Part 1: About Operation Respect

A safe and respectful New Zealand Defence Force: First monitoring report

The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) launched Operation Respect in 2016 in response to three separate reviews that had identified harmful sexual behaviour in the armed forces. Operation Respect aimed to prevent harmful sexual behaviour from occurring and ensure that, when it did happen, there were systems and processes to deal with it properly.

In 2017, NZDF broadened the scope of the initiative to also address other sorts of harmful behaviour, including bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Operation Respect was designed to create a safe, respectful, and inclusive working environment for NZDF personnel, and reaffirm appropriate and positive behaviours throughout the organisation.

The Ministry of Defence commissioned an independent review of NZDF’s progress which was completed in 2020. The review found that NZDF had made progress in some areas and that Operation Respect had many positive elements.

These included creating a Sexual Assault Response Team and a two-track disclosure process.14 NZDF also introduced Sexual Ethics and Responsible Relationships training throughout the New Zealand Army, the Royal New Zealand Navy, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (the services).

However, the 2020 review also found that Operation Respect had lost momentum and needed renewed focus. NZDF did not have a consistent or thorough approach to implementing all aspects of it. People continued to experience bullying, harassment, discrimination, and harmful sexual behaviour and did not always feel able to report this.

The review found that the culture of military discipline and command made it difficult for people to report harmful behaviour, particularly when it involved more senior personnel. Although team cohesion and comradeship are vital aspects of military life, they can also be obstacles to reporting harmful behaviour because personnel want to fit in.

The review noted that a “code of silence” prevailed where personnel lacked trust in NZDF’s systems and processes to address instances of harm, or they feared repercussions for reporting harmful behaviour. The review noted that these were fundamental organisational and systemic issues that NZDF needs to address to realise Operation Respect’s objectives.

The work of the Office of the Auditor-General

The 2020 review recommended that we audit NZDF’s progress in meeting Operation Respect’s objectives every two years for the next 20 years. NZDF accepted this recommendation and requested our support in monitoring progress.

A long-term audit programme allows us to provide independent assurance to Parliament and the public about NZDF’s progress. It will also allow us to identify ways NZDF can improve its performance and assist NZDF to create sustainable change.

We have developed and agreed an initial audit programme with NZDF. The overarching aim of this programme is to determine how well NZDF is progressing towards eliminating harmful behaviour and creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment for its people.

The purpose of the monitoring report

To complement the audit programme, we will regularly collect data to assess the impact of the actions NZDF is taking and, over time, whether it is achieving Operation Respect’s overall aims.

To do this, we have developed an outcomes measurement framework (see paragraph 1.15 and Figure 1). We intend to report against this framework about every two years.

This report brings together the qualitative and quantitative data we collected between September 2021 and April 2022. This data will establish a baseline from which we can assess changes over time.

Outcomes framework

The outcomes set out in Figure 1 describe what we expect to see if Operation Respect is making progress towards the overall aim of Creating a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment where all personnel can live and work free from harm.

The five outcomes each have associated impacts that we expect to see and will monitor over time. This report has been structured around these outcomes and impacts.

Figure 1
Outcomes framework

Creating a safe, respectful and inclusive environment where all personnel can live and work free from harm

Outcomes Impacts
Preventing harmful behaviour

NZDF personnel feel they can do their jobs in a safe and respectful environment free from harmful behaviour.
1.1 – NZDF personnel feel that their workplace is free of harmful behaviour.
1.2 – The dignity and privacy of NZDF personnel are respected in the environments they live and work in.
1.3 – Respectful and inclusive behaviours are valued and rewarded in the organisation.
The role of leadership in preventing harmful behaviour

Leaders create an environment where what constitutes harmful behaviour is understood and not tolerated.
2.1 – Leaders model respectful and inclusive behaviour.
2.2 – Leaders create an environment where harmful behaviour is not tolerated by setting clear expectations of what is and is not appropriate.
2.3 – Leaders and specialist support staff have the capacity and capability to support prevention activities.
Raising, reporting, and responding to harmful behaviour

