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Sexual Misconduct Allegations in The CAF

daftandbarmy

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I hadn't heard about this. Curiouser and curioser....

Military faces fresh calls for end of 'duty to report' for sexual misconduct​


OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is facing fresh calls to create an “explicit exception” for victims of sexual misconduct and their confidantes from having to report incidents to their commanders.

The request is one of dozens of recommendations contained in a new report released Tuesday following nearly two years of consultations involving survivors and military officials.

The government agreed to the consultations as part of its $600-million settlement deal with Armed Forces members and defence officials who experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour in the workplace.

The “duty to report” regulation compels service members to report any type of inappropriate or criminal behaviour — whether sexual or not — to higher authorities, which begins a formal complaint process.

Yet the Survivor Support Consultation Group’s report says the so-called duty to report was a “recurring topic of concern” during its work, echoing past criticisms about forcing victims and their confidantes to report incidents when they are not ready or don’t want to.

“Currently, all CAF members are bound by a regulatory duty to report all misconduct, including sexual misconduct,” reads the report by the group, which included three class-action lawsuit members and three military members.

“Of particular concern is how the duty to report sexual misconduct impacts a survivor’s autonomy over whether, when, and how to report their experiences, and whether and how to seek support following an incident.”

The reference to seeking support addresses what the report describes as long-standing ambiguity around whether the duty to report also applies to Armed Forces medical personnel and clergy.

“Taken together, the ambiguity and inconsistencies in health care and chaplaincy add to the vulnerability of survivors at a critical time,” it says.
The consultation group’s report says it is not the first to raise concerns about the requirement, noting it has also been criticized by survivors’ groups such as It’s Not Just 700 as well as the federal auditor general in 2018.

“Survivors need to be able to choose if, when and where they feel safe to report,” it reads. “In the CAF context in which investigations are not conducted by independent authorities, the ability of victims to choose and to receive support without reporting is essential.”

While the report calls for an exemption “from prosecution for failing to report sexual misconduct,” it allows that such an exemption should not apply to cases in which there is an imminent risk of harm, or where children or national security are involved.

Military commanders have previously resisted removing the duty to report, with military police saying it has helped increase the number of reported cases of sexual misconduct brought to their attention, particularly from bystanders or other third parties.

Yet others have said it discourages reporting and Lt.-Gen. Jennie Carignan, the senior officer responsible for leading culture change in the Armed Forces, indicated last week that an exemption is being considered.

“We are working on the policy coverage for this thing,” Carignan said during an update on her work as the Armed Forces’ first chief of professional conduct and culture.

The stated purpose of the consultation group’s work was to let those affected by military sexual misconduct have a direct influence on the Armed Forces’ policies, programs and services when it comes to responding to such incidents and supporting survivors.

The 45 recommendations include measures to better include survivors in the ongoing development of responses to sexual misconduct, better support different groups such as Indigenous military members, and increase training and accountability in the institution.

In a written response to the report, chief of the defence staff Gen. Wayne Eyre and Defence Department deputy minister Jody Thomas say several of the recommendations are already being acted upon, while the rest will be considered in due time.

Eyre and Thomas do not explicitly mention the duty to report in their response.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2021.

 

CBH99

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I remember when I tried to hold the CoC to account regarding timelines for the IAs response and kept the email that was sent by the CEFCOM Capt who was tasked with the file. I submitted the grievance in March 2012 and believe the IAs responsibility at that time was a 60 day response. After 4 months of no response I pushed back and the email I received from CEFCOM in late July 2012 stated:

"I understand your frustration with the system, let me try to explain. The position of grievance officer here at CEFCOM has been empty since July 2011. I was asked to to fill the position part time in April 2012 until a new incumbent was named or posted in, which was expected in July 2012. I have been doing my full time job, Honours and Awards, as well as managing the grievances...Unfortunately there will again be a delay until approximately October 2012 due to the transformation of CANOSCOM... All to say I was directed to request an extension until 1 December 2012 "...

With that I requested it to go to final authority knowing the outcome already. I received the decision in Feb 2014 2 years after submission.

One of the outcomes I requested was for more education and awareness around sexual misconduct issues and barriers faced those who have to use administrative measures when addressing the conduct. Unfortunately the grievance was denied but Lawson did state that I displayed courage in addressing the matter. Yes "courage" needed in addressing misconduct from those I worked with!

Now the CAF is under a third review of its administrative and leadership competencies and I have always known that there are and were many in the ranks who were trying to address these concerns in real time and at many levels. The paternalistic and ego centric attitudinal barriers are plenty in rank based environments and I have nothing but empathy for those in the junior ranks who try to come forward knowing the challenges I faced as a WO and one who did a lot for the CAF and its members.

