Sexual Misconduct Response Centre – Annual Report – 2018-2019
Table of content
Sexual misconduct is conduct of a sexual nature that can cause or causes harm to others. Sexual misconduct, includes: actions or words that devalue a person or group of persons on the basis of their sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression; jokes of a sexual nature, sexual remarks, advances of a sexual nature or verbal abuse of a sexual nature in the workplace; harassment (DAOD 5012-0) of a sexual nature, including initiation rites of a sexual nature; viewing, accessing, distributing or displaying sexually explicit material in the workplace; and any criminal code offence of a sexual nature.
Message from the Executive Director
This past year has been one of growth, change and progress for the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC). Not only have we made headway on important projects, we also experienced fundamental shifts that will help shape the future of the Centre as an organization. We hired more people, reached out to more experts, stood up an External Advisory Council on Sexual Misconduct, created foundational documents to guide us, conducted many awareness and engagements events, and continued building internal and external partnerships that will have a lasting impact on our organization.
Much of the work in 2018-2019 focused on enhancing our ability to provide better response and support services to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members affected by sexual misconduct. My team and I are focused on aligning our efforts with Strong Secure Engaged, Canada’s Defence Policy, with the ultimate goal of ensuring CAF members are well supported around the clock, no matter where they may be in the world.
But it’s time to go one step further.
As the Executive Director of the SMRC, a significant part of my role is to ensure support services meet the needs of members. To achieve that, I look to evidence-informed promising practices in the field. At the same time, I must also address the gaps identified by independent bodies such as the External Review Authority, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and external experts. In recognition of the importance of prevention in eliminating sexual misconduct, we started developing a comprehensive prevention program that will address a range of factors related to sexual misconduct. We are also turning our attention to tailoring prevention training for leaders in the hopes that this will better equip them to fulfill their roles in preventing and responding to incidents. This represents an ongoing important shift.
As next year will mark the 5th anniversary of the creation of the Centre, I often reflect on how far we have come and where I would like us to go as an organization. I have the privilege of working with a dedicated team that rises up to every challenge, and that is motivated to provide nothing short of the very best for the people that make up Canada’s military. As we continue to move forward, we will remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting CAF members.
Dr. Denise Preston, C. Psych.
Sexual Misconduct Response Centre
Year in Review
Since its inception in September 2015, the SMRC has provided support to CAF members who have been affected by sexual misconduct while working in partnership with the CAF to help them improve preventive measures and towards the overarching goal of achieving culture change.
As part of the Department of National Defence (DND) and independent from the Chain of Command, we ensure that members have access to support services to help them through this difficult time and to ensure that they are equipped to make informed choices on available options and resources that will meet their individual needs.
We are proud to have a team of trained and dedicated counsellors who offer these services around the clock. This year, they responded to and supported 379 CAF members.
Our team has grown significantly this year, allowing us to build important capabilities, stabilize internal processes, nurture existing internal and external relationships, and create new partnerships.
We made progress on a number of initiatives that we identified as priorities in our 2017-2018 Annual Report. Here are some highlights that will be described further in this report:
- We made significant headway on expanding our mandate, which will soon be finalized and publicized;
- We developed a new support service delivered by Response and Support Coordinators (formerly referred to as Victim Liaison Assistants) and launched a pilot of the program;
- We established an External Advisory Council that met three times in-person and once by teleconference;
- We hosted the very first Forum on Sexual Misconduct: A Five Eyes Perspective, further enhancing relationships with international partners and stakeholders;
- We continued to examine restorative options for the CAF;
- We led a working group to examine the feasibility of an integrated Defence Team approach to harassment and delivered a report with some recommendations for immediate action and participated on a subsequent Defence Team Harassment Working Group to further this work; and
- We initiated development of a stakeholder engagement strategy.
Finally, in Fall 2018, the OAG published its report entitled Report 5: Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces. The OAG made seven recommendations, many of which implicated SMRC, and assisted us in setting priorities for the coming year.