NZDF personnel work in environments where harmful behaviour can be raised and reported then dealt with safely and fairly.
3.1 – NZDF personnel understand how to raise and report incidents.
3.2 – NZDF personnel feel able to speak up about harmful behaviour.
3.3 – NZDF personnel reporting harmful behaviour are satisfied with the process and do not experience negative repercussions from reporting.
3.4 – NZDF personnel trust that peers will respond to harmful behaviour appropriately.
3.5 – NZDF personnel trust that leaders will respond to harmful behaviour appropriately.
Access to appropriate support

NZDF personnel can access appropriate support they need to recover and those in the organisation providing support have the capacity and the
4.1 – NZDF personnel feel able to access support services.
4.2 – NZDF personnel who have experienced harmful behaviour receive the right support in the right way to recover.
4.3 – Leaders and specialist support staff have the capacity and capability to support personnel affected by harmful behaviour.
Shared understanding of a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment

NZDF personnel have a shared understanding of the purpose and value of a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment.
5.1 – NZDF personnel understand what is and is not appropriate behaviour.
5.2 – NZDF personnel have a shared understanding of what Operation Respect is and what it is intended to address.
5.3 – NZDF personnel believe Operation Respect is an appropriate and effective initiative.

Harmful behaviours in the military workforce

Harmful behaviours are common in workplaces throughout New Zealand.15 They cause harm to workers’ well-being, reduce productivity, and diminish organisational cohesiveness.

Studies have identified harmful sexual behaviour as a key challenge for military environments globally.16 Research carried out in military forces in Canada and the United States of America suggest that the prevalence of sexual assault ranges from 1% to 3% of military personnel and between 4% to 8.4% of female military personnel in any 12-month period.17

In 2018, it was reported that 4.1% of women in the Canadian regular forces experienced sexual assault.18 The most recent rates in the United States are higher. A 2021 survey found that 8.4% of active-duty women had experienced unwanted sexual contact.19

Sexual violence can lead to post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression. It can reduce workplace effectiveness by damaging the cohesion and morale of units, and it often leads to personnel leaving the armed forces.20

Although harmful behaviour occurs in many organisations, there are several recognised differences between military and civilian workplaces that might protect against or exacerbate harmful behaviour.21

The close quarters that military personnel often live and work in can create more fluid boundaries between people’s work and personal lives. In these environments, there can be greater opportunities for harm to occur.22

High levels of alcohol consumption, frequent relocation that removes people from social support, and the level of stress or trauma people might be exposed to are further risk factors.23

Military hierarchies have “top-down” command structures. Although these command structures are necessary for military activities such as combat, they also concentrate power in the hands of a few.24

This concentration creates a greater risk that positions of power are abused and makes it more difficult for people affected by harmful behaviour to speak out.25 Hierarchical structures also have the potential to be protective – for example, leaders have considerable power to set and reinforce norms for appropriate behaviour.

Militaries have been and continue to be male dominated. In these environments, there is a risk that contributions from women are less likely to be valued, and there is a greater acceptance of discriminatory attitudes towards women.26

This can create an environment where demeaning, sexualised, and discriminatory language is normalised and where personnel do not recognise harm when it occurs or accept it as part of the working culture.27

Military life is usually organised around close-knit teams and units premised on shared values and group cohesion.28 This can protect against harmful behaviour when it encourages people to support each other and to feel responsible for each other’s safety and well-being. However, it can also create “codes of silence” where group members do not wish to disrupt the coherence of the unit or team by speaking out against harmful behaviour.29


For our monitoring, we used both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the progress that NZDF is making towards Operation Respect’s overall aim.

We used a quantitative approach to understand the prevalence of harmful behaviour and the views of NZDF personnel on how NZDF addresses it. The main quantitative method we used is a survey that we invited NZDF personnel (regular forces and civilians) to complete.

We also used a qualitative approach to better understand people’s experiences working at NZDF and how particular units or teams are working to prevent and address harmful behaviour.

The main qualitative method we used was a series of in-depth interviews. We interviewed a cohort of NZDF personnel that was designed to be broadly representative.

We intend to repeat the survey and interviews with the same cohort members about every two years to measure NZDF’s progress against Operation Respect’s aims.30

The survey

We designed the survey in consultation with NZDF. We distributed it electronically and in hard copy with NZDF’s assistance.

Information on the front of the survey emphasised that participation was voluntary. There was also information about how personnel who have experienced harmful behaviour could access support within NZDF and externally. Two research specialists and a psychologist peer-reviewed the survey to make sure that it complied with best practice in survey design and protected the well-being of participants.

We sent the survey to all NZDF personnel, except for contractors and reservists.31 The period available for completing the survey was 15 February 2022 to 20 March 2022. We emailed reminders halfway through that period to maximise the response rate.

We kept the raw data collected in the survey confidential to the Office of the Auditor-General project team. NZDF did not access the survey data. Respondents did not provide their names when completing the survey.

Information was provided at the start of the survey about how we would manage confidentiality of the data.

The survey asked respondents to provide information about whether they had experienced or witnessed harmful behaviour in the last 12 months. NZDF does not currently collect this information in a detailed way.

We also asked what action had been taken in response to harmful behaviour and what respondents’ views were on the adequacy of support for those experiencing and reporting harmful behaviour.

Our survey focused on questions about the experiences of harmful behaviours and reporting of harmful behaviours. To manage the survey’s overall length, we were not able to ask questions on every impact area. There were also questions on how safe respondents feel at work and their understanding and perception of Operation Respect. Some of these questions are also included in NZDF’s annual Pulse survey.

We received a total of 6673 responses to the survey. This represents 53.4% of NZDF personnel (see Figure 2) as at January 2022 (total regular forces and civilians: 12,493).

The response rate for our survey compared well to similar surveys run in other jurisdictions. The Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force, 2018 survey had an overall response rate of 44%,32 and the 2018 United States military workplace and gender relations survey of active-duty members had an 18% response rate.33

Figure 2
Response rates to our survey

Women Men Total respondents
Royal New Zealand Navy 42.3% 42.2% 43.2%
New Zealand Army 45.3% 43.0% 44.3%
Royal New Zealand Air Force 67.8% 60.9% 63.7%
Civilian personnel 59.4% 58.0% 59.6%
Total 54.5% 49.4% 53.4%

Note: Of the survey respondents, 5.1% specified their gender as another gender or did not specify their gender, and 3.1% did not specify service or whether they were civilian. Percentages were calculated from NZDF personnel levels as at January 2022.

There was a lower response rate from the Navy and the Army than from civilian personnel and the Air Force. The groups with the lowest response rates were junior Navy NCOs (21.9%) and junior Army NCOs (30.8%). Junior NCOs in the Air Force had 53.9% response. Junior officer response rates were higher, at 50.7% for the Navy, 59.7% for the Army, and 59.6% for the Air Force.

This means that the results for junior NCOs are less representative of the Navy and the Army. However, overall, there were still enough respondents from each group to provide useful insights.

The survey asked respondents to identify their service, rank, ethnicity, gender, and length of service. Respondents were also asked to identify other demographics such as age range, disability status, and sexual orientation. The survey allowed participants to skip questions, and answers were filtered so that those who reported certain behaviours or incidents were directed to follow-up questions. Therefore, the total number of responses for each question can be less than the total number of survey respondents.

Women respondents made up about 26% of the total responses. This broadly aligns with the proportion of regular force and civilian women employed by NZDF (about 25.5% of NZDF regular force and civilian personnel are women).34

Because we sent the survey to all NZDF personnel rather than to a sample, there are no margins of error or levels of confidence provided for the survey results.

The survey is subject to the same limitations as any other voluntary survey. Although respondents were invited to complete the survey and NZDF promoted it through several different channels, personnel were not compelled to complete it. In surveys of this type, there is always a risk that those with a particular interest in the area are more likely to complete it.

However, given the overall response rate, the response rates for subgroups, and the fact that a wide range of personnel had completed the survey, we consider the results likely to be broadly representative. The survey was carried out at the same time as the Navy culture survey. This might have had some effect on the response rate of Navy personnel. However, it was broadly similar to the response rate from Army personnel.

The survey was managed through a survey software application. A total of 149 questionnaires included no responses to questions other than demographic ones. We excluded these from our analysis.

We present most of the survey data in tables by service and by gender. We have given breakdowns or statistics by rank and other factors when they highlight important differences. When presenting the tables, we have considered which breakdown gives the most useful information.

For gender, we give breakdowns for women and men. In the survey, respondents could select for gender:

  • women/wāhine;
  • men/tāne;
  • another gender/he ira kē anō; or
  • prefer not to say.

It has not been possible to provide breakdowns for those who identify as another gender or those who preferred not to specify their gender. This is to ensure confidentiality for the small number of respondents who selected those options.

Those who identified as another gender or those who preferred not to specify their gender are however included in the counts and percentages for all respondents.

Survey respondents could indicate that they were civilian personnel or personnel from the New Zealand Army, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, or the Royal New Zealand Navy. Some respondents did not select a service. These respondents are included in the counts and percentages of all respondents.

Questions about unwanted sexual activity and inappropriate sexual behaviour can have a small number of respondents because the number of people who experience these behaviours is small. Although we have, in general, included this information, it is important to be cautious when considering statistics where the counts are small as there is a risk that results can be distorted by the views of a small number of people.

We have not provided breakdowns when the number of respondents is fewer than five. This is to protect the confidentiality of these respondents as there is a risk that the information presented could be used to identify these individuals. This has meant that it is not always possible to categorise results by men and women, or other demographics.

The survey also had a series of open-ended questions. We analysed the responses to these and incorporated them into the analysis we present in this report alongside the findings from the interviews we carried out (which we discuss below).

Cohort interviews

We selected NZDF cohort participants from each of the services and also included civilian personnel. While the selection was intended to be random, this was not practical in all locations. We received the assistance of key personnel from camps and bases in selecting personnel who would be available when we were visiting. We selected people from most camps and bases to participate in the cohort interviews. We made sure to include a range of ranks, trades, and demographics in the sample.35 A wide variety of perspectives and experiences were reflected in these interviews.

We carried out confidential interviews at camps, bases, and Defence House between September 2021 and March 2022. We conducted some interviews through Microsoft Teams or by phone when access was difficult because of Covid-19 or other restrictions. NZDF personnel we interviewed referred four additional participants to us for interviews.

In most instances, personnel were invited to participate ahead of time and were always provided with an information sheet advising them that their participation was voluntary.36 A member of the audit team also verbally briefed them immediately before the interview, reminding them that participation was voluntary and asking them whether they wished to continue.

All participants signed a consent form and were advised that they could seek help from both within NZDF and externally if needed. Information was provided about available support options and this information was tailored to each location visited by the audit team. We provided information about external support helplines, the contact details of the Human Rights Commission, and contact details of NZDF Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advisors (SAPRAs) and social workers.

The interviews took between 30 and 90 minutes. Two members of the audit team interviewed participants.

The interviews were semi-structured and informed by a set of key questions of interest to our work. The interviews were not recorded, but a member of the audit team took detailed notes which were kept confidential.

We carried out a total of 126 cohort interviews. Interviews were held with members throughout the services and with civilian personnel and represent a range of ranks. Figure 3 provides the breakdown.

Figure 3
Cohort interview participants (by service and gender)

Men Women Total respondents
Royal New Zealand Navy 18 17 35
New Zealand Army 22 23 45
Royal New Zealand Air Force 12 13 25
Civilian personnel 10 11 21
Total 62 64 126

Note: The gender of cohort interviewees presented above is the gender that NZDF has recorded for these personnel. NZDF does not record genders other than male and female.

The cohort was designed to over-represent women in each of the services. This was to inform our understanding of differential experiences of harmful behaviour based on gender. We treat the data derived from the interviews qualitatively – that is, we do not offer them as “counts” of harmful behaviour.

Qualitative interviews depend on a relationship of trust between interviewers and interviewees. Our interviewers asked general questions, and it was up to the participant to determine what information they provided.

Although we took every step to facilitate trust, including obtaining informed consent and ensuring a gender balance of interviewers where possible, there might have been occasions where interviewees did not feel comfortable discussing their experiences.

We coded the interview notes to facilitate thematic analysis. We developed high-level themes for the outcomes and impact areas.

The assessment of each impact draws on survey results and cohort interviews except for impact areas 2.3 and 4.3. These assessments primarily draw on interviews we carried out with specialist support staff (SAPRAs, chaplains, social workers, and psychologists) and senior officers on camps and bases.

This is because the focus of these impacts is on the capacity and capability of specialist support staff and leaders to carry out prevention, response, and other support activities on camps and bases. We were specifically interested in the perspectives of the people that hold these roles.

How we used the different data sources

We have used the quantitative and qualitative data to make an assessment against each outcome and impact area.

We have used the quantitative data to show prevalence of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours throughout NZDF. Although quantitative data provides a highlevel picture of prevalence of harmful behaviour throughout the organisation, it cannot explain why people have certain views or beliefs in any detail or what they think contributes to harmful behaviour occurring (or not occurring).

For example, it does not explain why people do or do not see Operation Respect as effective, what contexts they do or do not feel safe raising harmful behaviour in, or what did or did not make them feel supported when they experienced harm.

Therefore, we use the qualitative data to gain insight into why people have certain attitudes or engage in certain behaviours, and in what contexts. We use these insights to help understand what we have seen in the survey – for example, on why there might be similarities or differences between different groups (such as gender and rank).

However, the purpose of our qualitative analysis is not to demonstrate prevalence of different attitudes and behaviours. It is based on a small number of interviews (relative to the size of the organisation), which means that what we highlight in the analysis is not representative and should not be generalised.

We do give some indication of the frequency with which we heard people express views – for example, we use “many”, “most”, or “often” if we want to signal that something was commonly experienced. Other times, we will say “some”, which we generally use when more than a few people, but not most people, identified an issue or experience. We use “several” or “a few” when only a small number of people raised a view or described an experience.

Key definitions

We cover three types of harmful behaviour in this report. They are:

  • unwanted sexual activity;
  • inappropriate sexual behaviour; and
  • bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

Unwanted sexual activity and inappropriate sexual behaviours are forms of sexual harm. Sexual harm can be any form of physical, verbal, visual, or online activity with a sexual element that is unwanted or occurs without the active consent of those involved. There is a spectrum of behaviour from serious physical violence such as sexual assault through to non-criminal but still harmful behaviours such as sexualised comments.

We use the term unwanted sexual activity to cover the behaviours that fall within the category of sexual assault, including:

  • touching someone against their will in a sexual way, including unwanted touching, grabbing, kissing, or fondling;
  • forcing or attempting to force someone into any unwanted sexual activity by threatening them, holding them down, or hurting them; and
  • subjecting someone to a sexual activity they did not consent to, including through being drugged, intoxicated, or forced in ways other than physically.

We use the term inappropriate sexual behaviour to cover a range of behaviours that sit outside the category of sexual assault, including mistreatment based on gender or sexuality, sexually suggestive jokes, comments, or gossip, displaying or sharing sexually explicit messages or images, and unwanted sexual advances.

We use the term harmful sexual behaviour when we refer to any behaviour along the sexual harm spectrum, including both inappropriate sexual behaviour and unwanted sexual activity.

We use the term bullying, harassment, and discrimination to describe any repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or people in the workplace. This includes repeated or unwanted behaviours directed towards a person or people that are likely to lead to physical or psychological harm.37 Bullying, harassment, and discrimination can include a range of behaviours, such as undermining someone’s credibility, performance, or confidence, excluding, or humiliating someone, or verbally or physically threatening someone.

We use the term harmful behaviour when we refer collectively to behaviours falling in any of the above groups.


We asked survey respondents and personnel we interviewed to describe their experiences in the last 12 months. We recognise that this covers a period of time when NZDF was heavily committed to Operation Protect, which formed an integral part of the Government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore, we acknowledge that this data does not reflect a period of “business as usual” for NZDF. Many activities, such as training and deployments (outside the Managed Isolation Facilities used to hold those returning from overseas) were curtailed or did not take place.

Opportunities for socialising, participating in sport and other activities, and working alongside others in usual ways were also limited. This might have limited opportunities for some harmful behaviours to occur.

One of our key observations has been that personnel observe and experience harmful behaviour differently according to their role and place in the organisation. A junior officer in an infantry unit, for example, will have a different experience to a junior NCO working in a ship’s galley. Trades and units have their own cultures that are different to each other. Some parts of NZDF appear to have more risk factors for harmful behaviour occurring. These differences also highlight the difficulty in generalising about the incidence of harm in NZDF.

Although the focus of our audit was on the prevalence of harmful behaviour and people’s experiences of how NZDF addresses it, we also recognise that most of the people we spoke with felt very positively about NZDF and their place in it.

Most people felt that NZDF offered opportunities that they could not get elsewhere and were proud to be part of the organisation. Most also felt loyal and protective towards those they worked with, including their leaders and supervisors.

Even when personnel had experienced harmful behaviours directly or indirectly, this did not always mean that they felt negatively about NZDF as an organisation. As well as looking at some negative aspects of people’s experience working in NZDF, this report also highlights many positive experiences personnel have.

In some instances, the loyalty and commitment that people displayed might have created a barrier to understanding how prevalent harmful behaviour is in NZDF. In interviews, participants sometimes described incidents that suggested harmful behaviour (such as bullying, humiliation, or being singled out for additional tasks) but they did not universally acknowledge this behaviour as harmful. Some felt that this was both a normal and necessary aspect of military life, even if they did not like it.

However, this does not minimise the incidence of harmful behaviour in NZDF. The over-riding message of both the survey and the interviews is that harm can and does happen and that, when it does happen, it affects both the individuals concerned and those in their units and teams.

Structure of the report

This report is structured according to the outcomes and impact areas described in paragraph 1.15 and Figure 1:

Each Part describes the outcome and a set of impacts that we consider are markers of progress. The data that we present in this report provides a baseline. Future monitoring reports will present progress against this baseline.

However, it is important to emphasise that we collected the data in this report in 2021 and 2022. Operation Respect began in 2016, and, although it was modified to include further dimensions of harmful workplace behaviour in 2017, it is likely that earlier activity had already generated some progress towards a safer working environment.

This monitoring report should not be interpreted as the starting point, and future reports will provide an indication of progress only since we collected the baseline data.

14: NZDF created the two-track disclosure process to provide personnel who are victims/survivors of harmful sexual behaviour with a choice about how their report is dealt with, wherever possible. Personnel can choose to make a restricted disclosure or an unrestricted disclosure. Restricted disclosures allow victims/survivors to disclose the incident and receive support without command or the New Zealand Police being notified or a formal investigation being initiated. An unrestricted disclosure triggers notification to the commanding officer and a formal investigation.

15: Francis, D (2019), Independent External Review into Bullying and Harassment in the New Zealand Parliamentary Workplace – Final Report; Shaw, C (2018), Independent Review of Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s workplace policies, procedures and practices to address bullying and harassment; Francis, D (2020), Independent External Review: Systems and Processes for the Prevention and Management of Bullying at NZ Police.

