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Women Offender Programs and Issues

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The Cross Gender Monitoring Project
3rd and Final Annual Report

v) Incidents of Sexual Misconduct

In our Second Annual Report, we reported that we had been made aware of allegations of sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual exploitation. There have been approximately 25 allegations, not including violations of the National Protocol which have increased substantially over the last year, e.g. privacy violations. These incidents include sexual harassment, inappropriate sexual touching, and situations in which an inmate allegedly has agreed to "consensual" sex with a staff member, to name a few. This year we have also been informed of an allegation where a Primary Worker is in an ongoing relationship with a FSW even after he was transferred to another institution. Almost all of the other allegations, to our knowledge, have involved other non-PW staff members, including one that involved a religious leader. As it is not the mandate of the Cross Gender Monitoring Project to investigate allegations, we have in all cases referred these matters to the Correctional Investigator's Office and CSC's Women Offender Sector for follow-up. It should be noted that very few of these allegations involved male Primary Workers.

The issue of boundaries in staff relationships with inmates is very important and has been identified as a training need or, in one or two instances, training on this issue has been developed locally and provided to the staff. The issue of boundaries is one that is of relevance and is discussed within all helping professions.

Although we cannot comment on these allegations, it is within our mandate to say that there have been enough allegations to point to the need for extreme caution in selection of both staff and contractors and for training to become a requirement prior to employment in a FSW facility. As mentioned, we have serious concerns about both selection and training.