Support to Members
484 Individuals Contacted Us
Figure 1 displays the number of individuals who contacted our Response and Support team in each of the past three fiscal years.
Figure 1 is a vertical bar chart. The categories of individuals displayed in the chart are members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in pale blue and non-CAF members in blue-grey. In 2016–2017, 278 members of CAF and 114 non-CAF members contacted the Response and Support team. In 2017–2018, 317 members of CAF and 93 non-CAF members contacted the team compared to 379 members of CAF and 105 non-CAF members in 2018–2019. As such, the number of contacts by CAF members has increased steadily each fiscal year.
Figure 2 displays the percentage of contacts for which various service types were provided by the Response and Support team.
Figure 2 is a semi-circular chart. The reasons for contact displayed in the chart are requests for information in pale blue, referral to other individuals or services in blue-grey, supportive counselling provided by SMRC counsellors in mauve, live transfer to the Military Liaison Team (MLT) in turquoise and crisis intervention in navy blue. In total, requests for information accounted for 55% of reasons for contact compared to 27% for referral. Supportive counselling accounted for 15% of reasons for contact while live transfer and crisis intervention accounted for 2% and 1% respectively. As such, more than half of the chart depicts information seekers while just over a quarter of the chart depicts referral to other individuals or services.
Response & Support Team
Our team of counsellors provide person-centered support services to ensure that CAF members who have experienced sexual misconduct are appropriately informed, respected, protected and supported throughout the processes they choose to engage in. Our services are offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, confidentiallyFootnote 1. Anyone who contacts the Centre for support has the option to remain anonymous.
They also provide various types of information to members, including: information about the SMRC; internal and external services, programs, and reporting options; best practices to support individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct; and policies, processes and various tools that may be applicable or useful in dealing with an incident of sexual misconduct.
Military Liaison Team
The Military Liaison Team consists of a Military Liaison Officer (MLO), a Military Police Liaison Officer (MPLO), a Military Plans Officer (MPO) and, since March 2019, a Senior Military Non- Commissioned Member (MNCM).
These four positions contribute to the effectiveness of the response and support services provided to CAF members. The team assists affected members and the Chain of Command in navigating and managing what can be sensitive and challenging situations. They discuss procedural and leadership issues, provide information and guidance on administrative procedures, and reach into environments to resolve issues as necessary. The MLT works closely with the Response and Support team to ensure that the needs of affected members are always considered regardless of who is calling for information, guidance or support.
The MPLO facilitates reporting in that CAF members can speak with them 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. In this fiscal year, 17 calls to the MPLO resulted in referrals to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service for criminal investigation.
Who is calling
Similar to the past two fiscal years, affected members and the Chain of Command represent two thirds of those who contact the Centre. While affected members contact the Centre for a variety of reasons, most of which are depicted in Figure 2, members of the Chain of Command also call for a variety of reasons: seeking guidance on appropriate responses to incidents that have occurred; how to support affected members in their units; how to respond to individuals engaging in sexual misconduct; and how to restore unit cohesion following incidents of sexual misconduct.
242 contacts to the Military Liaison Team were made, including some that were multiple calls from the same individuals.
Figure 3 presents the number of contacts to the MLT in each of the last three fiscal years.
Figure 3 is a vertical bar chart. Fiscal 2016–2017 is shown in pale blue, fiscal 2017–2018 in blue-grey and fiscal 2018–2019 in mauve. In 2016–2017, the number of contacts with the MLT stood at 131 compared to 179 contacts in fiscal 2017–2018 and 242 in fiscal 2018–2019. As such, the number of contacts with the MLT has increased steadily each fiscal year.
