Sanctions must be applied to sexual perpetrators within our defence forces

Kildare based Senator Fiona O’Loughlin has welcomed the announcement of an unbiased Independent Review to examine the effectiveness of policies and procedures in the Defence Forces workplace, and the announcement that interim support measures for members of the Defence Forces, , who have been affected by issues raised by the Women of Honor.

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin said, “I raised the issue of the Women of Honor in the Seanad with the Government two weeks ago, and I made it very clear that the allegations of sexual assault and harassment by male colleagues and superiors against female operatives needed to be dealt with appropriately.”

“I made it clear, that any investigation or review of these allegation had to be done in truly transparent way, and that the process must have the full support and confidence of defence force personnel”

“I am pleased to see that Minister Coveney has taken my sentiments on board, and is responding to the Women of Honor, and is seeking to deal with the issues of culture and treatment of junior colleagues within the defence forces. “

“An agreement that has been reached with Raiseaconcern, an organisation working with private sector and public bodies on issues relating to workplace wrongdoing, and on the appointment of a Confidential Contact Person (CCP) who will be available to support members of the Defence Forces. This is intended to provide a safe place to support the reporting of alleged wrongdoing”

 “But this must only be the first step in restoring the confidence and trust of each and every member of the Defence Forces. We need to see real action here, and we need the cultural issues highlighted by these brave women to be stamped out.

Senator O’Loughlin concluded “Providing members with an opportunity to express and share their experiences in the workplace is a key element, but we must see sanctions. Where there is evidence of sexual misconduct, or of harassment, the Minister must be prepared to sanction the perpetrators. Victims deserve to know that their perpetrators will be taken to task for their wrongdoing, be that within the defence forces, or the justice system”