On 6 October 2021 Minister for Foreign Affairs & Defence, Mr Simon Coveney announced interim support measures for members of the Defence Forces, past or present, who have been affected by unacceptable behaviour such as bullying, harassment, sexual harassment discrimination or sexual assault.
In order to encourage impacted persons to come forward, the Minister announced that a totally independent organisation, Raiseaconcern, has been appointed as Confidential Contact Person (CCP).
The role of the CCP is to assist persons who have been victims of such behaviour by listening to them and helping them document their complaints in a safe, supportive, independent environment. If you are such a person, you are encouraged to come forward.
The CCP will not be investigating your complaint, nor will they be providing a counselling service, but as well as taking a written record of your complaint, they will advise and guide you on both processes.
The CCP has no contact with, and is entirely independent and outside of, the Defence Forces Chain of Command and the Defence Organisation.
The CCP will provide the Minister with periodic updates on the number and types of cases and issues they are seeing but will not reveal your identity or details that may identify you. The summary information provided to the Minister will inform the upcoming Independent Review process recently announced by the Minister.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) Who are Raiseaconcern?
Established in 2013, Raiseaconcern is an independent Irish owned and operated organisation located in Sallins, Co Kildare. Raiseaconcern works with private sector and public bodies in the prevention, detection, investigation and remediation of workplace wrongdoing.
2) What is their role as Confidential Contact Person (CCP)
As CCP, Raiseaconcern’s role is entirely independent and outside of the Defence Forces Chain of Command and the Defence Organisation.
The role of the CCP is to be available to listen and assist serving or former members of the Defence Forces, both male and female, who have been the victims of bullying, harassment, sexual harassment or gender discrimination in the workplace in documenting their complaint. If you are such a person, the CCP process is in place to give you the opportunity to tell this independent body about your concerns. It is important that this information is gathered in order to quantify the extent of the various issues and inform next steps and the Independent Review. Raiseaconcern will remain available to keep communication channels open with the individual should that individual wish to do so.
Raiseaconcern will not be investigating allegations made, nor providing a counselling service but will advise and guide you on these.
3) How do I raise a concern with the CCP?
You can make initial contact with the CCP by:
Landline: 01 6107929
Mobile: 086 0299929
Post: Raiseaconcern, Station House, The Waterways, Sallins, Co. Kildare W91 DN60
Having given brief details of your concern to Raiseaconcern, they will log your contact and revert to set up an appointment to obtain a more comprehensive account of your concern. They can do this by telephone, by webcam meeting (MS Teams) or in person in their offices in Sallins, Co Kildare. In exceptional circumstances, Raiseaconcern will make arrangements to meet you at a suitable alternative location.
4) Who is this service open to?
This service is open to both serving and former members of the Defence Forces, male and female.
5) What will happen at my appointment?
You will be met by two experienced Raiseaconcern staff who are Confidential Contact Persons (CCP). One will lead the meeting and the other will assist you by taking a written record of your complaint.
Raiseaconcern will guide you through a process to ensure they capture all relevant information. The written record will not be a word for word account of what you say but will capture the key points clearly. A draft of your written record will be sent to you after the meeting to provide you with an opportunity to make any necessary corrections or clarifications or to add anything you have forgotten.
Before the written record is finalised, the CCP will ask you to agree the content.
6) Can I bring someone with me?
If you wish, you may be accompanied by a colleague, a friend or family member, an adviser or a support person of your choice.
7) What happens next?
Based on what you tell the CCP, they will provide you with guidance on where you can get any further supports you may need and what your options are. See below.
The CCP will seek your permission to hold all personal data and other information you give them. They will treat that data in accordance with the Data Protection Acts and GDPR regulations. They will store the written record of what you have shared safely and securely and your identity will not, under any circumstances, be disclosed without your agreement.
Initially, the CCP will analyse all the information received and prepare a high level analysis of the overall cases reported without identifying anyone. The findings of this preliminary exercise will be submitted to the Minister for Defence. This will be entirely independent of the Defence Forces Chain of Command.