Figure 4 identifies the percentage of each client
Figure 4 is a circular diagram. The percentage of each client category of CAF members illustrated in the chart are the Chain of Command in pale blue, affected persons in blue-grey, third party/friend/colleague in mauve, information seeker in turquoise, bystander in cyan, alleged perpetrator in navy blue and family member in black. The category of CAF members who had the most contact with the SMRC is the Chain of Command, accounting for 37% of contacts, followed closely by affected persons at 31% of contacts. The third party/friend/colleague category accounted for 15% of CAF members who contacted the SMRC, information seeker 10% and bystander 3%. Finally, 2% of CAF members who contacted us were alleged perpetrators and 2% family member. As such, the Chain of Command and affected persons account for two-thirds of the category of CAF members who contacted the SMRC.
While the relative proportions of males and females contacting the Centre has remained stable for the past three years, the proportion of males who report being directly affected by sexual misconduct has increased by 10% since 2016-2017.
Figure 5 shows the gender distribution of CAF members who have contacted the Centre.
Figure 5 is a vertical bar chart. CAF members depicted in this chart are members directly affected by sexual misconduct in pale blue and total contacts in blue-grey. Thirty-two percent of male CAF members out of 59% of contacts directly affected contacted the Centre. Sixty-eight percent of female CAF members directly affected contacted us, out of a total of 41% of contacts. As such, this chart shows that CAF females generally have more contact with the SMRC because they are directly affected by sexual misconduct compared to CAF males who contact us for other reasons.
Figure 6 indicates the percentage of each category type for non-CAF contacts to the Centre.
Figure 6 is a semi-circular chart. The categories of non-CAF members shown in the chart are unknown in pale blue, civilian in blue-grey, former CAF member in mauve and Department of National Defence (DND) civilian in turquoise. The category type of non-CAF members with the most contact with us is unknown, accounting for 30% of contacts, followed by civilian with 29% of contacts. Former CAF members account for 21% of non-CAF members who contacted the Centre while DND civilians account for 20% of contacts. The distribution of the category type of non-CAF members who contacted the Centre is therefore fairly similar across the four categories.
Sexual assault and inappropriate sexual behaviour are the top two reasons people contact the Centre.
Figure 7 displays the reasons for contact to the Centre across three fiscal years.
Figure 7 is a vertical bar chart. Fiscal 2016–2017 is shown in pale blue in this chart, fiscal 2017–2018 in blue-grey and fiscal 2018–2019 in mauve. The proportion of individuals who contacted the Centre regarding sexual assault saw a steady increase over the years, from 26% in 2016–2017, 33% in 2017–2018 and 37% in 2018–2019. There was a fluctuation in the number of contacts concerning sexual harassment, going from 19% of contacts in 2016–2017, 23% in 2017–2018 and 16% in 2018–2019. The proportion of contacts related to inappropriate sexual behaviour (ISB) has remained stable over the past three fiscal years, and accounted for 22% of reasons for contact with the Centre in 2016–2017, 21% in 2017–2018 and 22% in 2018–2019. Information requests to the SMRC accounted for 17% of contacts in 2016–2017, 14% in 2017–2018 and 7% in 2018–2019. This reason has recorded a decline over the years. There is less contact with the Centre for outside mandate reasons, with contact going from 13% of contacts with the SMRC in 2016–2017, 8% of contacts in 2017–2018 and 5% in 2018–2019. The percentage of individuals who contacted the Centre for other sexual offences has remained stable over the past three years, and stood at 1% from 2016 to 2019. Finally, the percentage of contact with the SMRC for the Response and Support Coordination (RSC) program was 11%. This figure is only available for 2018–2019 because the RSC is a new program provided by the Centre. As such, most of the percentages for reasons for contact have registered a decline or remained relatively stable over the last three fiscal years. However, there was an increase in contacts with the SMRC with respect to sexual assault.
We received a total of 689 contacts from 484 individuals, which indicates that some individuals contacted us more than once. In fact, it was more than 29% of CAF members who contacted us more than once, compared to 15% last year.
This significant increase is likely due to the launch of an initial enhancement of services in January 2019 that offers affected CAF members the possibility of being referred to a specific counsellor for followup contacts, indicated by the percentage of RSC contacts depicted in Figure 7.
