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Sex-misconduct survey excludes vulnerable military members: Survivors' group

Canadian Forces CH-47 Chinooks participate in a flyover of Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 9, 2014. A survivors' group for those affected by sexual misconduct in the military say the voices of particularly vulnerable service members are being excluded from a survey designed to identify the prevalence of inappropriate behaviour in the ranks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — A survivors’ group for those affected by sexual misconduct in the military say the voices of particularly vulnerable service members are being left out of a survey meant to see how prevalent inappropriate behaviour is in the ranks.

The survey is conducted by Statistics Canada for the Canadian Forces and is the military’s most recent attempt to get a handle on how many service members have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct over the previous 12 months.

Statistics Canada conducted a similar survey involving 43,000 Forces members in 2016 to set a baseline so senior commanders could see whether progress is being made in the fight against sexual misconduct.

But It’s Just 700, which represents former service members who experienced sexual trauma in uniform, is questioning the decision to omit certain military personnel, particularly those who are in training, at university, or on medical leave.

The military says such service members were not included because they were not likely to have been in active service in the Forces for the 12 full months the survey is meant to cover.

But It’s Just 700 says recent research has shown young military members and those on training are among those most at risk for sexual violence — and including them would provide a more accurate report on the extent of inappropriate behaviour.

The Canadian Press