16: Hendrikx, LJ, Williamson, V, and Murphy, D (2021), “Adversity during military service: the impact of military sexual trauma, emotional bullying and physical assault on the mental health and well-being of women veterans”, BMJ military health, advance online publication; Holland, KJ, Rabelo, VC, and Cortina, L (2016), “See something, do something: Predicting sexual assault bystander intentions in the US military”, American journal of community psychology 58(1-2), 3-15; Szitanyi, S (2020), Gender Trouble in the US Military: Challenges to Regimes of Male Privilege, Cham Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

17: United States Department of Defense (2022), Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, Fiscal Year 2021, Appendix C; Orchowski, LM, Berry-Cabán, CS, Prisock, K, Borsari, B, and Kazemi, DM (2018), “Evaluations of sexual assault prevention programs in military settings: A synthesis of the research literature”, Military medicine 183; Cotter, A (2019), Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force, 2018.

18 Cotter, A (2019), Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force, 2018.

19: See, for example, Jaycox, LH, Schell, TL, Morral, AR, Street, A, Farris, C, Kilpatrick, D, and Tanielian, T (2015), “Sexual assault findings: Active component”, in Schell, TL, Morral, AR, and Gore, KL (Eds.), Sexual assault and sexual harassment in the US military: Volume 2; Estimates for Department of Defense Service Members from the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study, RAND Corporation, table 3.1, page 10; Cotter, A (2019), Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force, 2018, page 4.

20: Hendrikx, LJ, Williamson, V, and Murphy, D (2021), “Adversity during military service: the impact of military sexual trauma, emotional bullying and physical assault on the mental health and well-being of women veterans”, BMJ military health, advance online publication; Szitanyi, S (2020), Gender trouble in the US military: Challenges to regimes of male privilege, Cham Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan; Morral, AR, Matthews, M, Cefalu, M, Schell, TL, and Cottrell, L (2021), Effects of sexual assault and sexual harassment on separation from the US military: Findings from the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study, RAND Corporation; Thomsen, CJ, McCone, DR, and Gallus, JA (2018), “Conclusion of the special issue on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the US military: What have we learned, and where do we go from here?”, Military psychology 30(3), pages 282-293.

21: Zedlacher, E and Koeszegi, ST (2021), “Workplace bullying in military organizations: Bullying Inc?”, in P D’Cruz (Ed.), Special topics and particular occupations, professions and sectors, pages 435-464.

22: Coetzee, R, Atkins, S, and Gould, M (2012), “Bullying and the UK armed forces”, Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 158(2), pages 115-119.

23: Zamorski, M and Wiens-Kincaid, M (2013), “Cross-sectional prevalence survey of intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization in Canadian military personnel”, BMC public health 13, 1019; Stander, VA and Thomsen, CJ (2016), “Sexual harassment and assault in the US military: A review of policy and research trends”, Military medicine 181, pages 20-27; Castro, CA, Kintzle, S, Schuyler, AC, Lucas, CL, and Warner, CH (2015), “Sexual assault in the military”, Current psychiatry reports, 17(7), page 54; Stuart, J and Szeszeran, N (2021), “Bullying in the military: A review of the research on predictors and outcomes of bullying victimization and perpetration”, Military behavioral health 9(3), pages 255-266; Stothard, C and Drobnjak, M (2021), “Improving team learning in military teams: learning-oriented leadership and psychological equality”, The learning organization 28(3), pages 242-256.

24: Zedlacher, E, and Koeszegi, ST (2021), “Workplace bullying in military organizations: Bullying Inc?”, in P D’Cruz (Ed.), Special topics and particular occupations, professions and sectors, pages 435-464.

25 Coetzee, R, Atkins, S and Gould, M (2012), “Bullying and the UK armed forces”, Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 158(2), pages 115-119; Stuart, J and Szeszeran, N (2021), “Bullying in the military: A review of the research on predictors and outcomes of bullying victimization and perpetration”, Military behavioral health 9(3), pages 255-266.

26: Castro, CA, Kintzle, S, Schuyler, AC, Lucas, CL, and Warner, CH (2015), “Sexual assault in the military”, Current psychiatry reports 17(7), page 54.