New and Upcoming Service Ehancements
Response and Support Coordination (RSC) – In October 2018, we began developing a new program called RSC. This program was developed in response to gaps identified in both internal and external reviews, feedback from stakeholders, best practices in the field of victim support, as well as by the OAG’s Fall 2018 report. An initial enhancement of services was launched in January 2019, and the results provided us with important information regarding the demand for this service and the needs of CAF members who consented to it. It also helped us to refine our policies and procedures for the service.
In the upcoming months, further enhancements to this service will be implemented. The program will be offered from the time of first contact with the SMRC, until such time as members indicate they no longer require our services.
Specifically, this new program will offer CAF members proactive case coordination, advocacy, accompaniment and in-person support, assistance with workplace accommodations, and other forms of practical assistance, in addition to the services already provided, such as supportive counselling, information, referrals and facilitated access.
Figure 8 indicates the percentage of various service types provided to RSC contacts (from January to March 2019).
Figure 8 is semi-circular chart. The various service types depicted in the chart include supportive counselling in pale blue, information in blue-grey, updates in mauve, live transfer to the MLT in turquoise and crisis intervention in cyan. Overall, supportive counselling accounted for 39% of service types provided to individuals who contacted the SMRC compared to 32% for information, 18% for updates and 7% for live transfer. Finally, crisis intervention accounted for 4% of services provided. As such, supportive counselling and information account for two-thirds of service types provided to individuals who contacted the SMRC.
Restorative Options – To further address the needs of CAF members affected by sexual misconduct, we worked with CAF stakeholders and external experts to develop the CAF restorative model.
The restorative approach is based on the understanding that wrongdoing causes harm to people and relationships and also affects the broader community. It is built upon the belief that:
- those who have caused harm have a responsibility to repair that harm;
- those who have been harmed are central in deciding what is needed to repair it; and
- communities have a role to play in supporting everyone involved as well as addressing the root causes.
Restorative processes provide opportunities for those harmed and those who take responsibility for the harm to communicate about the causes, circumstances, and impact of that harm and address their related needs. These processes are guided by skilled facilitators and can take different forms depending on the community, program, case, participants, or circumstances.
We have proposed the use of restorative processes as a way to help repair the harm caused by sexual misconduct, as much as possible; rebuild trust and relationships, where appropriate; and contribute to creating a culture of respect for all members of the CAF.
The CAF restorative model presents three applications of restorative process including: restorative conferences between those harmed and those who caused the harm; restorative circles involving communities affected by sexual misconduct; and restorative engagement for those harmed to share their experiences and insights with senior CAF/DND representatives.
A significant amount of work has gone into establishing basic principles for the CAF restorative model, developing a program structure and process framework, and proposing a practitioner training and assessment model. In the coming year, we will continue to assess the feasibility and validity of a restorative approach within the Canadian military context and to build the necessary partnerships to ensure that the model is expertly designed, implemented, and evaluated.
Expert Policy Advice
To respond to the increasing demand from internal and external stakeholders seeking expertise from the SMRC and its Executive Director, the SMRC established a Policy and Results team during the past year. Earlier in the fiscal year, the Deputy Minister asked the SMRC to lead a working group to identify gaps and propose responses to strengthen the Department’s response to sexual harassment. This effort followed from the publication of Safe Workspaces: Starting a dialogue and taking action on harassment in the Public Service, a report requested by the Clerk of the Privy Council. Then, with the passage of Bill C-65, the new federal anti-harassment and violence legislation, the SMRC took part in a joint CAF-DND team that worked intensively over the course of the winter to develop a Defence Team-wide harassment strategy for prevention, response and support.
We took part in a number of initiatives and working groups with the CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct (CSRT-SM) related to strengthening sexual misconduct policies. These initiatives, issued in April 2019, include:
- a Canadian Forces General order (CANFORGEN) to clarify certain administrative provisions related to sexual misconduct, including a new definition;
- a Sexual Misconduct Incident Management decision tree to help guide the chain of command on the procedures for responding to incidents reported to them, while also prioritizing the needs of the victim; and
- an Operation HONOUR Manual to provide broader guidance, tools and resources.
