The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre Launches New Response and Support Coordination Program
OTTAWA – Improving support services for military members who have been affected by sexual misconduct remains a top priority for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
Today, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) launched the first phase of its new Response and Support Coordination (RSC) program. This initiative will provide CAF members who have experienced sexual misconduct with an assigned and dedicated coordinator to offer on-going support and assistance until such time as they no longer require services, withdraw their consent or transition to civilian services.
In this first phase of the program, Response and Support Coordinators will help members navigate systems and processes by providing support, information and referrals, case coordination, advocacy, accompaniment, assistance with workplace arrangements, and other practical assistance. The RSC program will complement existing services available through the SMRC and the CAF.
The implementation of this new program addresses key recommendations made in the External Review Authority’s Report on Sexual Misconduct as well as the Office of the Auditor General Report on Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour – CAF. It provides an opportunity for the SMRC to reaffirm its priority focus of ensuring military members are well-supported as outlined in Strong Secure, Engaged, Canada’s defence policy. The RSC also directly supports changes to modernize the military justice system made through Bill C-77, which received Royal Assent in June 2019, by seeking better ways to support CAF members affected by sexual misconduct.
“It has always been a priority for the SMRC to provide the best possible support services to Canadian Armed Forces members who have been affected by sexual misconduct. This new program is consistent with best practices in the field of supporting individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct, and is something that affected members have been asking for. I am pleased that SMRC is able to start offering this expanded service.
Dr. Denise Preston, Executive Director, Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, Department of National Defence
The SMRC launched the first phase of its Response and Support Coordination program to address critical gaps in the system, and ensure that CAF members are afforded services that are consistent with best practices. Subsequent phases will launch in the next 18 to 24 months.
The Response and Support Coordination program now provides an assigned, dedicated coordinator for CAF members who have experienced sexual misconduct.
Accompaniment could entail having a Response and Support Coordinator attend certain appointments at the request of an affected member. For example, the coordinator could be present during the disclosure or report of an incident of sexual misconduct, attend administrative and legal proceedings, access services or programs, or attend a meeting to discuss workplace arrangements.
Bill C-77 will afford rights to information, protection, participation, and restitution within the military justice system. Response and Support Coordinators will be able to assist CAF members affected by sexual misconduct in accessing these rights once C-77 comes into effect.
CAF members, including those in supervisory positions, can contact the SMRC’s counsellors 24/7 at 1-844-750-1648 or by email DND.SMRC-CIIS.MDN@forces.gc.ca for confidential support, information and guidance regarding sexual misconduct. Counsellors can facilitate referrals to the Military Liaison Team during business hours.
Operation HONOUR and the SMRC were established in 2015 in response to the External Review Authority’s recommendations in the External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Harassment in the CAF.
Department of National Defence
Senior Communications Advisor
Sexual Misconduct Response Centre
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