After the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service confirmed there is an active investigation into a report of a sexual assault at a Vancouver Island naval base, the Office of the Minister of National Defence said it is taking action against such behaviour.
“Inappropriate sexual behaviour of any kind is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We take all allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, and through Operation HONOUR, definitive action is being taken to eliminate this kind of behaviour,” press secretary Byrne Furlong said.
“We will not stop until all our members are able to perform their duties in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. We cannot comment further at this time as this matter is under investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service.”
The investigation is looking into a report of sexual assault at the CFB Esquimalt on Oct. 5.
Since 2015, Operation HONOUR has been tracking sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence. From April 1, 2017, to March 31, 2018, more than 425 reports were received. Reported incidents from 2017 averaged at 25 per month, with an average of 13 a month in the first three months of 2018. While the majority of incidents are labelled “inappropriate sexual behaviour” at 231, sexual assault is second with 111 reported occurrences.
The statistics show 109 investigations closed, with 318 incidents still under investigation. Organizations including the Military Police and CFNIS are conducting 225 of those investigations, Operation HONOUR’s findings show.
From those reported incidents, 35 people were “removed from positions of command, leadership, instruction or supervisory duties.” More than 95 per cent of sexual offences reported to CFNIS since April 2017 were determined to be ”founded.”
The Military Police also keep track of their investigations on a national level, with their latest available statistics from 2016 including 176 sexual assault investigations. An additional 13 investigations were about sexual violations against children. The annual report shows how many investigations were conducted by branched of the Military Police. In 2016, it shows a total of 203 sex-related offences were reported to the Military Police.