About Restorative Engagement
The Restorative Engagement program allows members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)-Department of National Defence (DND) Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement to share their experience(s) of sexual misconduct, the impact it has had on their life and career and/or provide their knowledge, ideas and insights on how to improve and contribute to culture change in the CAF and DND.
NEW: There is an exception to the Duty to Report in the context of this program.
If you are a class member and wish to participate in the Restorative Engagement (RE) program but did not indicate this on your claim form, you must send a written request to the claims administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org within 30 days of the date of your initial claim decision.
If you received a claim decision before April 30, 2022, your deadline to indicate interest in the RE program is May 31, 2022.
Participation is completely voluntary, and you can change your mind about participating at any time.
Objectives of the Restorative Engagement program
The Restorative Engagement program aims to:
- create opportunities where class members are supported to share their experiences, knowledge and understanding of sexual misconduct and its causes and impacts;
- create opportunities for representatives of the CAF and DND, also known as Defence representatives, to acknowledge, understand, and learn from class members’ experiences of sexual misconduct and to take responsibility, individually and collectively, for its causes and responses;
- create opportunities for class members and Defence representatives to identify lessons learned and to take action, in real time, to contribute to broader institutional culture change efforts;
- model, learn about, and build capacity for the use of a principle-based restorative approach as a response to harm and as a way to build an inclusive and respectful institutional culture now and into the future.
The Defence Team leadership is committed in supporting the Restorative Engagement program’s success. It will allocate the resources needed to acknowledge the wrongs experienced by class members and to make the necessary changes to the organizational culture and systems that contribute to or enable sexual misconduct to persist.
Participants in Restorative Engagement
Restorative engagement includes:
- Who may share what they are comfortable sharing
- Who may decide howFootnote 1 they engage with others
- Who may participate in activities to inform and effect change towards an institution where everyone is treated with dignity and respect
- Who may begin the process of restoring their relationship with CAF/DND by being heard and acknowledged
- Who listen, acknowledge and learn from class members’ experiences
- Who take responsibility on behalf of the institution for the causes and responses to sexual misconduct
- Who take action at the individual, collective and institutional levels to contribute to culture change in real time
- Who have experience and training in restorative approaches
- Who facilitate engagements in a trauma-informed way
Program Design and delivery
The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre developed and is implementing the Restorative Engagement program in collaboration with:
- Integrated Conflict and Complaint Management
- subject matter experts in restorative approaches, trauma, sexual misconduct, military norms and culture
- stakeholders, including individuals who experienced sexual misconduct in the military or Defence workplace
Exception to the Duty to Report
On May 25th 2022, the Minister of National Defence granted a regulatory amendment to create an exception to the Duty to Report in the context of a restorative engagement program.
As per the Queen’s Regulations and Orders for the Canadian Forces articles 4.02 and 5.01, the Duty to Report any infringement of the Code of Service Discipline, including sexual misconduct, applies to all Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members.
This amendment will allow the program to be delivered as per its intended design but will not limit a class member’s ability to report. It will help ensure others are not reporting on their behalf. Likewise, it will also ensure that CAF members, who have volunteered to listen, acknowledge and learn from class members’ experiences, are not put in a position where they are obligated to report incidents of wrongdoing, regardless of whether the affected person is ready or willing to report them.
Read the News Release regarding this exception for more information.
A restorative approach to addressing sexual misconduct
A restorative approach is a principle-based approach that is focused on relationships between individuals, and between them and their communities or institutions. Originating from Indigenous cultures and practices, restorative approaches have been applied to educational environments, the criminal justice system, and communities. There are no set models or practices of a restorative approach. Instead, a restorative approach is a way of using restorative principles, working in relationships between people, to address the root cause of harm and prevent further harm from happening.
Sexual misconduct is a complex issue. The experience and the harm of sexual misconduct is deeply personal. However, sexual misconduct is not only a problem at the individual level. It is part of a problem in society and exists when organizations or institutions tolerate or ignore it. A restorative approach addresses both individual needs as well as institutional responsibility.
The Restorative Engagement program is a restorative approach to addressing sexual misconduct as it aims to restore the relationship between people affected by sexual misconduct also known as class members and the institution where the harm occurred (CAF/DND).
Pillars of a restorative approach
The views, perspectives, needs and goals of every participant are heard and acknowledged
Defence representatives learn from class members’ experiences of sexual misconduct and take responsibility, individually and collectively, for its causes and responses
Participants build an engagement, within the program framework, that meets their goals and expectations collaboratively with restorative practitioners
Defence representatives and leaders react quickly and positively to address what is shared by class members
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