OTTAWA - The head of the Canadian Forces says they want to better support victims of military sexual misconduct after gaps were identified by the auditor general last fall.

But Gen. Jonathan Vance says he does not plan to get rid of a regulation that compels military personnel to report inappropriate or criminal behaviour, regardless who the victim is.

Auditor general Michael Ferguson found in November that the "duty to report" requirement actually discouraged some victims from coming forward because telling anyone about an incident automatically triggers a formal complaint process.

Vance says the military is looking at ways to ensure victims continue to feel supported and empowered and that they have choices when they or someone else reports misconduct.

While that is more difficult with sexual-assault cases, where the police are in charge, Vance says the military needs to keep the duty to report because it can't turn a blind eye to inappropriate or criminal behaviour.

Military commanders have vowed to fight sexual misconduct in the ranks since media reports and a retired Supreme Court justice flagged the issue as a serious concern nearly five years ago.