Your detailed complaint will be retained by Raiseaconcern and will not be used as part of any other process until such time as the information-gathering process is completed.
If it is decided that the information you have given to the CCP should form part of a further independent process which may require you to be identified, the CCP will contact you to explain the process and the part you may have to play in it. They will also seek your permission on whether or not you wish to be part of that process, and if your information can be passed on.
8) Is there a cost to me?
9) Where can I go for immediate support?
The supports currently open to you are listed below and will be discussed at your meeting with Raiseaconcern. Further supports may be put in place based on the nature and volume of matters raised with the CCP.
10) Supports which are independent of the Defence Forces Chain of Command
INSPIRE Confidential Counselling.
Inspire is a 24 hour/365 day external confidential counselling service, independent of the Defence Forces and the Department of Defence and provides a referral and support service on a wide range of personal and work-related issues.
Inspire has provided this counselling service to the Defence Forces for a number of years. It is understood that some people may be reluctant to use the counselling service as they do not think the service is confidential. It is strongly emphasised that Inspire provides these services independently of the Defence Forces and that this has been reaffirmed, in writing, by Inspire Wellbeing. Inspire is paid by the Department of Defence to provide the service and provides statistics such as the number of calls, types of calls etc. This is purely for accountability and for visibility on the range and type of issues arising. At no point is a person’s name included in these statistics.
The counselling service is confidential at all stages. Anyone who accesses the service does not have to tell anyone that they will be contacting Inspire, as confidentiality underpins every aspect of their service delivery.
Inspire maintains a strict policy in accordance with privacy laws and professional ethics and all case records and information about services provided, are maintained in the strictest confidence. If anyone has any concerns about the confidentiality of the services, or you wish to speak to someone at Inspire about confidentiality, then please do not hesitate to contact them.
The service is available to serving personnel of the Defence Forces and currently to their partners or spouses and adult children living at home. The service has also been made available to those who has contacted Raiseaconcern/Confidential Contact Person.
As before, serving members are reminded that there is no requirement to go via the Defence Forces Personal Support Service (PSS) to contact INSPIRE.
Callers simply mention “Defence Forces” when they call and they will be routed to the appropriate person.
To access INSPIRE, please call 1800 409-673.
Personnel serving overseas can access the service using 00-353-1-685-6816.
For serving members, the Personal Support Service (PSS) also remains available.
The Chaplaincy Service also provides confidential, comprehensive pastoral support and spiritual care to serving personnel at home and overseas. You should contact your local chaplain in this regard.
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (RCC)
The RCC operates the National 24-hour Helpline 1800 778888 for those who need support in any part of the country www.drcc.ie
11) What mechanisms are available to me to have my complaint investigated?
This will be discussed at your meeting with Raiseaconcern. There will be no obligation on you to proceed to an investigation – you may just wish to share your experience.
This initial exercise will be to document your concern only, but if immediate steps are required to be taken, these can be discussed with the CCP.
The existing grievance and investigative processes within the Defence Forces remain available to serving Defence Forces personnel who wish to use them. Both serving and former personnel may also submit their complaint directly to the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces.
For allegations of a potentially criminal nature, both serving and former Defence Forces Personnel are advised to contact An Garda Siochana through the National Garda Protection Services Bureau (NGPSB). This too can also be discussed at your meeting with Raiseaconcern.
This link provides information on the Garda National Protective Services Bureau
This Confidential Contact Person process has been introduced to reflect the seriousness of the allegations of bullying, harassment, sexual harassment or gender discrimination present in the Defence Forces. There is a commitment to an Independent Review but this will take time to establish. The CCP process has been established in order to provide an immediate opportunity to come forward and to direct support to those personnel who require it. It will also enable the Minister to gauge the extent of the issue and inform the Independent Review process. Both the CCP and support services are outside of the chain of command and are completely independent and confidential.
If you feel you need immediate support, please click here.