Military continues sex-misconduct fight with new guide for members, commanders

Critics say a new manual on how the Canadian Forces should respond to sexual misconduct fails to address some concerns.

In particular, they point to the ``duty to report'' regulation, which they say discourages victims from seeking support if they aren't ready or willing to begin a formal complaint.

The new manual was developed in consultation with the military's sexual-misconduct response centre and a group of outside experts, with the goal of closing many of the gaps identified in the military's policies on abuse in its ranks.

While the 100-page document includes detailed information on how to support victims and the responsibilities of investigating incident, it still includes the ``duty to report'' regulation compelling military members to report inappropriate or criminal behaviour, sexual or not, and begin a formal complaint process.

Defence chief General Jonathan Vance has said the idea is to require anyone who learns of sexual misconduct to tell authorities so cases don't get hidden, but the effect can be to drag them into the open against victims' wishes.

Vance has said the military is looking at ways to maintain the requirement while better protecting victims.