Get help following an incident of sexual misconduct
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If you, or someone you know has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Department of National Defence offer many services that can provide you with immediate care, support, or medical assistance. Support is also available through many civilian service providers. There are also a few avenues through which you may file a formal complaint about the incident.
On this page
- Services for CAF members
- Services for veterans
- Services for civilians
- Guidance and tips on self-care following an incident
- File a formal complaint
The following list of services are available for use by CAF members. Some of the services are provided by civilian service-providers that are not required to report sexual misconduct incidents to the CAF.
Health care services
If you need any type of medical attention (for example, treatment of injuries, sexually transmitted infections (STI) screening, pregnancy prevention, or other related services to your physical health), you may choose to visit a CAF medical centre near you. If you prefer to visit a civilian hospital or sexual assault centre, try using our resources search tool or the Respect in the CAF Mobile Application to locate the resources near you.
Personal and spiritual support
If you want to talk to someone or receive counselling following an incident of sexual misconduct, there are a number of civilian and CAF-specific resources available to you.
Sexual Misconduct Response Centre
The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) was created by the Department of National Defence but is independent from the CAF chain of command and is not required to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the CAF. Counselors are available 24/7 to provide confidential supportive counselling, provide assistance and information on options available to you and refer you to appropriate resources should this be needed. You have the choice to either provide your personal information or remain anonymous.
CAF Member Assistance Program
This program offers confidential, voluntary, short-term counselling to help members and families with issues affecting their well-being or work performance 24/7, 365 days a year.
Military Family Resource Centres
These centres are located across Canada and in Europe and the United States. Their frontline service providers are responsible for connecting military families to a wide range of programs and services. Their goal is to build strong, resilient individuals, families and communities.
The Family Information Line (Morale and Welfare Services)
This team of trained professionals provides a wide range of services to the extended military community, including counselling, referrals, information on programs and services and crisis support.
CAF Chaplain Services
Chaplains provide religious and counseling services and support and help you understand theological, moral and ethical views. They can also provide information on a wide range of topics and provide help in various ways, including crisis intervention, support and counselling, and referring you to other care providers.
VAC Assistance Service
Any Veteran who experienced sexual trauma during service and requires help can contact VAC Assistance Service at 1-800-268-7708. This service is a 24-hour toll-free help line that provides military and RCMP Veterans, and their families, immediate short-term mental health counseling, along with referral services, including support for mental and emotional health concerns.
Health care services
Consult our list of resources search tool, which includes hospitals and sexual assault centres available to civilians across Canada.
Employee Assistance Program
Provides confidential crisis support and referral services for employees of federal government departments and agencies.
Consult our searchable list of resources across Canada, which includes sexual assault centres and shelters available to civilians.
The material below can be used by both CAF members and civilian members of the Defence Team who have experienced an incident of sexual misconduct.
A guide for sexual assault survivors
Addresses medical and physical concerns, legal and reporting options, and coping with emotions.
Self-care for victims
Tips for physical and emotional self-care.
Safety tips if you think you are being stalked or harassed
Suggestions on how to increase your level of safety if you are dealing with a stalking or harassment situation.
Safety tips if you think you are being cyberstalked or harassed online
Suggestions on how to reduce the risk being cyberstalked and how to respond if it occurs.
Tips to help victims express their needs in stressful situations
Quick reference cards designed for survivors to print and use at doctor and dentist appointments and at airport screening to make the experience less stressful.
You are in control: Watching and reading media
Tips for survivors on consuming media.
CAF members affected by sexual misconduct are encouraged to report if and when they are ready to do so. If you want to know more about the reporting and investigation process or you are uncertain if the incident constitutes sexual misconduct, contact the SMRC for a confidential discussion with a counsellor.
There are a few ways you can file a formal complaint:
Chain of command
The chain of command is responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of their subordinates and responding promptly and decisively to all incidents of sexual misconduct. Commanding officers and leaders can provide support and guidance on how to proceed. For more information about the steps that the chain of command will take when sexual misconduct is reported, see the Sexual Misconduct Incident Management Decision Tree.
Integrated Complaint and Conflict Management service
Sexual misconduct can be reported through the Integrated Complaint and Conflict Management service (ICCM). This service combines harassment, grievance, and alternate dispute resolution approaches in a streamlined fashion. Find a local office near you to start the process.
Contact the police
CAF members who wish to proceed with a formal criminal complaint have the option of reporting to the local Military Police unit or to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), which has specially-trained teams who deal exclusively with offenses of a sexual or sensitive nature. CAF members can also report sexual offences to the civilian police service for their area.
Civilian Defence Team members are encouraged to report incidents of sexual misconduct to their superiors, or contact their union representatives. They may find it helpful to consult the Government of Canada’s information for federal public servants on harassment and conflict resolution.
If the incident involves a CAF member or if it occurred at a Department of National Defence establishment, Civilian Defence Team members can report the incident to the local Military Police unit or to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS), which has specially-trained teams who deal exclusively with offenses of a sexual or sensitive nature. Civilian Defence Team members can also report sexual offenses to the civilian police service for their area.
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