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Independent centre to handle military sexual misconduct

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Published on May 15, 2015 with No Comments

Defence Minister Jason Kenney has said that he would guarantee the creation of an independent centre that would take complaints about military sexual misconduct and provide support and expertise for victims.
Kenney was responding to an NDP question in the Commons after media revealed that weeks before the release of a report into sexual misconduct in the military, Canada’s top general ordered military brass to plan to effectively ignore key recommendations, including the creation of an independent centre.
Kenney was asked point blank by NDP defence critic Jack Harris whether he would “guarantee that the Canadian Armed Forces will establish an independent body to handle sexual misconduct. Yes or no.” Kenney responded: “Yes.” A leading TV channel referring to the documents in its possession highlighted that Gen. Tom Lawson, chief of the defence staff, to military brass in response to a draft report into sexual misconduct in the military by former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps. Deschamps’ report found a misogynistic and sexualized culture in the Canadian Forces, in which harassment and abuse are overlooked, under-reported and poorly understood. One of her recommendations included the creation of an independent centre to take complaints and provide support and expertise. One of the “assumptions” in Lawson’s directive stated that “current sexual misconduct investigation and justice system authorities will remain unchanged.”
Lawson’s orders also seem to rule out Deschamps’s recommendation to have civilian police handle an entire investigation, if the victim chooses.
However, Justice Minister Peter MacKay, a former defence minister, suggested that he supports that recommendation. “I personally think, and I encourage — I spoke to the [military’s] Judge Advocate General yesterday — that there should be perhaps a protocol or perhaps a consultation that takes place between Crown prosecutors and military justice system.I just think there’s an opportunity there for greater collaboration in some cases between our military justice system when the behaviour crosses that line.”

 

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