Skip to main content

Operation Respect

Operation Respect is a comprehensive culture change strategy designed to eradicate unacceptable and unwanted behaviours from the NZDF. The key imperatives of Operation Respect are to look after the Defence Force’s people and recruit and retain more military women.

Operation Respect is a long-term commitment that commenced in 2016 to eliminate harmful sexual behaviours from the NZDF.  Refreshed in 2020, Operation Respect actions continue to focus on the elimination of all harmful and inappropriate behaviour and improve the culture of dignity, inclusion and mutual respect in the NZDF, keeping our workforce safe and effecting a whole-of-organisation change.

" The culture of the Defence Force is incredibly important. It helps us to achieve our missions for New Zealanders. It unites our people and drives them to achieve. It is therefore essential that our culture is in tune with our mission and values.” - Air Marshal Kevin Short, Chief of Defence

Key focus areas

Accountability and leadership

  • Clear communication of expected behaviours by all leaders
  • Incidents of harmful and inappropriate behaviour are addressed by leaders and people are held to account for poor behaviour
  • Conduct biennial external audits of Operation Respect progress

Reporting and Support (survivors)

  • Ensuring clear and robust reporting and support mechanisms for those experiencing discrimination, harassment and bullying and harmful sexual behaviour
  • Establishing a process to support survivors of historical sexual abuse and an external avenue for NZDF personnel to report discrimination, harassment and bullying and harmful sexual behaviour

Targeted local action

  • Camps, Bases and Portfolios developing and implementing local action plans to embed Operation Respect
  • Developing and delivering educational material for leaders at all levels

Data Management and use

  • Implementing a management tool to capture incidents and disclosures for harmful sexual behaviour
  • Effective use of data and information to enable sound decisions

Actions are now established across the NZDF: 

  • Restricted/confidential disclosure and access to support is available without a formal investigation
  • Training and education around sexual ethics, healthy relationships, and inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Quarterly guidance provided by Operation Respect External Steering Group