Militarys sexual misconduct call centre to be available 24/7 despite staffing struggles

OTTAWA—The military’s sexual misconduct response centre is poised to make the long-awaited jump to round-the-clock service, despite what its new director admits have been struggles finding and keeping enough staff.The call centre was opened in September 2015 upon the recommendation of former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps after she uncovered a highly “sexualized culture” in the Forces.There were concerns from the beginning about the centre’s limited hours, with counsellors around to answer calls from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., eastern time, from Monday to Friday.The centre receives about 10 after-hours calls per month, officials said, which compares to the 625 calls from 410 individuals it received during business hours the whole of last year.But Denise Preston, who took over as executive director last month, said the Ottawa-based centre will finally expand its hours after nearly two years of existence in the coming weeks.Article Continued Below“Getting to 24/7 is obviously an immediate priority for us, and it’s very close to being announced,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview in her new office at the centre.Asked why it took so long, Preston said there was a “host of issues that had to be sorted out.”Read more: Canadian Forces to review allegations of sexual misconduct