We also provided expert advice to the CSRT-SM on a new Sexual Misconduct Defence Administrative Order and Directive (DAOD), to ensure it is informed by best practices and the experiences of survivors. In addition, we made recommendations on revisions to the CAF’s reporting regulations and investigative procedures to enable survivors to exercise more control over when and how they choose to disclose or report incidents. Our Policy team has also been participating in the CAF’s working groups that are developing a culture change strategy and campaign plan.
The Policy team provided extensive briefing and analytical support throughout the year to senior leadership. This included supporting the Executive Director’s appearance before a number of Parliamentary committees, such as: the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence; the House Standing Committee on Public Accounts; the House Standing Committee on National Defence; and the House Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
The OAG undertook a review of the CAF’s progress in addressing sexual misconduct and supporting affected members and published its report in Fall 2018 entitled Report 5: Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces. The OAG made seven recommendations to the CAF, many of which had implications for us. The findings and recommendations addressed issues, such as: the accessibility and adequacy of support services for affected CAF members; the impact of the regulatory duty to report on victims’ ability and willingness to seek support; a need for improvements in education and training on sexual misconduct; and gaps in monitoring and oversight of the CAF response to sexual misconduct. The Report also recommended that our mandate be revisited to clarify our roles, responsibilities and independence, to empower the Centre to play an expanded victim support, expert advisory and monitoring role.
The DND/CAF Management Action Plan accepted all seven OAG recommendations and outlined a number of commitments to address the findings. In addition to revisiting our mandate, other commitments which had implications for our work included the recommendation for enhanced victim support services (being developed by the Response and Support team) and for the CAF to adopt an integrated, national approach to support victims of sexual misconduct. In the last quarter of the fiscal year, the Policy and Results team began the work on the mandate expansion, negotiations on the division of roles and responsibilities with the CSRT-SM, planning for increased responsibilities in results, data and research, and took on leadership of the National Victim Support Strategy. We also took on leadership for a new Contribution Program to provide funding support to community-based sexual assault centres in 10 Canadian communities that have a large CAF presence.
Expertise Provided by the Response and Support Team
The SMRC Response and Support team was called upon to provide expertise and guidance throughout the year, to internal and external partners, such as members of the Chain of Command, CSRT-SM, Canadian Forces Health Services, Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management (ICCM), Judge Advocate General, National Investigative Services, and Chaplains regarding the impacts of sexual misconduct and best practices to support individuals who have been affected. Examples of these activities included:
- Review of the content in the Respect in the CAF course, which helps members develop and practice skills to recognize, respond and prevent sexual misconduct, as well as support those affected by it;
- Attend the Directorate of Mental Health of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group’s Treatment Standardization Committee to discuss best practices in the care and treatment of sexual trauma; and
- Collaborate with CSRT-SM in the development of training videos that demonstrate best practices when receiving a disclosure of sexual misconduct.
External Advisory Council on Sexual Misconduct
The External Advisory Council (EAC) on Sexual Misconduct held its inaugural meeting in June 2018. The EAC consists of eight external subject matter experts and leaders. Their role is to advise the SMRC’s Executive Director on issues related to sexual misconduct and provide DND and the CAF with a mechanism to draw upon their experience and knowledge towards the overarching goal of eliminating sexual misconduct within the CAF.
The first meeting provided an opportunity for members of the Council to meet with the Chief of the Defence Staff and receive briefings on Operation HONOUR, the SMRC, and CAF culture. The second meeting included briefings on several victim support services and a discussion with Mme Marie DeschampsFootnote 2.
