Sexual Misconduct Response Centre - Charter

October 2017

1. Background

The Sexual Misconduct Response Centre (SMRC) was established within the Department of National Defence (DND) in September 2015 in response to recommendations by an External Review into Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). This Charter replaces the SMRC Interim Mandate, and supports the department’s priority on well-supported, diverse, resilient people and families in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy.

2. Governance

The SMRC operates as part of DND under the authority of the Deputy Minister (DM). It is led by an Executive Director (ED) who reports directly to the DM. Although independent from the CAF chain of command, the Centre is responsive to CAF needs and, as such, must maintain critical partnerships with CAF organizations. The Centre benefits from an External Advisory Council on Sexual Misconduct, comprised of subject matter experts and leaders in Canada’s public and private sectors, who provide independent, third-party advice to the DM and Chief of the Defence Staff on initiatives to address and eliminate sexual misconduct in the CAF.

3. Accountability

The ED is accountable to the DM for the following:

  • Delivery of evidence-based victim support services that meet the needs of CAF members;
  • Management and performance of the SMRC in accordance with approved performance measurement objectives;
  • Management of financial, human, and materiel resources;
  • Management of obligations related to information, infrastructure, environment, security, and health and safety, in accordance with legislation, policies, and regulations; and
  • Preparing an annual report on the expenditures, activities, and effectiveness of the Centre.

4. Responsibility

The ED is responsible for the following:

  • Promoting and articulating the Centre’s vision, strategic priorities, policies, operations, and initiatives across the CAF and to its stakeholders and partners;
  • Developing, delivering, managing, and evaluating victim support services related to sexual misconduct, in partnership with the CAF;
  • Maintaining a cadre of civilian counsellors with the academic credentials, knowledge, and experience required to perform their duties effectively;
  • Maintaining an integrated Military Liaison Team, comprised of a Military Police Liaison Officer, and Military Liaison Officers, with the rank, credentials, knowledge, and experience required to perform their duties effectively;
  • Implementing an orientation, training, and quality control framework to ensure best practices and continuous quality improvement in service delivery;
  • Ensuring that all client information is kept confidential unless disclosure is required by law or with the consent of the client. All personal information is treated in accordance with all applicable laws, including the Privacy Act; 
  • Establishing partnerships with internal and external organizations to ensure access to victim support services throughout Canada, and to deployed operations;
  • Being responsive to CAF needs in the areas of victim support and contributing to the mission of the CAF by providing advice, information, and expertise to influence a range of strategic and tactical priorities related to sexual misconduct, such as prevention, policy development, training curriculum, data collection, accountability, and research; 
  • Ensuring open and on-going communication to and from internal and external partners and stakeholders, as well as the External Advisory Council, to deliver effectively on the Centre’s mandate, while maintaining independence of the Centre from the chain of command and protecting the confidentiality of personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act; 
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with counterparts in other victim support agencies serving the armed forces of Canada’s allies, key partners, and other jurisdictions to ensure knowledge transfer and sharing of best practices; 
  • Being the key point of contact and authoritative representative of the Centre in dealings with central agencies, other government departments and the private sector;
  • Providing a report to the CDS, on an annual basis, regarding CAF satisfaction with SMRC services; and 
  • Providing regular reports to the CDS with the intent to ensure comprehensive, seamless, victim-centred support services.

5. Vision

The SMRC contributes to the elimination of sexual misconduct in the CAF, thus contributing to the operational readiness and effectiveness of the CAF.

6. Mission

The SMRC, as part of DND and independent from the chain of command, ensures the provision of timely, compassionate, and comprehensive support to CAF members affected by sexual misconduct, while working in partnership with CAF to increase understanding, improve preventative measures, and enhance responding to these behaviours in the CAF.

7. Roles and Responsibilities

The Roles and Responsibilities of the SMRC are to:

  • Collaborate in the development, delivery, management, and evaluation of victim support services in the CAF to ensure timely, comprehensive, consistent, evidence-based services delivered by SMRC and internal partners;
  • Promote seamless and victim-centred support services to ensure that individual victims are appropriately informed, considered, protected and supported; 
  • Support the chain of command in responding to sexual misconduct through the provision of advice, information, and expertise[1];
  • Advise the CAF on the nature of sexual misconduct and its impact on CAF members as a means of facilitating the development of education, training, policy, and support services;
  • Promote the role, mandate, and services of the Centre to increase awareness and understanding and to encourage CAF members who are affected by sexual misconduct to seek support services to meet their needs;
  • Continue to evolve the Centre’s program delivery model and services to better meet the needs of CAF members and others; and
  • Establish SMRC as a Centre of Excellence in victim support and response.

[1] SMRC benefits from an integrated Military Liaison Team that consists of a Military Police Liaison officer (MPLO) who provides SMRC with a direct link to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service. The MPLO is a subject matter expert in military police reporting, investigation, and judicial proceedings. The team also includes a Special Advisor (SA) who provides strategic advice and performs direct executive military liaison between SMRC and the CAF, ensuring mutual understanding, unity of purpose and action, and effective support of CAF members affected by sexual misconduct. Both the MPLO and SA take calls either facilitated by counsellors or directly.

8. Applicability

SMRC provides services to any of the following members:

  • A member of the Regular Force;
  • A member of the Primary Reserve;
  • A member of the Supplementary Reserve;
  • A member of the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service; or
  • A member of the Canadian Rangers.

9. Review

The Charter will be reviewed every three years, or as required;

John Forster, Deputy Minister- Department of National Defence
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