By Jade La Neuville-Gauthier, SMRC Communications Student –
In December 2018, a number of international representatives participated in the first “Forum on Sexual Misconduct: A Five Eyes Perspective,” organized by the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) in Ottawa-Gatineau. The two main themes of the forum were victim support services and initiatives, and the prevention measures implemented in the various militaries.
Fifty experts from the allied forces of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States attended the forum. Members of external organizations including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and the International Red Cross were also invited in order to participate and share best practices.
Discussions between the representatives focused on the issue of sexual misconduct in the various militaries. Topics included issue-specific definitions, service delivery to unique populations, and leadership needs for maintaining operational readiness.
This inaugural gathering of the Five Eyes members and their partners set the stage for future events, as it is expected that the forum will be held annually.
“The ‘Forum on Sexual Misconduct – A Five Eyes Perspective’ brought together experts from our partner countries to engage on an issue that is relevant to all of us. I am very pleased with the discussions that took place in the past two days. We had the incredible opportunity to exchange best practices on how to effectively address sexual misconduct in our respective organizations, and how to best meet the needs of military members. I am looking forward to furthering our working relationships,” said Dr. Denise Preston, Executive Director of the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre.
Canada’s Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, clearly articulates the Government’s position on the detrimental impact of harmful and inappropriate behaviour. Everyone who serves their country deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. This forum provided an opportunity for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to reaffirm their priority focus of ensuring that military members are well supported.
For more information, visit the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre website.
Photo: CFSU(O) IMAGING SERVICES/Master Corporal Daniel Merrell
This article was initially published in the Maple Leaf
This post is also available in: Français (French)