A military court has found a Canadian Armed Forces soldier not guilty of sexually assaulting a fellow CAF member some five years ago.

On January 4, a standing court martial in Gatineau, Que. found MCpl.l Dustin Jackson not guilty of charges related to an alleged sexual assault of a female CAF member in Ottawa back in October 2011.

The alleged assault was reported to authorities in January 2014, according to the military.

Of the two charges against Jackson, military judge Lt. Col. Louis-Vincent d’Auteuil found:

  • Jackson not guilty of one charge of sexual assault under section 130 of the National Defence Act (NDA), Section 271 of the Criminal Code of Canada
  • Jackson not guilty of one charge of having behaved in a disgraceful manner under section 93 of the NDA

The case is just one of the many sexual cases that military investigators are wading through and instances of sexual assault that still have to be uncovered.

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A Statistics Canada survey on sexual misconduct in the military has found that as many as 960 regular members of the CAF were victims of sexual assault involving a fellow member of the force in the workplace.

More than 43,000 responses were collected representing 53 per cent of the CAF population. The key findings were:

Sexual assault

  • In the twelve months preceding the survey, 1.7 per cent (or 960) regular force members reported that they were victims of sexual assault in the military workplace or involving military members. Unwanted sexual touching was the most common form of sexual assault, reported by 1.5 per cent(or 840) regular force members.
  • Women in the regular force were more likely than men to be sexually assaulted (4.8 per cent versus 1.2 per cent) in the twelve months preceding the survey.

Sexualized and discriminatory behaviours

  • 79 per cent members of the regular forces saw, heard, or were personally targeted by sexualized behaviour in the military workplace or involving military members, Department of National Defence employees, or contractors.
  • Sexual jokes were the most common type of sexualized behavior in the workplace, witnessed or experienced by 76 per cent of regular force members.

The CAF is also facing a proposed class-action which alleges that sexual discrimination, misconduct, and harassment are rampant in the service.

Through her lawyer, Glynis Rogers, a former CAF member from Nova Scotia, filed a statement of claim against Ottawa on Monday before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court. She claims she was subjected to sexual orientation-based discrimination, bullying and harassment during training and during her time as a regular member of the armed forces.

In September this last year, the military launched an 18-member Sexual Offence Response Team to boost the ability of the CAF’s National Investigation Service to protect and support victims of sexual-based offences.

The creation of the team is in line the Department of National Defence’s Operation Honour.

Op Honour is a campaign to deal with sexual misconduct in the military. It was launched in launched in 2015 following the report of Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps.

Retired Justice Deschamp was asked by military commanders in 2014 to conduct lead an investigation into sexual misconduct in the military. In her report, Deschamp said she found a “sexualized culture” were female members of the Armed Forces were subjected to abuse ranging from harassment and sexual jokes to outright rape.