Defence representatives listening and reflecting through restorative engagement

Restorative Engagement allows Defence representatives (Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Department of National Defence (DND) public services employees) to engage with those who experienced sexual misconduct by listening to them and acknowledging their experience.

Be a Defence representative in the Restorative Engagement program (only available on the National Defence network) to support the Defence Team’s transformation to a respectful and inclusive community in which everyone can thrive.

Who can participate as Defence representatives

Members of the CAF and DND public service employees can participate in Restorative Engagement. They are selected for their formal and informal leadership roles within the institutions and nominated to participate in order to carry out culture change. They represent the institution through a variety of different experiences, ranks, areas of work, and identities.

Why participate in restorative engagement as a Defence representative

As a Defence representative in the Restorative Engagement program, you may develop leadership and communication skills, learn how to engage authentically in difficult conversations and engage in broader institutional initiatives. You may also lead meaningful and sustainable change to address sexual misconduct and build a Defence Team in which all people are treated with dignity and respect.

How to participate as a Defence representative

If you would like to participate in the Restorative Engagement program as a Defence representative, you can ask your chain of command or your manager to nominate you. Nomination forms (d4792) can be found in the Defence Forms Catalogue (accessible only on the National Defence network) and include options for currently scheduled program timings.

Once nominated, Restorative Engagement program staff will contact you to:

The program will then make a decision about your placement in a cohort of Defence representatives and send you and your chain of command or manager a confirmation.

Defence representatives from all ranks and levels, environments, occupational groups, and diverse identities are needed for restorative engagement.

Note: The process for participating as a Defence representative is distinct from the process of participating as a class member in the program. Visit the class member webpage for more information about how to participate as one.

What to expect

You will be assigned to a cohort of 8 Defence representatives from all ranks and levels and inclusive of at least one senior CAF officer and a public service executive. Restorative practitioners will facilitate individual and collective activities with you and your cohort.

As part of your engagement, you must commit to:

Restorative practitioners will also facilitate your cohort engagements with class members.

Participation in Restorative Engagement will involve exposure to sensitive and potentially difficult discussions about sexual misconduct and your institution. These conversations can have an impact on you. We are committed to supporting you through this work.

Note: As per a recent regulatory amendment, the Duty to Report any infringement of the Code of Service Discipline, including sexual misconduct, does not apply in the context of a restorative engagement program.

This amendment does not limit a class member’s ability to report their experience. It will help ensure others are not reporting on their behalf. Likewise, it will also ensure that CAF members as Defence representatives, 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.

Phases of your restorative engagement process as a Defence representative

Preparing and relationship building

  • Explore and reflect on:
    • your knowledge, understanding, and experience of sexual misconduct
    • your assumptions and biases
    • your role within the institution and its culture
  • Participate in restorative dialogue processes to build relationships within the cohort and develop shared understanding of:
    • the causes and impacts of sexual misconduct and institutional failure
    • the systemic and endemic nature of sexual misconduct in the organization
    • what effective remedies for wrongdoing require
    • what it means to take a trauma-informed and restorative approach
  • Acquire the knowledge, skills and capacities necessary to support and engage with each other and with persons who have been affected by sexual misconduct without causing further harm

Engaging, experiential learning, and understanding

  • Directly or indirectly listen, acknowledge and respond to individuals’ experiences of sexual misconduct and related insights
  • Reflect on, share, and debrief those engagements with your cohort
  • Collectively identify and analyse lessons learned about the sexual misconduct and what needs to change

Planning and taking action

  • Plan and implement culture change initiatives at the individual, group, and organizational levels
  • Participate in identifying lessons learned about the restorative approach
  • Design and implement a plan to:
    • share about your experience with restorative engagement
    • support capacity building through outreach and onboarding of new cohorts
    • engage in broader institutional initiatives for culture change

Note: In order to protect the privacy and confidentiality of class members, Defence representatives will not share specific information about personal sexual misconduct experiences within their cohorts.

Time commitment

You can participate in the Restorative Engagement program full-time for a 3 month commitment or part-time for a 6 month commitment. Part-time participation could mean half-days or weeks on and off throughout the 6 months. There will be a defined work schedule.

Depending on interest and availability, you may continue participating in restorative engagement as a secondary duty following your initial commitment. We expect an ongoing commitment where possible for continued outreach, knowledge transfer and culture change.

Contact us

Call us or send us an email if you still have questions about the Restorative Engagement program:

Toll-free: 1-833-998-2048

Note: All calls to the Restorative Engagement program toll-free number are automatically transferred to the Sexual Misconduct Support and Resource Centre’s 24/7 line, where a counsellor can speak with you about Restorative Engagement.

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