Military preparing for promised consultations with sexual misconduct victims

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Published December 31, 2021 at 12:54 pm

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing for the launch of highly anticipated consultations with thousands of current and former military members and defence officials who experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour while in uniform.

The consultation known as restorative engagement will see around 5,000 Armed Forces members and defence officials share their experiences and offer their thoughts on how similar incidents can be prevented in the future.

The process is a key part of the government’s $900-million settlement agreement in 2019 that resolved several overlapping class-action lawsuits brought by victims of military sexual misconduct.

The Defence Department’s civilian-run sexual misconduct response centre is leading the consultation in partnership with the military unit responsible for dealing with internal conflicts.

Denise Preston, the centre’s executive director, says a few consultations were held in November as a sort of trial run but that the process will launch in earnest in January.

She adds the point of the exercise isn’t for victims to confront those who harmed them, but rather is intended as a way for victims to help change the military’s culture and its handling of inappropriate and criminal sexual behaviour.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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