NZ Defence Force commended for challenging its own culture

NZ Defence Force commended for challenging its own culture

March 15, 2016

“We stand behind the NZ Defence Force’s commitment to safety and transparency within their own ranks by clearly outlining issues facing their people and putting in place robust actions to address them so there is zero tolerance of inappropriate behaviours,” said EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue.

“Importantly our Defence Force is concerned about and working to address the under-reporting of bullying and harassment amongst their own: this is the kind of honest and open response our entire public service can learn from.”

Operation RESPECT is the culmination of two years of work to tackle inappropriate and harmful sexual behaviours in the NZ Defence Force.  The Action plan was driven by the need to look after Defence Force people while also retaining and recruiting women in the New Zealand military.

“We know that bullying and harassment is high in New Zealand’s public sector, addressing culture in work is critical if we are to improve the human rights of workers,” said Dr Blue.

“We commend the Defence Force’s leadership and courage in speaking out about bullying and harassment, changing our culture starts with challenging it.”

The Operation RESPECT action plan contains six key areas: 

Establishing a strategy to change the NZDF’s culture and behaviours to challenge persistent sexism and better integrate women into our Defence Force;

  • Increasing training including a sexual ethics and healthy relationships training package, and holding ‘town halls’ across camps and bases to discuss inappropriate sexual behaviour;
  • Implementing a restricted disclosure system by 30 June, 2016, to offer an alternative way to report sexual assault;
  • Introducing a dedicated, professional sexual assault response team; and,
  • Addressing issues associated with specific risk factors including facilities and alcohol.
  • Increasing the percentage of women in our armed forces, and the representation of women in senior leadership roles 

Learn More: 

The NZDF recently joined the global gender equity pledge. Learn more here

Human Rights Commission

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