Nothing like being told you need to know your place! The CAF lost a pretty good 40 year old WO in 2012 and I lost a career I rather enjoyed and exceled at.
I do believe your post at face value as well.

As I’ve really come to realize and appreciate over the last year or two, I was extremely fortunate that I did not witness nor experience any sort of sexual misconduct while I was a CAF member.


I have seen this very same ‘broken system’ here in the civi-world.

While the administrative process may be different, I’ve witnessed first hand something very similar to what you’ve described.

In our case, the organization that *should have independently investigated someone deferred the decision to investigate to the same person who was the subject of the complaint*…

The reason the member went to the organization to file the complaint? Because totally apathetic senior leadership ignored her entirely, and the responses she would sporadically receive were patronizing & void of action.


Management and leadership are not the same thing - too many people around the top don’t seem to realize that though.
 

CBH99

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While grievances are important, I would probably very seriously consider quitting if I got that kind of job as a posting, as it would be simply soul destroying (and mine is pretty battered at this point some days). Having to work on grievances with no actual authority to fix anything would turn me into a raging alcoholic.
Agreed, very much so.

What is the point of having someone work on a grievance, if they don’t have the authority to fix it, or recommend a fix that gets acted upon?

Soul destroying indeed.
 

FJAG

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Won't this ultimately mean a change to QR & O Vol 1 / NDA?
Possibly although one could issue a policy instruction which would state that "In the case of sexual misconduct the 'duty to report' shall be met by taking the steps set out in this policy: ..." and then working out the details for various scenarios in the policy itself one of which could very well be giving a victim alternate agencies to report to or even not reporting at all.

My guess is that whatever needs to be done will take some serious revision of existing procedures which will require something more detailed then would ordinarily go into a QR&O and a deemed compliance with the "duty to report" could easily be made part of that. Effectively that could be be drawn to the attention of individuals by adding a "Note" to the QR&O making a reference to the policy.

That's but one way of doing it.

🍻
 

dapaterson

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QR&O 4.02 (1) e already states that an officer only must push up things that the officer cannot adequately address. If a subordinate does not wish to have something reported (which could be construed to be a 4.02 (1)c issue) then I'd argue that extant regulations are sufficient.
 

FJAG

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QR&O 4.02 (1) e already states that an officer only must push up things that the officer cannot adequately address. If a subordinate does not wish to have something reported (which could be construed to be a 4.02 (1)c issue) then I'd argue that extant regulations are sufficient.
I think the provision at issue is the one in QR&O 5.01(e) which relates to NCMs and states:

A non-commissioned member shall:
...e. report to the proper authority any infringement of the pertinent statutes, regulations, rules, orders and instructions governing the conduct of any person subject to the Code of Service Discipline.

Effectively that orders that an NCM victim of sexual misconduct must report the offence to the CoC or military police. Similarly an officer victim could be in the same circumstances under 4.02(1)(c) in many circumstances.

Personally I know of no situation where any victim or confidant has ever been disciplined for such a failure to report although there seem to be anecdotal reports that the issue of having to report is of concern to some.

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ModlrMike

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While the duty to report is a valuable tool in some cases, I don't think it should be used as a club where sexual misconduct is the issue. It would be interesting to see how many people have been held to account for not reporting... I'm guessing few to none. Notwithstanding, removing the legal requirement to report from victims and their confidants is a good outcome.
 

CBH99

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I think the provision at issue is the one in QR&O 5.01(e) which relates to NCMs and states:



Effectively that orders that an NCM victim of sexual misconduct must report the offence to the CoC or military police. Similarly an officer victim could be in the same circumstances under 4.02(1)(c) in many circumstances.

Personally I know of no situation where any victim or confidant has ever been disciplined for such a failure to report although there seem to be anecdotal reports that the issue of having to report is of concern to some.

🍻
I can’t imagine a victim of sexual misconduct being disciplined for failing to report the matter. (But then again, the fact that this situation even exists at all just goes to show what a happy little bubble I was living in.)

I would imagine the issue some people
have is in the wording, ie they must report. What if it was meant as a verbal joke? What if it was mutually sarcastic? Are they friends?

The wording of must is intended to be positive. I think the intent was sincere and good. The wording of such things are better left to the lawyers and lawyer types, not crayon eaters like me.

______


Would a simpler solution not be to have a concrete and enforceable time limit for an IA to screen the grievance, work with the member to collect required/available evidence, and forward to FA.

If the time limit is exceeded, the grievance is automatically forwarded and the IA is to be disciplined. (Not an expert on the NDA)
 

Booter

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I’ve read a few of these replies- I’m not super familiar with that system. How does this help?

Sexual offences (not misconduct) are always better served being dealt with as close to the incident as possible- this seems to me, because I don’t understand, like it’s setting up more decade old allegations?

