Chief of the Defence Staff releases progress report on Operation Honour
The Canadian Forces Provost Martial intends to reopen 166 cases on sexual misconduct originally deemed “unfounded” from the period of 2010 to 2016, according to the third Progress Report on eliminating sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
The report, which was released Friday by Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Jonathan Vance, noted that the CF Provost Martial will employ a case review model known as “The Philadelphia model” to provide for independent, external case review of unfounded sexual assault cases that would include stakeholders reviewing complete case files.
According to the report, the CF PM unfounded rate significantly has significantly decreased from 2010 from 28.89 per cent to 7.29 for sexual misconduct overall and 6.8 per cent for sexual assault last year.
“I’m encouraged by some of the steps being taken to eliminate inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces. We are taking career action against perpetrators, implementing more robust training programs, reviewing past unfounded sexual assault complaints and most importantly, are providing better support to victims. We still have more work to do, and we will continue to promote cultural change so we can rid our institution of this abhorrent behaviour,” said Gen. Vance.
The report takes a critical look at the steps taken by the CAF to eliminate sexual misconduct in the workplace and enact Op HONOUR for the period between July 2016 and March 2017.
According to the report, Op HONOUR is starting to take root and make a positive impact on CAF members and are gaining more insight on how to respond to incidents and support victims. It also states that victims are begging to come forward and Victim Support Services are being expanded to assist CAF members who have been impacted by harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Additionally, bystander training is being delivered across the CAF resulting in more members taking action to prevent sexual misconduct. Now more than 40 per cent of Harmful and Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour (HISB) incidents are reported by a third party.
The report also highlighted how the CAF is taking concrete measures to deal with perpetrators. In the last year, 77 notices of intent to release have been issued and misconduct in the CAF.
“This progress report shows there are positive steps being taken to change our culture to one of respect and dignity for all. I am especially encouraged that members of the Canadian Armed Forces are beginning to report the harmful sexual behaviour they witness in greater numbers. We’re a team, and we all have a duty to look out for each other. Supporting our people is key to this Operation’s success,” said CWO Kevin West, Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer.