsellors.  With identified audiences, web analytics became possible for the first time: the SMRC can now distinguish what some people are looking for.

The website’s analytics are used to assess the visibility and utility of this communication tool from a promotion and awareness perspective, although they do not provide any contextual information in terms of how many unique individuals viewed each page, or their reasons for viewing the pages. Nevertheless, from November 21, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the main page, Confidential counselling, received 2,041 page views; it directs visitors to choose one of the four audience pages.  Page views for the audiences served by Counsellors were: If you have experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour, 239; For anyone affected by inappropriate sexual behaviour, 113; Resources for leaders, 140; and Recognizing inappropriate sexual behaviour, 99. The About the SMRC page that provides information on the SMRC received 314 page views.

Analytics prior to November 21, 2017 do not exist. Significant changes to the website occurred on that date; had there been analytics available on the original site, the information would not have been generalizable given the limitations of the initial webpage.

In January 2017, SMRC Public Affairs established a monthly protocol with ADM (PA)’s Web Services team where analytics reports would be provided monthly to assist in tracking trends and provide insight into a potential correlation between the peaks and valleys in views with relevant events in the media. The SMRC itself produced two obvious spikes in traffic for early December, likely due to the publication of the new pages as well as the SMRC’s Charter. Related to this, the SMRC received a spike in contacts in October and November when some sensational #MeToo media stories broke.

Toward the end of the fiscal year, SMRC Public Affairs began working on including a secure, confidential online comments “button” through which feedback and complaints will be gathered and used to take the pulse of the various audiences on a voluntary basis, and to continuously improve our services.  The incorporation of a feedback button is in response to victims’ requests for an online means of providing feedback.  A second project underway is the publication of CAF and civilian resources for victims across Canada, a web version of the information on the Respect in the CAF application.  Both initiatives are expected to be completed by mid-2018.

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