March 2020 - Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, Executive Director, Dr. Denise Preston

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  • Joined the Department of National Defence as Executive Director of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre in May 2017
  • Previously worked for the Parole Board of Canada for 8 years, and as Psychologist for the Correctional Service of Canada for 19 years
  • She is a graduate of Queen’s University, with a Ph.D. in Psychology, is registered with the College of Psychologists of Ontario, and is a member of the Canadian Psychological Association


  • The Centre provides support services or refers to support services for Canadian Armed Forces members who are affected by sexual misconduct (since 2015)
  • The Centre provides guidance and recommendations to the military that shape the development and implementation of policies and programs to eliminate sexual misconduct in the military (new since April 2019)
  • The Centre monitors progress of military policies and programs, providing independent, external analysis of their effectiveness and recommendations for improvement (new since April 2019)

Key facts

Total Employees:

  • 58 (Permanent, Casual, Students and Military staff)


  • Fiscal Year 2019-20 - $5,014,525
  • Operating & Maintenance - $1,195,317
  • Civilian Salary - $3,077,685
  • Case Management System - $151,855
  • Grants & Contributions - $500,000
  • Reserve Pay - $189,668

Primary location(s):

  • Ottawa. Regional presence to be planned.

Key Partners


  • Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff
  • All Level 1s (heads of branches and services)
  • Directorate of Professional Military Conduct - Operation HONOUR
  • Judge Advocate General
  • Canadian Forces Health Services
  • Military Police/Canadian Forces National Investigative Service
  • Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management (includes harassment investigation)
  • Chaplain General
  • National Defence/Canadian Forces Ombudsman

External (including other government departments):

  • External Advisory Council to the Centre
  • Department of Justice
  • Women and Gender Equality Canada
  • Five-Eyes partners (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand)

Top issues for the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre

Resource Capacity

  • Implications of Expanded Mandate (approved April 2019):  More demands on our personnel and higher profile
  • Budget: Significant increase recently approved by the Investment and Resource Management Committee ($2,738,786 in two phases for 21 more positions)
  • Specialized skillsets: New positions require special skills that may be difficult to find, particularly within government

Program/Project Delivery

  • Contribution Program: Approved in December 2018, provides 4 years of funding to sexual assault centres in communities near 10 most populated bases. Launched August 2019.
  • Independent Legal Advice: Funding provided in 2019-20 to establish a program to provide legal advice (not representation) to victims; to be modelled after provincial examples
  • Prevention and Training: Developing comprehensive prevention plan to support the military’s culture change strategy

Auditor General Fall 2018 Report: Management Action Plan

  • National Victim Support Strategy: Will set standards and objectives for support to victims across all military partners and stakeholders. Implementation plan to be completed this Fall-Winter
  • Response and Support Coordination: New program providing case coordination, accompaniment, advocacy, and in-person support to victims (in addition to other supports already offered). 1st phase launched in Aug 2019. Rolling out over next 18-24 months

Heyder-Beattie Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement

  • Restorative Engagement Program: For class members to share their experience of sexual misconduct with senior defence representatives with the help of restorative practitioners
  • Victim/Survivor Support Consultations: The Centre, along with parts of the military, will meet class member representatives to seek input on enhancing Defence Team resources and support programs
  • External Review: Of progress on sexual misconduct, to be conducted in 5 years

Policy / Legal

  • New Military Policy on Sexual Misconduct Response: Military consulting the Centre on this as it will be major part of the policy framework on sexual misconduct
  • Duty to Report: Military consulting the Centre on this issue; will require changes to Queen’s Regulations and Orders to exempt victims and service providers from being obligated to make a formal report to authorities.
  • Enhanced Reporting Options: Examining options for alternative reporting mechanisms for victims; known as restricted or third-party reporting

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