In the third meeting, the Council met with the Deputy Minister of National Defence and was asked to provide recommendations on:
- revisions to and expansion of the SMRC mandate;
- the interim CANFORGEN policy to clarify the definition of sexual misconduct and appropriate administrative actions;
- the sexual misconduct incident management decision tree; and
- the way forward with regard to the duty to report and duty to investigate.
The EAC is essential to support our own expert advisory mandate, ensuring an ongoing dialogue between external Canadian experts and the organizations within the Defence Team that are working on this issue.
Sexual Assault Review Program – External Review Team
We participated in the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service’s Sexual Assault Review Program (SARP) as a member of the External Review Team (ERT). In December 2018, the ERT reviewed 113 unfounded sexual assault files from 2010-2016. This activity provided an opportunity to gain further insight into some of the challenges faced within the investigative process, and share information about best-practices in the field, to help increase overall awareness and enhance support for members who report having experienced a sexual assault.
Descriptions of Public Affairs Activities
We believe that our counsellors are best positioned to explain the services they offer. We also believe it is important for CAF members across the country to meet counsellors in person, to increase the likelihood that they will call the Centre if they are in need of support. Related to this, we make sure that they are present at outreach events to provide support to any affected persons who might come forward on location.
During these events, we gather feedback from members through questionnaires and in-person interactions. This provides us with first-hand information on CAF member concerns about sexual misconduct and the kind of information and support they need.
In addition to feedback from these events, the Centre refers to the Statistics Canada and Your Say Surveys for information on the behaviour, attitudes, and perceptions of CAF members in order to refine our events accordingly.
Communications & Public Affairs
The SMRC is active in its mission to raise awareness and promote its services to all CAF members. Our outreach strategy aimed to vary the types of activities held to increase visibility and understanding of our role, services and practices.
In comparison to 2017-2018, where we presented to 3,500 CAF members across 23 outreach events, this fiscal year we presented to 2,100 members across 26 events. This reduction in the number of participants was the result of a deliberate modification we made to our outreach events based on feedback received from members at various outreach events, many of whom recommended conducting smaller, in-person events to increase the opportunity for dialogue and personal engagement.
The types of activities in which we participated included kiosks in the National Capital Region (NCR) such as the Indigenous Awareness Week; information sessions for CAF support organizations such as ICCM, the Chaplain Service, and the Military Police, and a series of seven awareness presentations to members of Reserve units in the NCR and Montreal regions. The presentations to Reserve units were part of an ongoing effort to reach some of the sub groups of our target audience. This initiative required additional planning considerations and resources to accommodate the geographical location of the units, the Reserve schedules (i.e. evenings and weekends) and the uniqueness of their needs in terms of the workforce (i.e. full-time work combined with part-time military service). Tailored awareness briefings to members of the Reserves will remain a priority for the coming year.
In December 2018, the team supported the first “Forum on Sexual Misconduct: A Five Eyes Perspective” that hosted 50 participants from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. This event generated a considerable increase in tasks for the Public Affairs team in the months leading up to the forum. Tasks included producing art work, designing posters and brochures, ensuring hospitality for out-of-town guests, venue and event management, photography and media relations.
We enhanced our online presence by revising our main page and adding two elements that directly serve CAF members:
- Resources near you to give CAF members an instant listing of the nearest CAF and civilian victim service organizations in their area, anywhere in Canada.
- Have your say! as an online electronic invitation to CAF members to directly share their concerns, needs and interests with our staff, encouraging feedback on our operations. There were no data to report by the end of this fiscal year.
In terms of analytics, we use data supplied by the Department’s Public Affairs Branch to assess the visibility of our online presence from a promotion and awareness perspective. The analytics cannot, however, provide contextual information such as how many unique individuals viewed each page and their reasons for viewing the pages.
The navigation page, Confidential counselling, received 6,086 page views.
Figure 9 displays the web views from the links embedded within the navigation page.
Figure 9 is a horizontal gauge chart. The web page “About the SMRC” depicted in the chart in pale blue accounted for 43% of the views through links embedded within the navigation page. The web page “If you have experienced HISB” in blue-grey in the chart accounted for 20% of the views, while the web page “Resources for leaders” in mauve accounted for 16% of the views from within the navigation page. The web page “Affected by HISB” in turquoise accounted for 12% of the views while the web page “Recognizing HISB” in cyan accounted for 9%. As such, nearly half the time, individuals visit the web page “About the SMRC” from within the navigation page.
These data suggest a steady trend compared to last year. An increased trend of web views is expected for 2019-2020 as the website will be redeveloped and updated. The SMRC and Operation HONOUR Public Affairs teams will collaborate to better align the organizations’ respective sites, to reduce, clarify and simplify content and eliminate duplication of information.
Figure 10 displays the total count of web views for each quarter over the past fiscal year.
Figure 10 is a line chart. The chart shows that 25,735 individuals viewed our website in Q1 compared to 19,805 in Q2 and 18,047 in Q3. The SMRC page was viewed by 9,711 individuals in Q4. As such, there was a steady decline in the total count of web views for each quarter over the past fiscal year.
Forum on Sexual Misconduct: A Five Eyes Perspective
As part of our effort to establish the SMRC as a centre of expertise on sexual misconduct, we have developed relationships with some of our international counterparts, particularly with the four major English- speaking defence and security allies, together named the “Five Eyes” partner nations. We have had numerous discussions with our defence department counterparts in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. This included visits to the United States Department of Defence’s Sexual Assault Prevention Response Office (SAPRO), the Australian Defence Force’s Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO), and New Zealand’s Operation Respect. Recognizing that there are important lessons to be shared, we are committed to fostering these relationships. To this end, we led the first international forum of the Five Eyes partners on sexual misconduct in the military.
A number of international representatives participated in the inaugural event. Over 50 participants from the allied forces of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States attended as well as members of other national and international partners, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of Justice, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations’ Conduct and Discipline Unit.
The two main themes of the forum were victim support services and prevention efforts, with each country contributing to both themes. Each panel discussion fostered a greater awareness of the opportunities for countries to advance their services. Moreover, there was a consensus that the definitions of sexual misconduct or inappropriate sexual behaviour need to be clearer and more consistent cross-nationally, particularly when working in multinational settings.
Feedback from participants indicated that the forum was very well received. Participants were highly satisfied with the educational content, workplace relevance, and quality of the presentations. Specific comments included: “This Forum has made a significant contribution to moving the field forward.” Suggestions for improvement included more opportunity for questions, discussions, and networking. These suggestions will be taken into account in the planning of the next conference.
Given the success of the first event, the Five Eyes forum will become an on-going event. Two countries offered to host the second one and Canada will support the planning efforts.
One of the outcomes of the OAG report recommendations was an opportunity to further enhance our services to CAF members, and our capacity to provide expert advice. In order to meet this recommendation, we made some changes to our organizational structure and created and filled a number of new positions.
We hired an additional senior counsellor to assist with the development, implementation and management of the new Response and Support Coordination program. We also hired a project manager to further advance the research and development of restorative options for the CAF, as well as coordinate the EAC.
With respect to the policy team, we hired two policy advisors to facilitate consultations with key internal and external stakeholders, provide advice regarding CAF policies and directives related to sexual misconduct, and develop our new mandate, which is expected to be finalized during the next fiscal year.
To support our growth, we hired a Chief of Staff who reports directly to the Executive Director, to help prioritize and coordinate our deliverables and submissions. This position provides strategic analysis and advice, advisory and technical support concerning corporate files, and acts as a focal point and source of information and communication for senior leadership.
We augmented our corporate services to include a Business Manager Team Lead and an Administrative Officer. These positions play a critical role in ensuring that business management, human resources, financial and administrative services are sufficient to support the increased tempo of SMRC operations.
Finally, we also filled the Director position to support the Executive Director by providing strategic advice, operational management and oversight, and leadership.
