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Defence Force progresses Harmful Sexual Behaviour Action Plan

June 10, 2016 at 8:47 AM

NZ Defence Force progresses Action Plan to address harmful sexual behaviour

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has established an expert panel to address harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour including sexual harassment and sexual assault.

The panel includes:

  • David Rutherford, Chief Commissioner, Human Rights Commission
  • Superintendent Tusha Penny, National Manager Prevention, New Zealand Police
  • Dale La Hood, Crown Prosecutor
  • Yvette Tinsley, Associate Professor of Law, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Louise Nicholas, Victims Advocate
  • Emma Powell, Head of Injury Prevention, Partnerships & Delivery, ACC.

The Defence Force also confirmed that four Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advisors (SAPRAs) have been employed to provide regional coordination for responding to sexual assault allegations. The NZDF said "the SAPRA’s have responsibility for case coordination, information management, provision of advice to Commanders, Managers and other personnel, as well as quality assurance of service provision to victims/survivors of sexual assault."

The NZDF will begin organising compulsory awareness-raising workshops for all military and civilian staff at every camp and base in June.

Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating said, "We've seen with our statistics that have gone up in the last three years because we've been on this programme now and what all the best science tell us and best practices are, you have to bring it out and you have to create an environment where in one case women but all victims feel that they can bring forward the issues."

Victim Advocate, Louise Nicholas said "We know that regardless of your organisation, how big or small it is, you will always have pockets of people that perpetrate harm." She said "So it's educating everybody within to ensure that anything they're seeing that's inappropriate, they know what to do and where to go and who to talk to."

The expert panel, regional coordinators and workshops are all part of the Operation RESPECT Action Plan announced earlier in 2016

Operation RESPECT was developed in response to a number of NZDF reviews finding issues with harassment, bullying, discrimination and sexual assault. For more information see the NZDF webpage on Operation RESPECT.