Canada: Victims of improper sexual conduct in Canadian Forces aren’t well supported, MPs told - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaVictims of improper sexual conduct in Canadian Forces aren’t well supported, MPs told

07:25  12 february  2019
07:25  12 february  2019 Source:   ottawacitizen.com

Military slow to fix sex-assault problem: judge

Military slow to fix sex-assault problem: judge OTTAWA - Former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps says the Canadian military has been slow to change its highly sexualized culture. Testifying to the House of Commons defence committee, she said victims of sexual aggression in the ranks aren't served well by the military's complaints process. Deschamps led a report on sexual misconduct in the military in 2015. She told the committee the "duty to report," which compels service members to report criminal behaviour and trigger a formal process, does not support the needs of victims. Her comments echo the findings of a fall report by the auditor general. Defence chief Gen.

Canadian Armed Forces : Improper conduct directed at and offensive to others, which the perpetrator ought reasonably know would be so.[4]. United States Armed Forces : Unwanted sexual advances and other behaviour of a sexual nature.[5].

Current laws on sex work, introduced by the Conservative government in 2014, make it illegal to purchase or advertise sexual services and illegal to live on the material benefits from sex work.

Victims of improper sexual conduct in Canadian Forces aren’t well supported, MPs told © Chris Wattie Canada's Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance Last week former Supreme Court judge Marie Deschamps, who wrote a major report on sexual misconduct in the Canadian Forces, told parliamentarians her concerns about the military’s response to the issue.

She pointed out that the Canadian Forces has been slow to change its highly sexualized culture even though Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance launched a wide-ranging effort known as Operation Honour to eliminate abuse, harassment and assault in the ranks.

During her year-long investigation into military sexual misconduct, Deschamps interviewed hundreds of full- and part-time military personnel, as well as commanding officers, military police, chaplains, nurses and social workers.

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The interviews and her report released in March 2015 pointed to what Deschamps described as a “hostile sexualized environment” in the military, particularly among recruits and the junior ranks, which included everything from swearing and sexual innuendo to “dubious relationships” between low-ranking women and high-ranking men. It also included rape.

Testifying to the House of Commons defence committee last week, she said victims of sexual aggression in the ranks aren’t served well by the military’s complaints process. Deschamps stressed the need for the military to take a more victim-focused approach, providing more support to them. “There has to be a balance and the first person you have to look to is the victim,” she said.

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Documents obtained by Postmedia through the Access to Information law seem to support the views voiced by Deschamps. They show the lack of focus on the victim, at least when the initial incident is reported. One of the common concerns in the documents from senior military staff and public affairs officers focuses on the news media and whether journalists have or could find out about the alleged misconduct.

This was shown during the incident in late 2017 when an alleged sexual assault took place on a $337,000 taxpayer-funded junket for guests of Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance. That incident and details about other parties financed by the taxpayer played out in the news media throughout 2018.

As the above shows, there is no mention about taking care of the alleged victims. But there is a message about concern over the news media coverage that might take place if journalists found out about what happened on the aircraft. “Reactive PA posture” means that no information will be provided to the news media unless they somehow stumble upon details of the incident.

(With files from the Canadian Press)

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