Navy Sexual Assault Prevention: Improve Victim Response

By Rear Adm. Sean S. Buck
Director, Twenty-First Century Sailor Office (N17)

 

Our efforts to support the victim include the following:

  • Hiring 66 new civilian full-time sexual assault response coordinators (SARCs), total is now 74.
  • Hiring 66 new civilian full-time sexual assault victim advocates (VAs), total is now 66 full-time augmented by 4,400 collateral duty Fleet VAs.
  • Re-certified every single Recruit Division Commander at Great Lakes, every single Navy Recruiter, every single SARC and VA as part of the mandated Secretary of Defense SAPR Stand-down in June of this year.
  • Hiring 21 Deployed Resiliency Counselors for all of our aircraft carriers and big deck amphibious ships. These are certified civilian counselors who will ensure continuity of care even when deployed.
  • Sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) capability is now available in every Military Treatment Facility and on every single deployable Navy ship. 500 personnel have been trained to provide this SAFE capability as soon after the incident as possible, allowing critical evidence to be collected that can support future investigations and prosecutions.
  • We have launched the Victim Legal Counsel (VLC) program. This includes 30 new JAGs who are specially trained in SAPR. Each victim of a sexual assault that reports via an unrestricted report will be assigned, upon request, a personal VLC who will help protect the victim’s rights through the investigative and adjudicative stages of the military justice system.

In order to gauge how our efforts are working we have a number of key metrics we track in our SAPR office in Washington, D.C. Some of these include:

  • How many victims are converting from restricted reports to unrestricted reports? We’ve seen a slight increase in these conversions from Fiscal Year 2012 to Fiscal Year 2013. This is a very personal decision to make, I know. The significance of converting to an unrestricted report is that we can do an investigation and better hold the offender accountable.
  • We track the total number of reports. In FY13 we have seen a 46% increase over 2012.
  • We measure the latency of a report, the time from the event (the sexual assault) to the making of a report.
  • We compare the above statistics with the total number of survey reports of unwanted sexual contact.

Again, I want to emphasize the importance of victim reporting in order to receive the support they deserve. We take this problem very seriously. We can’t help you if we don’t know about it. We have ensured, proactively, that we have the resources to ensure our Sailors are taken care of. Stay tuned for next week’s topic: Investigation.

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