Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    Take a Stand Against Sexual Assault



    Story by Seaman Alexandria Esteban 

    All Hands Magazine

    According to the Department of Defense’s 2021 Sexual Assault and Prevention Report, 12% of male Sailors and 28% of female Sailors have reported being sexually assaulted. Every day, the U.S. Navy continues to fight against this issue in order to protect more Sailors in the future. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program is the framework to guide victims as they emotionally process their incident by offering counseling services, legal resources and medical professionals.

    “A SAPR advocate is there to be that comfort, that person they can talk to,” said Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kevin Steinberg, a Level 1 Sexual Assault Advocate. “Don’t judge… be aware… have empathy and understanding.”

    Fear is a large factor that keeps people from reporting sexual assault, according to Kimberly Garrett, the Navy SAPR Coordinator at Fort Meade, Maryland.

    “SAPR will not begin a report based on a third-person account. Witnesses or concerned parties are always encouraged to disclose information to a SAPR advocate, but the authority to begin a report resides only in the victim.”

    There are two ways you can file a report. A restricted report limits the amount of command involvement. If you choose to make a restricted report, no investigation takes place and the situation is handled discreetly in order to protect your privacy. While filing a restricted report, you will still have access to counseling and medical services. You can also utilize the catch program, a database used to disclose offenders based on a victim’s description. The second option is an unrestricted report. You will keep the legal, medical and counseling services that were offered with a restricted report, but an investigation will be opened, and the command will be involved. Although the case will be less private, making an unrestricted report will give you access to military and civilian protective services and expedite transfers. The expedite transfer policy allows service members who are victims of certain offenses to request a temporary or permanent move to a different duty section.

    The Navy has made several changes to official response policies to sexual assault cases. First, commands now have a maximum of five days to respond to expedite transfer requests as opposed to the previous maximum of three days. This offers commands more time to work with detailers in order to find you a different command to transfer to. Second, the restricted reporting expansion makes it possible for a report to become restricted even when it has already been disclosed to your command (as long as law enforcement has not been notified), when previously, a report had to become unrestricted when the command was notified. Finally, the collateral misconduct policy protects you from disciplinary action, even if your sexual assault report involves any other form of misconduct, such as underage drinking or unprofessional relationships.

    You can help prevent and respond to sexual assault at your command. To become a SAPR advocate, you’ll need to undergo 40 hours of initial training, apply through the Naval Organization for Victim Assistance, and complete 32 hours of additional training every two years. Any active duty Sailor can become an advocate and help their fellow shipmates through a difficult time, said Garrett.

    If you need to speak with a SAPR advocate, call the DoD Safe Helpline at 1 (877) 995-5247. The responders will direct you to the closest SAPR unit in your area. Sexual assault isn’t something anyone should have to go through, but you are not alone. Your shipmates and chain of command stand ready and willing to help.



    Date Taken: 03.23.2023
    Date Posted: 04.02.2023 17:14
    Story ID: 441037
    Location: MD, US

    Web Views: 19
    Downloads: 0