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Sexual offence response team launched

The military’s program to crack down on sexual misconduct in its ranks got a boost today with the launch of a new 18-member team dedicated to supporting the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence’s Operation Honour.

The Sexual Offence Response Team is meant to increase the ability of military’s National Investigation Service to protect and support victims of sexually based offences, a press release from the CAF said. The team will identify, investigate and help prosecute CAF and DND members responsible for criminal sexual offences.

“Our job as Military Police is to protect the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families,” Brig. Gen. Robert Delaney, Provost Marshal, and commander of the Military Police Group said. “The creation of the Sexual Offences Response Team and the increase in personnel to tackle these crimes will enable us to better support victims of sexual misconduct and ensure timely, professional investigations.”

The announcement at Canadian Forces Base Trenton officially recognized the establishment of the specially trained team that is already in place and conducting operations in six locations across Canada.

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Also in attendance at the announcement was Rear-Admiral Jennifer Bennett, Director General, Canadian Armed Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct.

  • Frontline Military Police remains a key part of the investigative process as they are often the first point of contact for complainants in reporting any offence. Military Police often interacts with victims as they attempt to deal with their trauma. The first and primary task in those situations are to support and protect victims.
  • The 18 investigators of the Sexual Offence Response Team are dispersed in three-member teams at the six Canadian Forces National Investigation Service’s regional offices located in Victoria, Edmonton, Borden, Ottawa, Valcartier, and Halifax.
  • In addition to standard training received by all investigators in the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, members of the Sexual Offence Response Team also receive specialized training in investigating sexual assault; physical abuse and child death; investigating offences against children; investigative and forensic interviewing techniques; and trauma informed care training.
  • The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is a unit within the independent Canadian Forces Military Police Group whose mandate is to investigate serious and sensitive matters in relation to Department of National Defence property, Department of National Defence employees and Canadian Armed Forces personnel serving in Canada and around the world

“The Sexual Offence Response Team adds to the strength of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service and optimizes opportunities to successfully identify, investigate and bring to prosecution those persons responsible for criminal sexual offences in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces,” said Lt.Col. Francis Boduc, commanding officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.

Recently that military has reported an increase in its criminal investigations.

However, one of the issues plaguing the campaign is that military justice officials are having trouble keeping track of how many CAF members have actually been convicted.

The military police have the option of referring sexual offence cases to either the military or civilian courts. The CAF National Investigation Services said 40 of the 49 sex-related cases that led to charges last year and the final six months of this year were referred to civilian courts. Historically, the military has not gathered any statistics on cases involving CAF members that have been referred to civilian court.

Author: Nestor Arellano

Nestor Arellano is editor of Vanguard Magazine. Nestor is a seasoned journalist who has written extensively on defence and military industry issues as well as technology and business developments. He is also associate editor of Vanguard's sister publication, IT in Canada.

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