EXCLUSIVE:  Internal review of sexual misconduct in military says no to ‘significant overhaul’

WATCH: The military has faced intense criticism for not doing enough to confront and deal with harassment within its ranks. Global News has exclusive access to an internal report on the matter. Vassy Kapelos has the details.

OTTAWA – An internal review on sexual misconduct in the military concludes “a significant overhaul isn’t necessary,” despite finding almost one-third of women in the Forces feel they have been harassed.

Global News obtained a copy of the review, which was conducted in April.

It was called for because of a series of articles in Maclean’s and L’actualité, alleging there is a “disturbing” level of sexual assault and harassment in the military.

The military’s internal review rebuffs that claim, saying rates of sexual assault and harassment are down from 1998, and “no policy gaps” can be identified.

But numbers from 2012 presented in the report show nearly a quarter of women in the military felt subjected to personal harassment in the last 12 months, and eight percent of women felt subjected to sexual harassment – for a total of about one-third.

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Appearing before a committee last month, Canada’s top soldier Gen. Tom Lawson insisted sexual misconduct is not part of military culture.

“That is not a military culture in 2014. If it may have been decades in the past – those times have past,” Lawson said.

Still, Lawson also called for an external review of the issue, and committed to finding a person to lead that review within the next two months.

The military said no one was available for comment Wednesday, but a spokesman referred Global News to a previous statement from Lawson.

5 conclusions from the military’s internal review of sexual misconduct:

1. A significant overhaul is not considered necessary. It is “assessed that there is an effective workplace policy and program framework.”

2 .There are no policy gaps. “Required policies are in place and are routinely reviewed and updated,” the review says.

3. Harassment reporting and “tracking mechanisms” – one area identified where improvements could be made.

4. The military should consider publicizing the actions taken against perpetrators when they’re found guilty, to “heighten members awareness and confidence.”

5. In 2012, 22.8 per cent of women felt personally harassed in the last 12 months, 7.8 per cent felt sexually harassed.

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