DM/CDS Internal Message - Sexual Misconduct Response Centre to be established for Canadian Armed Forces members
As the leaders of your Defence Team, we are proud to announce that as of September 15, 2015, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who have experienced or been affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour will have access to an interim dedicated response centre.
Any harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour is a real and serious problem within the CAF. A single incident of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, regardless whether it is conducted inadvertently or without malice, is one too many. Inappropriate sexual behaviour violates the integrity and dignity of a person and it can have serious negative impacts on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness.
Opening on September 15, 2015, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (Interim) (SMRC(I)) will initially provide the following services:
- Access to a professional by phone and email for CAF members;
- Planning assistance for the member’s immediate safety;
- Empathetic listening;
- Information for members to make informed choices on how they wish to proceed. This includes what to expect of the investigative processes, of the military and civilian justice systems, and of other investigative or complaint processes to support victims;
- Information about other available resources, as required, including Canadian Forces Health Services, Chaplain Services, Military Family Resource Centres, the Family Information Line, Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP), hospital emergency departments, and rape crisis centres; and
- Information on existing reporting or complaint mechanisms.
The SMRC(I) will operate outside the CAF chain of command, residing within the Department of National Defence. It will report to the Deputy Minister and will be led by a civilian executive. The final governance structure, mandate, and operational model will be determined and full operational capability will be reached by summer 2017.
The SMRC(I) will be located within the National Capital Region and will begin providing services by phone (1-844-750-1648) on September 15, 2015, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST). During silent hours, other resources available 24/7 such as the Family Information Line, CFMAP, and local sexual assault centres, will complement the support provided by the SMRC(I).
Remember – in the case of an emergency, always call 911. To report an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual assault, CAF members should contact their regional Canadian Forces National Investigation Service office or local police.
Our priority is providing support to CAF members who have experienced or been affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. Although the SMRC(I) will open on September 15 with interim capabilities and many aspects of the Centre remain to be developed, the initial establishment of the centre will address the critical need for further support for those affected by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. More information will be made available in due course.
Our goal is for all CAF members, and indeed for all Defence Team members, to be able to perform their duties in an environment free of harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour and to be able to fully enjoy the support of an institution that fosters mutual trust, respect, honour, and dignity.
General Jonathan Vance
Chief of Defence Staff
Sexual Misconduct Response Centre
CDS Op Order – Op HONOUR
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