Reporting sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces
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For immediate, emergency assistance call 911.
Why report sexual misconduct?
Early reporting is a crucial step towards prevention. It may be especially hard to come forward after an incident, but there is every indication that reporting leads to better outcomes when the system is prepared to support complaints.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has committed to ensuring and supporting appropriate reporting and investigative mechanisms, protection from reprisals, confidentiality (to the extent permissible by law), medical and emotional care and decisive responses against those who cause harm. Each of these elements is a key component to preventing further and more serious incidents from occurring. Moreover, there is clear evidence that getting early support for an incident leads to a quick restoration of well-being for both the individuals as well as the units involved.
If you are unsure if the incident you are responding to constitutes sexual misconduct or a potential sexual offense, contact the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre for a confidential discussion with a counsellor, or visit our educational pages to learn more.
Ways to report sexual misconduct
If you have been subject to an incident or an assault, or know someone who has, you are encouraged to address the matter immediately.
Personal safety and addressing medical concerns is always a first consideration. Calling 911 can provide immediate help, as well as guidance on next steps, including evidence collection.
Seek advice from the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre. The SMRC offers confidential and bilingual assistance 24/7. Their supportive counsellors can provide information about options and resources as well as reassurance, support and referrals to the various services available to CAF members. Members are able to contact the SMRC without triggering an investigation.
- Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (Available 24/7 at 1-844-750-1648)
If the incident is serious, then you may want to speak with the Military Police Liaison Officer (MPLO) located at the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre. They can provide confidential and anonymous advice on filing a formal report. The MPLO works with victims to provide information with respect to the investigative process and aids in facilitating reporting to the Canadian Forces National Investigative Service Sexual Offence Response Teams as required.
Consider informing the chain of command as soon as possible. This will trigger additional support and protection. The chain of command is responsible for ensuring the wellbeing of their subordinates and for responding promptly and decisively to all incidents of sexual misconduct. Your leadership can provide support and guidance on how to proceed.
If you are not comfortable reporting your concerns to the chain of command, bring your complaint to someone you trust higher up the chain or to a Chaplain.
Inappropriate sexual behaviour can also be reported through the Integrated Complaint and Conflict Management system (ICCM). This newly-implemented complaint management system, which combines harassment, grievance, and alternate dispute resolution systems in a streamlined fashion, is accessible online or at local offices at select CAF bases.
CAF members who wish to proceed with a formal criminal complaint have the option of reporting to the local Military Police unit, civilian police, or directly to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS). CFNIS has specially-trained teams who deal exclusively with offenses of a sexual or sensitive nature.
To report an incident to civilian authorities, contact your local police department.
Personnel deployed outside of Canada should report incidents to the deployed Military Police detachment (if applicable) and/or the chain of command or deployed chaplain. Deployed personnel may also contact the SMRC at any time.
Reporting sexual harassment
If you are being harassed or sexually harassed, you are encouraged to report the inappropriate behaviour to the chain of command. You may also submit a complaint to your Unit Harassment Advisor or Responsible Officer.
For information on the CAF harassment process and related policies, contact a Workplace Relations Advisor (WRA). WRAs are specially trained to help you interpret harassment policies and provide guidance on how to proceed with a harassment complaint.
Not sure who the local Unit Harassment Advisor or WRA is? Ask someone in your chain of command.
To learn more about harassment prevention in the CAF:
Harassment (including sexual harassment) can also be reported through the Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management (ICCM) System. This newly-implemented complaint management system combines harassment, grievance, and alternate dispute resolution systems in a streamlined fashion. It is accessible online or at local offices at select CAF bases.
Reporting sexual harassment for civilian Defence Team members
Civilian members of the Defence Team are encouraged to report inappropriate behaviour to their superiors or contact their union representatives. Sexual offenses should be reported to civilian police.
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