With an approved budget allocation of $2.65 million for fiscal year 2018-2019, our overall expenditures totaled $2.11 million. The bulk of the expenditures were salary expenses (85.7%). Over the course of the year, we employed 23 indeterminate employees, one term employee, two employees seconded from other departments, three individuals on casual contracts, and three students. Salary costs were less than expected due to unexpected vacancies.
Operation and Maintenance (O&M) expenditures represented $140,985 (12%) of total spending, which includes on-going costs related to the virtual call center in order to support the provision of 24/7 service delivery and the in-service support of the Case Management System. The table below depicts salary and operating expenses for 2018-2019.
|Operation & Maintenance||$140,985|
As indicated previously, we will continue expanding our support services in 2019-2020 by fully implementing the new Response and Support Coordination service which will provide a single point of contact for affected members, and a range of additional supports and services such as advocacy and accompaniment. We will also be launching a contribution funding program for community-based sexual assault centres in the Canadian communities with the largest CAF presence, in order to help ensure that survivors of sexual misconduct have the widest range of support choices available to them. We have also committed to putting in place a pilot project to provide independent legal advice to victims of sexual misconduct whose cases are proceeding in the military justice system.
Another priority for 2019-2020 will be to implement our expanded mandate, consistent with the External Review Authority’s report and the recommendations in the OAG report. We will assume responsibility for all training content related to sexual misconduct and will monitor and report on CAF’s implementation of Operation HONOUR-related initiatives, including training. Related to monitoring, we will revisit our own and the Operation HONOUR performance measurement frameworks to improve performance reporting.
Related to training, we will develop a comprehensive prevention plan for the CAF that is theoretically based and evidence informed. This will advance the effectiveness of Operation HONOUR by ensuring that prevention efforts are focused on risk and protective factors related to sexual misconduct and victimization, tailored to the needs and learning styles of the audience, and appropriately evaluated. We will also develop a pilot prevention program to test the tenets of the plan with an at-risk subgroup.
In the coming year, we anticipate working on two major policy initiatives. One will be leading the development of the integrated national approach to support for victims, as recommended by the OAG. This approach will be founded on key principles of being evidence informed, client-centred, and trauma-informed and will consider a number of critical factors, such as a range of service options and providers, including services tailored for specific groups, qualifications and training of service providers, and program evaluation. It will also entail extensive stakeholder engagement. The second will see personnel at the Centre working closely with the office of the Judge Advocate General on regulations to implement enhancements to victims’ rights in the military justice system as a result of Bill C-77 which is likely to receive Royal Assent in June, 2019.
In addition to these new policy initiatives, we will continue to provide expert advice and recommendations to CAF on policy revisions, such as the new DAOD on Sexual Misconduct, the Duty to Report, and enhanced options for reporting.
Throughout the year, we regularly engaged and consulted with current and former CAF members who have been affected by sexual misconduct, during the development of our services and policies. However, in recognition of the need to put a more formalized mechanism in place for efficiency, accountability, and to ensure a diverse range of voices at the table, we are currently developing a stakeholder engagement strategy. This will allow for more systematic and transparent consultation throughout the development and implementation of future programs and initiatives.
A critical gap in the CAF response to sexual misconduct has been the failure to adequately consider perpetrators. It is impossible to adequately prevent, or effectively respond to, sexual misconduct without fully considering perpetrators as central to both the problem and the solution. We intend to push this conversation to promote a better understanding of who is committing these behaviours, against whom, and under what circumstances. This is critical to primary prevention efforts. Recognizing the complexities of addressing perpetrator behaviour, we will look at how to better equip leaders to respond to individual situations, and how to better support and rehabilitate those who can potentially be retained in the CAF.
Finally, while we continue to identify and respond to developing trends and adjust to new responsibilities as a Canadian centre of expertise on sexual misconduct, our focus will remain on ensuring the provision of efficient, effective and compassionate support that is responsive to members’ needs, helping them return to work in a healthy and respectful workplace.
Report a problem or mistake on this page
- Date modified: