The following post was written by Jan Logan, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) of the Year, Naval Air Station, Jacksonville.
What a change from 1994 when SAVI (Sexual Assault Victim Intervention) was first implemented to 2005 when victims finally got reporting options to 2011 when Installation Commanders are invited and are attending the Navy/Marine Corps SARC (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator) conference. And service members anywhere in the world can access the Safe Helpline.
I first became a SARC in 1994. I had been working in the Family Advocacy Program and an NCIS agent suggested that we provide an advocate to work with sexual assault victims because there was no military support being provided to sexual assault victims at the time of report and examination. I took the job on and carried a beeper for the Jacksonville area which included NASJAX (Naval Air Station Jacksonville), NS Mayport (Naval Station Mayport), and NAS Cecil Field (Naval Air Station Cecil Field). When the SAVI program was launched it seemed a natural fit for me and so I applied for a position and was selected at NASJAX and here I have remained.
When the program first began SARCs were making their own manuals, writing their own training modules, and borrowing videos from community partners…where there were community partners. Now, we have manuals furnished by CNIC (Commander, Navy Installations Command), standardized training modules, and videos produced and provided by the Navy (www.sapr.mil).
Advocates are now volunteering because they truly embrace the concept of sexual assault prevention and response. I am constantly encouraged by how motivated our service members are. They enthusiastically support victims, provide training, and keep their commands on track with updates to the program. They recruit others to become advocates. Whenever I need assistance the SAPR (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response) advocates are ready, willing, and able to assist.
Often I am asked questions like what victims are eligible for restricted reports. In the military, adult active duty members are eligible for restricted reports if they haven’t officially notified their commands of the assault or contacted law enforcement to make a report. They may contact their SARC (to find a SARC near you), SAPR victim advocate, chaplain, or health care professional and still have confidentiality but must contact a SARC or SAPR victim advocate to have their options fully explained to them and sign the Victim Preference Statement declaring their choice for a restricted report.
Another question I am often asked is where the forensic exams are performed. In the Jacksonville, Florida area all adult forensic exams are performed at the local community Sexual Assault Response Center. This also applies to our military members. I know there are many Navy installations that have the exams performed at their military hospitals but in Jacksonville all hospitals have Memorandums of Understanding between their facilities and the local Response Center.
I am also asked about protection for victims. SAPR advocates are trained to discuss safety issues and safety planning with victims. Navy Commands are excellent in issuing Military Protective Orders on their service members for their safety and if the perpetrator is a civilian, advocates are trained to assist victims in obtaining an injunction for protection (commonly called a restraining order).
SAPR advocates attend an intense training to also know the answers to these types of questions and when questions arise and they aren’t quite sure they know where to turn to get the answers (you can review the SAPR Reference Guide). I believe they do an outstanding job.
I have truly enjoyed my years as a SARC and owe a debt of gratitude to the advocates and commands that have supported me and the SAPR Program admirably.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted you can find more information online here: http://www.myduty.mil/
Or call the Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247 (available internationally via DSN at the same number)
You can find more information on the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program here: http://www.cnic.navy.mil/CNIC_HQ_Site/WhatWeDo/FleetandFamilyReadiness/FamilyReadiness/FleetAndFamilySupportProgram/SexualAssaultPreventionandResponse/index.htm