Review of NZ Defence Force 'Operation Respect' published

Thu 16 Jul 2020

A report on a review of NZDF's Operation Respect has been published.


The Independent Review on the New Zealand Defence Force's progress on the Action Plan for Operation Respect (2020) notes some positive achievements, including:

  • Establishment of the Sexual Assault Response Team and Sexual Assault Prevention Response Advisors;
  • Provision of Sexual Ethics and Responsible Relationships training;
  • Creation of the Operation Respect Steering Group with members external to the NZDF; and
  • Buy-in from many leaders across the organisation.

It also makes 44 recommendations and identified four fundamental challenges to progress on implementing the action plan:

  • a lack of transparency and accountability of NZDF’s progress in addressing and preventing harm;
  • the current culture still encourages a ‘code of silence’;
  • the culture of military discipline and command prevents personnel from raising concerns of speaking out; and
  • the culture also makes it is difficult to call out behaviours or decisions made by personnel more senior in the hierarchy.

Related resources

The US-based National Sexual Violence Resource Centre (NSVRC) has collated a Military Sexual Trauma Resource List (July 2020).

Related media

Navy sailor appeals conviction after being found guilty of sexually assaulting comrades, Stuff, 08.11.2021

Former Royal NZ Navy captain's steward wants an apology, Stuff, 04.09.2021

Sailor found guilty of three sexual assault charges, RNZ, 02.07.2021

Defence Force and Government spend almost $900k fighting Mariya Taylor sex abuse case, Stuff, 11.09.2020

How to tackle sexual harassment and abuse in the New Zealand Defence Force, The Conversation, 08.09.2020

Defence Force accused of neglecting sexual violence programme, RNZ, 26.08.2020

History shows Defence chief could change the course of Mariya Taylor case, Stuff, 02.08.2020

Alison Mau: NZDF will have to dig deeper on assault and harassment after four years of fighting words, Stuff, 19.07.2020

Abuse survivors angry at lack of change in Defence Force's 'code of silence' culture, RNZ, 16.07.2020

New review finds a 'code of silence' among the problems dooming plan to eliminate sexual violence in our military, NZ Herald, 16.07.2020

Defence Force failed to tackle 'code of silence' on sexual assault, harassment — report, Stuff, 16.07.2020

Image: David Mark from Pixabay

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