Fundamental shift in addressing sexual offences
23 July 2013
Defence has adopted a fundamental change in the way it manages instances of sexual misconduct within the organisation.
Chief of the Defence Force General David Hurley said the launch of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) was considerably more than a new support mechanism for victims of sexual offences.
"By introducing SeMPRO and restricted reporting or confidential disclosure, we are emphasising our focus on caring for and supporting people who have experienced sexual misconduct.
"Restricted reporting empowers the victim to decide if, and when, a matter is reported for investigation.
"I was convinced quite early on that Defence needed to adopt a new approach with greater emphasis on victim care.
"That view was reaffirmed when Liz Broderick recommended we establish SeMPRO to coordinate timely responses, victim support, education, policy, practice and reporting for any misconduct of a sexual nature," General Hurley said.
From today SeMPRO will offer 24/7 confidential support for victims of sexual assault.
It will also act as a policy shopfront and provide advice to commanders and managers to manage incidents more effectively.
SeMPRO will act as a central data point to analyse prevalence and identify specific trends or risk factors that enable us to implement targeted prevention and education strategies across Defence.
"There is also a great deal of work being done right across Defence to effect cultural change.
"We are serious about eliminating unacceptable behaviour and resolutely committed to implementing the cultural reform outlined in Pathway to Change," General Hurley said.
More information on SeMPRO will be available at www.defence.gov.au/sempro
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999