Survey finds minimal progress in military’s fight against sexual misconduct

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada has offered a sobering assessment of the Canadian Forces’ four-year war on sexual misconduct, suggesting in a new report Wednesday that the military has made only minimal progress on several fronts.

The report was the result of a survey of about 36,000 service members conducted by Statistics Canada for the military last fall, the second such survey after an inaugural run in 2016.

On the surface, the survey yielded several reasons for optimism: fewer military members reported having witnessed or experienced sexualized or discriminatory behaviour over the previous 12 months than in the first survey.

Yet military commanders were tempering any congratulatory messages given that the number who reported seeing or being targeted by such behaviour was still high: around 70 per cent in 2018 compared to 80 per cent in 2016.

“Experiencing repeated pressure from the same person for dates or sexual relations and offering workplace benefits for sexual activity did not decrease in either the regular force or the primary reserve,” the report reads.

Even more worrying, the survey found that there had been only a negligible decline in the percentage of military personnel who reported having been the victims of sexual assaults over the previous 12 months.

According to the results, 1.6 per cent of regular-force members — about 900 full-time military personnel — reported having been the victims of sexual assaults over the previous 12 months. That compared to 1.7 per cent in 2016.

The rate among reservists was even higher, with 2.2 per cent — about 600 part-time military personnel — reporting they had been the victims of sexual assaults in the previous year, compared to 2.6 per cent in 2016.

Sexual assault includes a sexual attack, unwanted sexual touching or sexual activity without consent.

During a news conference announcing the results, the military’s second-in-command described the number of Forces members who continue to be affected by sexual misconduct as “completely unacceptable.”

“We’ve always known that this would be a long and bumpy road, and the survey results released today confirm this,” vice-chief of the defence staff Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk said.

“Sexual misconduct continues to be a destructive problem within the Canadian Armed Forces, and we have made rather limited progress in eliminating it over the past two-and-a-half years.”

The Statistics Canada report is the only latest to suggest the military’s efforts to eliminate sexual misconduct have fallen short, after similar findings by the federal auditor general and the Forces’ own investigations.

Military sexual misconduct

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance. A survey of about 36,000 service members conducted by Statistics Canada last fall suggests the military has made only minimal progress against sexual misconduct.

Just Posted

Central Alberta Pride Society celebrates Calgary’s conversion therapy ban

Central Alberta Pride Society celebrates Calgary city council’s ban of conversion therapy… Continue reading

Two-day rainfall wasn’t a record breaker for Red Deer

Last week’s two-day rainfall in Red Deer wasn’t a record breaker, but… Continue reading

Donald School of Business is returning to college’s main campus

Red Deer College’s Donald School of Business is moving back to the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

David Marsden: Jason Kenney is all hat, no cattle

There are few character failings more unappealing than those of people who… Continue reading

Ontario delays allowing bubble families, larger gatherings as COVID cases rise

Ontario delays allowing bubble families, larger gatherings as COVID cases rise

Alberta’s United Conservatives among parties seeking COVID-19 wage aid

Alberta’s United Conservatives among parties seeking COVID-19 wage aid

Minds behind pandemic predicting algorithm already thinking about future beyond COVID-19

Minds behind pandemic predicting algorithm already thinking about future beyond COVID-19

Celebrating May long with the new normal

Celebrating May long with the new normal

Vermilion Energy CEO leaves company, executive committee to take over role

Vermilion Energy CEO leaves company, executive committee to take over role

Gathering limits make it a ‘great time to be building a pipeline:’ Alberta minister

Gathering limits make it a ‘great time to be building a pipeline:’ Alberta minister

Most Read