FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 5, 2016) -- Staff members from the 10th Mountain Division (LI) Sexual Harassment / Assault Response and Prevention program had an opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences with our neighbors from across the border as a team of representatives from the Canadian Sexual Misconduct Response Center visited Fort Drum on April 25 and 26.

The purpose of the visit was to provide the team with information regarding SHARP policy and practice -- information that will be vital as they define what their model will look like, said Nathalie Neault, deputy commander for the Canadian Sexual Assault Misconduct Response Center.

"We're here this week to gather as much information as we can about policy and best practices, because the U.S. Army has been at this for much longer than we have," she said. "Right now, we have an interim capability, and we are looking to define what our final operational capability will be."

While the Army's SHARP program was created in 2008, it has undergone many improvements since its implementation. In comparison, the CSAMRC was opened just last year, and center representatives will continue to develop their program over the course of next 14 months, Neault said.

The center was developed as a result of an independent study conducted by a retired Canadian Supreme Court justice. At the conclusion of the study, 10 recommendations were made.

These recommendations were geared toward establishing a program that would educate Canadian armed forces members on the subject of sexual harassment and assault and develop a plan for caring for survivors, Neault said.

"As part of her recommendations, we talked about different models that were used by our allies," she said.

After meeting with representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, Lt. Col. Paul Ridyard, head of the Canadian armed forces strategic response team for sexual misconduct training and education section, attended the SHARP Academy, located at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

"I saw their overall approach and the development and training and education solution that fits the U.S. model," he said. "We're looking for options to incorporate some of that training and make decisions on how to better train our individuals."

To provide a clearer picture of the framework employed by the Army SHARP program, DOD officials recommended that the Canadian team visit an installation to see, firsthand, how the program was implemented, said Capt. Sara Moodt, 10th Mountain Division (LI) SHARP program manager.

"We were chosen because we are considered one of the top programs in (U.S. Army Forces Command)," she said.

Over the course of the Canadian team's two-day visit, members of the division SHARP team spoke about the individuals involved in taking care of survivors, the different types of reporting options available and the manner in which different cases were handled.

They also discussed the importance of training for not only SHARP personnel, but for leaders and Soldiers. Ridyard said that looking at Fort Drum's "multi-tiered" approach to training, intervention and survivor care has been beneficial.

"We are looking at attacking the issue of sexual misconduct in several different ways," he said. "We're learning a lot of good lessons in this organization about education and about how they help victims in various levels throughout the process."

Moodt said she believes the information that the Canadian representatives gained will be helpful to them as they continue to develop their program.

"I hope they can use our program as a guidebook in how, through necessary changes and through a grassroots initiative, you can change an entire culture," she said. "It takes time and strong leadership, but the end result is something that will make a better armed forces."