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Sexual Misconduct Prevention & Response Office (SeMPRO)

How to get help: Call 1800 SeMPRO (1800 736 776) 24/7 | Immediate danger? Call 000 (AUS) | Exit Site

SeMPRO’s Services

SeMPRO provides victim-focused care to Defence personnel who have been affected by an incident of sexual misconduct. SeMPRO will operate in a trauma-informed manner to deliver best-practice support to those affected by sexual misconduct, as well as those who are supporting them.

What is sexual misconduct?

A working description of the term 'Sexual Misconduct' has been developed to guide SeMPRO operations. Sexual Misconduct includes sexual offences1 and serious incidents of a sexual nature2 which can cause trauma3, including:

  • Repeated demeaning behaviours of a sexual nature;
  • Extreme exclusion based on gender, sexual orientation, or gender identification;
  • Persistent unwanted / unwarranted attention of a sexual nature; and
  • Recording, photographing or transmitting incidents and images of sexual misconduct.

What does 'trauma-informed' mean?

A trauma -informed service creates a place of safety for those who have been sexually assaulted; responding on every level with an understanding of the effects of trauma and recognising the potential for the existence of trauma. Sexual assault has the capacity to place the victim suddenly in a world which is terrifying and in which they no longer have the ability or the capacity to control their emotions and/or psychological state. In the context of Defence, if the offender is a colleague, the very people who form part of their 'family', their unit, has assaulted them, left them unsafe and undermined their belief and values system.

A trauma-informed service differs from traditional approaches to health and human service delivery whereby support is organised around the prevalence of trauma throughout society (particularly as complex trauma is not necessarily apparent from diagnoses and client presentations). For SeMPRO, the assumption is that the existence of trauma is highly likely in those men and women who contact SeMPRO for support and access to services. Services which are 'trauma-informed' are aware of and sensitive to the dynamics of trauma, as distinct from directly treating trauma per se. Trauma-informed services recognise the possibility of the existence of trauma in the lives of all clients/consumers, irrespective of whether it is known to exist in individual cases.

The five key principles of trauma-informed care are:
safety, trustworthiness, choice, collaboration and empowerment.

  1. Sexual Offences cover a range of criminal offences (including sexual assault/rape and acts of indecency) against a person that involve a physical act of a sexual nature, sometimes accompanied by violence that is committed against a person without their consent.
  2. Incidents of a sexual nature have an element relating to gender, sexual orientation, gender identification and/or sexual language and elements of intimidation, aggression and/or violence.
  3. Trauma can be as the result of a singular event or a series of incidents and experiences and can impair normal functioning, reactions, decision making, behaviours and relationships. SeMPRO recognises that trauma can manifest itself in a variety of ways and at different points in time dependent on the individual and the incident. The extent to which a person recovers from a traumatic incident is largely linked to the nature of support offered to the individual on disclosure. SeMPRO acknowledges that a poor response to a victim can compound her/his trauma.