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    Quartermaster School training brigade develops app to combat sexual assault

    Quartermaster training brigade develops SHARP app

    Photo By Amy Perry | Sgt. 1st Class Randeen Espinoza, right, 23rd Quartermaster Brigade sexual assault...... read more read more

    UNITED STATES

    02.04.2016

    Story by Amy Perry 

    U.S. Army Garrison Fort Lee Public Affairs

    FORT LEE, Va. -- The 23rd Quartermaster Brigade has turned to new technology to provide assistance for Soldiers who experience sexual assault, sexual harassment, or suicidal thoughts or actions by others.

    After learning it would cost $12,000 a year to print SHARP cards, the brigade team decided at look to other methods to provide the information to their troops.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Kelly, brigade CSM, sent an email to Col. Tamatha Patterson, brigade commander, presenting an idea to create an app with the information. She forwarded the proposal to Sgt. 1st Class Randeen Espinoza, the brigade’s sexual assault response coordinator, who said she thought it was a great idea.

    Espinoza researched it and learned they could use an application developed by CASCOM in 2012 – the WeCare app. Espinoza contacted one of the developers of the CASCOM app who said she would help them create the 23rd QM Brigade-specific version.

    Through the app, Soldiers have access to a plethora of telephone numbers – from victim advocates to clinic services to the chaplain – to use to report a sexual assault or to get help. Many off-post resources – including the National Suicide Hotline – also are included, which can be helpful if a Soldier wants to go to someone outside the unit.

    Using this type of technology appeals to the younger generation of Soldiers going through the school house, said Patterson.

    “The Soldiers we have today are different from when I came in the Army,” she said. “They always have a phone in their hands. My idea was if we can put this information at their fingertips as soon as they get here, instead of when we brief them during in-processing, it will be right there for them. It’s easily accessible and everything they need to know about sexual assault and sexual harassment is right there.

    “If we can put this kind of information in front of them – all the time – then maybe they can help us eradicate it out of our ranks and make them more confident to step up if they see something,” Patterson continued.

    The application also spells out what sexual assault is, per Army Regulation 600-20, and it shows the different categories of sexual assault and harassment, said Espinoza.

    “This is helpful because some Soldiers think only rape is sexual assault, but they don’t realize there are other categories like abusive sexual contact or aggravated sexual contact,” she said. “It also tells them the reporting options and who to report these issues to.”

    The information is useful even if it’s not the Soldier who experienced the trauma, said Espinoza.

    “Maybe they have a battle buddy or a friend – or even a cadre member – who may be upset,” she said. “There are links to different websites – SHARP-related and suicide prevention – that could help the Soldier help their friends.”

    The application – which is available on Apple and Android devices – was available when the Soldiers returned from holiday block leave earlier this year, and the Soldiers are excited to use it, said Kelly.

    “The feedback I’ve received is that it’s an awesome app,” he said. “We used to pass cards with this information on it and Soldiers would have to show the cards during inspections. But with an app, you don’t have to worry about washing the card in your uniform – you’re not going to wash your phone with your uniform.

    “Stuff like this app should be Army-wide,” he continued. “Every company, battalion or brigade should have their own app that caters to the organization, versus spending unnecessary taxpayer money on getting the cards printed when it could just be digital.”

    Maj. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, CASCOM and Fort Lee commanding general, agreed with Kelly and said he was amazed at the potential after he got a look at the program a few weeks ago.

    “This app … is a phenomenal best practice,” he said, during the Motivated Logic of the Sexual Predator presentation in January.

    “Initially, I didn’t fully understand the power of this app or appreciate what had been developed. Now, I think a similar application will be Army-wide in the very near future.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.04.2016
    Date Posted: 02.04.2016 10:45
    Story ID: 187881
    Location: US

    Web Views: 162
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