Response to the Daily Telegraph 23 February 2019 article - Defence sex crime claims are rocketing
24 February 2019
Response to the Daily Telegraph 23 February 19 article – Defence sex crime claims are rocketing
Unacceptable behaviour is not tolerated in Defence. When it does occur, action is taken. Defence wants an organisation free from the impacts of sexual misconduct.
Defence continues reforming its culture.
One initiative has been the creation of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) and the focus on encouraging bystanders and victims of sexual misconduct to report and seek Defence support services, ensuring they feel safe to do so.
The increase in reporting relates to victims and bystanders feeling safer to seek help.
In 2017-2018 the number of victims seeking assistance from SeMPRO was similar to 2016-2017. More commanders, managers and other personnel sought advice to manage complaints and support victims from SeMPRO than in any previous year. This reflects the increased emphasis on education, including bystander training, and awareness of the SeMPRO services to support personnel and further improve incident management.
In line with other organisations, the 2017–18 SeMPRO report uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Offence Classifications (ANZSOC) to report on the sexual offences reported to Defence. These are reported as aggravated sexual assaults, sexual assaults, and non-assaultive sexual offences.
Previous SeMPRO Supplementary Reports used the sexual offence classifications from the Model Criminal Code, which used a narrower set of categories and provided a more restricted basis of reporting. Therefore any direct comparison on previous SeMPRO reports cannot be made. The new classification system is also used by law enforcement agencies and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Its use will enable Defence to develop a more comprehensive understanding of sexual misconduct incidents and trends.
The assistance SeMPRO provides to Defence personnel ensures the best support and well-being of victims of sexual misconduct and effective support to managers and commanders. Defence will continue to be transparent in its reporting of SeMPRO services to further the more positive reporting culture in the Defence.
Defence’s Sexual Misconduct and Prevention and Response Office (SeMPRO) provides advice, guidance and support to persons affected by sexual misconduct, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and can be contacted on 1800 736 776 (1800SeMPRO) or via SeMPRO [at] defence.gov.au.