27: Holland, KJ, Rabelo, VC, and Cortina, L (2016), “See something, do something: Predicting sexual assault bystander intentions in the US military”, American journal of community psychology 58(1-2), 3-15; Szitanyi, S (2020), Gender trouble in the US military: Challenges to regimes of male privilege, Cham Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

28: Mjelde FV, Smith K, Lunde P, and Espevik R (2016), “Military teams: A demand for resilience”, Work 54(2), pages 283-294; Ramthun, AJ and Matkin, GS (2014), “Leading dangerously: A case study of military teams and shared leadership in dangerous environments”, Journal of leadership and organizational studies 21(3), pages 244-256.

29: Sadler, AG, Cheney, AM, Mengeling, MA, Booth, BM, Torner, JC, and Young, LB (2021), “Servicemen’s perceptions of male sexual assault and barriers to reporting during Active Component and Reserve/National Guard military service”, Journal of interpersonal violence 36(7-8), NP3596-NP3623; Zedlacher, E, and Koeszegi, ST (2021), “Workplace bullying in military organizations: Bullying Inc?”, in P D’Cruz (Ed.), Special topics and particular occupations, professions and sectors, pages 435-464.

30: Members of the cohort have been informed that we will come back to them when we do future work. Personnel can choose whether they wish to be interviewed again. As turnover occurs, we will top up the cohort so that we continue to get a range of personnel. We will continue to evaluate the continuity of the sample and provide transparency about this in future reports.

31: Reservists are paid part-time members of NZDF. They are required to complete a minimum of 20 days’ annual service.

32: Cotter, A (2019), Sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces Regular Force, 2018.

33: Breslin, R, Davis, L, Hylton, K, Hill, A, Klauberg, W, Petusky, M, and Klahr, A (2019), 2018 workplace and gender relations survey of active duty members: Overview report.

34: A small number of respondents reported their gender as “another gender”. It is not possible to report whether this aligns with demographics in NZDF because NZDF does not collect this information.

35: When people join NZDF, they join as either a commissioned officer (often just referred to as officer) or a noncommissioned
officer (often referred to as NCO) with a specific trade. New Zealand military ranks are largely based on the United Kingdom’s military ranks. The three services have their own rank structure, with rank equivalency between services.
Uniformed personnel (both officers and NCOs) work in a range of trades. These are areas of specialisation such as engineering, combat, medical support, hospitality, and communications. Personnel select their trade when they enlist, and, although it is possible to change trades, personnel generally remain in the same trade throughout their career.
Officers hold positions of authority and command roles. They are granted this authority through commission, which is a document of appointment signed by the monarch. All officers attend Officer Training School. An officer in the Navy or Air Force starts training in a specific officer role from the outset. For example, in the Navy, an officer might start as a Warfare Officer or, in the Air Force, in a pilot role. However, in the Army, initial officer training as an Army officer must be completed before moving into one of the specialist roles. These are Combat, Engineering, Intelligence, Communications, and Logistics.
NCOs are not commissioned but earn their position of authority by rising through the ranks. NCOs take on leadership positions within their units, but they are of lower rank than commissioned officers. All NCOs complete basic military training then further training in their specialisation, such as infantry or logistics. As they are promoted through the ranks, they take on leadership roles, and senior NCOs form a vital link between junior NCOs and officers. They often provide advice and guidance to junior officers. Both officers and NCOs go through formal promotion processes to rise in rank.

36: There were some instances where personnel who were scheduled to be interviewed could no longer attend and personnel assisting us found replacements at short notice.

37: Our survey said that this behaviour can include:

  • being repeatedly unfairly blamed for something;
  • being repeatedly ignored, excluded, or ridiculed;
  • being threatened;
  • being pushed or shoved;
  • constant and unreasonable criticism of someone’s work;
  • repeatedly having someone’s views ignored or undervalued;
  • being given impossible tasks that set someone up to fail; and
  • spreading gossip and rumours about someone.