CAF releases comprehensive strategy to prevent and address sexual misconduct
October 28, 2020 - Defence Stories
The Path to Dignity and Respect. The Canadian Armed Forces Sexual Misconduct Response Strategy.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recently released The Path to Dignity and Respect: The CAF Sexual Misconduct Response Strategy (The Path) a comprehensive culture change strategy designed to prevent and address sexual misconduct in the CAF and improve support for persons affected by sexual misconduct.
The Path expands Operation HONOUR into a long-term institutional effort focused on aligning behaviors and attitudes of CAF personnel with the principles and values of the profession of arms in Canada. At the same time, it introduces a public health prevention-based approach, which includes measures aimed at preventing problems from happening in the first place and reducing risks or threats to people, their health and their well-being.
The strategy has four elements:
- Analysis: The Strategic Approach to Cultural Alignment identifies the elements that constitute and influence CAF culture, and introduces a cultural alignment model that can be applied to a broad range of issues.
- Application: The Strategic Framework to Address Sexual Misconduct in the CAF applies the cultural alignment model to determine what aspects of CAF culture enable or hinder individuals from engaging in sexual misconduct. It also sets out the vision, guiding principles, and strategic objectives that will guide the CAF’s efforts to prevent and address sexual misconduct.
- Implementation: The Operation HONOUR Strategic Campaign Plan 2025 lays out how the CAF will implement the strategy. It establishes a five-year plan for the next phase of activities and is designed to coordinate with other complementary efforts throughout the CAF.
- Measurement: The Operation HONOUR Performance Measurement Framework establishes the indicators that the CAF will use to assess the progress of Operation HONOUR over time.
The Path is a unique strategy, developed specifically for the CAF, but it draws on a wide range of external and internal research on culture change, sexual misconduct, and military culture, and is informed by evidence and existing models applied to complex challenges. In addition, the CAF worked collaboratively with the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre to ensure the strategy considers key themes and issues identified by persons affected by sexual misconduct and subject matter experts as is important in a strategy of this type.
Refocusing the effort
In support of the strategy, the CAF has adjusted Operation HONOUR’s four lines of effort and refocused the Operation HONOUR mission. Moving forward, while always working to eliminate harmful behaviours, the mission will be: To ensure sexual misconduct is never minimized, ignored or excused so that the CAF cultivates the inclusive and respectful work environment that embodies the ethical principles and core values of the profession of arms.
“Our vision will always be to eliminate sexual misconduct from our workplace,” says Brigadier General Andrew Atherton, Director General, Professional Military Conduct—Operation HONOUR, “and we believe this new mission for Operation HONOUR clearly signals the direction we want to go, and what personnel are expected to do to ensure that all CAF members are able to work in an environment free from sexual misconduct.”
Every organization within the CAF will be responsible for contributing to the implementation of The Path. Many of the activities and initiatives identified in the Campaign Plan are already underway, and the CAF will continually track and measure progress to ensure a continuous cycle of improvement.
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