Is it a thing where people won’t be scared to have the initial conversation because it won’t automatically activate a process?
 

FJAG

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I can’t imagine a victim of sexual misconduct being disciplined for failing to report the matter. (But then again, the fact that this situation even exists at all just goes to show what a happy little bubble I was living in.)

I would imagine the issue some people
have is in the wording, ie they must report. What if it was meant as a verbal joke? What if it was mutually sarcastic? Are they friends?

The wording of must is intended to be positive. I think the intent was sincere and good. The wording of such things are better left to the lawyers and lawyer types, not crayon eaters like me.

______


Would a simpler solution not be to have a concrete and enforceable time limit for an IA to screen the grievance, work with the member to collect required/available evidence, and forward to FA.

If the time limit is exceeded, the grievance is automatically forwarded and the IA is to be disciplined. (Not an expert on the NDA)
I don't want to go too far down the rabbit hole of this issue as I never thought that the "duty to report" was a problem either but yet this report from the Survivor Support Consultation Group seems to indicate that it is an issue for them and as such I expect it will be addressed by the powers that be in due course.

🍻
 

Jarnhamar

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While the duty to report is a valuable tool in some cases, I don't think it should be used as a club where sexual misconduct is the issue. It would be interesting to see how many people have been held to account for not reporting... I'm guessing few to none. Notwithstanding, removing the legal requirement to report from victims and their confidants is a good outcome.
In my limited first and third hand experience there seems to be a number of cases where someone reports sexual misconduct (including assault) and it doesn't go far. I suspect a lot of it has to do with the NCO mafia and/or officers not willing to kick that nest/deal with it.

A culture of denial and/or sabotage seems to have taken root.

I don't see many options.

1. Remove the CoC from the reporting process completely (can't see outside organizations really taking sexualized comments very seriously); or
2. Expect our current CoC and culture to miraculously shift because a of a new new new mission statement.

Given the behavior displayed by our troops (as seen on the courts martial page) and new RMC officers (making sexual comments towards children) it's not just a dinosaur problem.

Even when the CoC isn't "bad" I'm guessing a number of them are just too busy to really care.



Shifting collective RSM interests from dress regs to culture change could be a start.
 

OldSolduer

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Shifting collective RSM interests from dress regs to culture change could be a start.
Give this soldier an A for perceptiveness.

The RSM is a very important position in any unit as I am sure you will all agree. The RSM sets the tone for the dress and deportment of his/her unit and in many cases soldiers junior - particularly the NCOs - to him/her will emulate the RSM. I know Roy Bruce had an effect on my career as well as Alex Wilson, and to an extent Jerry Frank. Many other WOs who went on to be RSMs (Ron Cooke) also had an effect on how I presented myself to the soldiers. The best RSM I never had - Bud Gilfoy as an MWO - had a positive effect on the soldiers.
The RSM should be doing this already - changing the culture - and he/she has to have a real sense of right and wrong.
 

Eye In The Sky

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QR&O 4.02 (1) e already states that an officer only must push up things that the officer cannot adequately address. If a subordinate does not wish to have something reported (which could be construed to be a 4.02 (1)c issue) then I'd argue that extant regulations are sufficient.

In the context of this thread, can all Officers decide what to report, or even adequately address? OCdts/NCdts and RMC come immediately to mind…
 

Kat Stevens

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Give this soldier an A for perceptiveness.

The RSM is a very important position in any unit as I am sure you will all agree. The RSM sets the tone for the dress and deportment of his/her unit and in many cases soldiers junior - particularly the NCOs - to him/her will emulate the RSM. I know Roy Bruce had an effect on my career as well as Alex Wilson, and to an extent Jerry Frank. Many other WOs who went on to be RSMs (Ron Cooke) also had an effect on how I presented myself to the soldiers. The best RSM I never had - Bud Gilfoy as an MWO - had a positive effect on the soldiers.
The RSM should be doing this already - changing the culture - and he/she has to have a real sense of right and wrong.
One of your old 2VP alum had an effect on my young sapper brain when i was on my driver track course in Winnipeg Nov '82. Max The Axe was everything i swore I'd never be if I ever got to be a grownup. Good thing that never got put to the test.
 

OldSolduer

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One of your old 2VP alum had an effect on my young sapper brain when i was on my driver track course in Winnipeg Nov '82. Max The Axe was everything i swore I'd never be if I ever got to be a grownup. Good thing that never got put to the test.
I failed to mention there are a bunch of people that are bad examples and I swore I’d never emulate them. He’s one.
 

Eaglelord17

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I would say the Duty to Report is a huge issue for victims. It can make the victims feel even guiltier for what happened to them, even though they did nothing wrong.
 
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