Forces needs more info on perpetrators of sexual misconduct, response centre says

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OTTAWA — The head of the Canadian Forces’ sexual-misconduct response centre says the military needs more information about perpetrators in the ranks if it wants to eliminate such behaviour.

Denise Preston says she’s planning to spearhead efforts to fill in that critical information gap.

The Forces has spent the past four years wrestling with ways to eradicate sexual assaults and inappropriate behaviour by establishing new support services for victims and promising severe consequences for perpetrators.

But Preston says the response has been largely reactive and the focus should shift toward prevention, which means better understanding who is responsible for such behaviour and why they do it.

That includes whether there are certain aspects of the Forces’ culture that either encourage certain military personnel to misbehave or put others in vulnerable situations.

Preston’s comments coincide with the release of the response centre’s most recent annual report, which says the number of people who contacted the centre for support or information last year increased by 20 per cent to 484.

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