SAPR Source

Director's Message

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey J. Snow, U.S. Army, Director, DoD SAPRO

Major General Jeffrey J. Snow

Sexual assault prevention relies on the cultural imperatives of mutual respect and trust, professional values, and team commitment that must be reinforced to create an environment where sexual assault is not tolerated, condoned, or ignored. That’s the culture we seek to achieve, and that’s the culture I’m confident will take hold in every facet of our military.

Sexual assault can only be stopped when everyone understands we all have a role in combating it. Our mutual success relies on the personal commitment from every Service member, at every level, to be steadfast participants in creating an appropriate culture for upholding standards of behavior and military core values. By providing the tools and training targeted at every level within the Department, our work is a commitment to eradicating sexual assault within the ranks and preventing the crime before it can even take place.

Our 2014-2016 DoD Sexual Assault Prevention Strategy provides authoritative guidance on delivering consistent and effective prevention methods and programs for the Services to tailor to their needs. Only a proactive, focused, and comprehensive approach to combatting sexual assault will lead to success and the Prevention Strategy meets those challenges as we work together to end this crime in our military.

This plan identifies leaders at all levels as critical components in our prevention efforts and is a Department-wide strategy to integrate accountability, community involvement, communication, deterrence, incentives, training, education, and harm reduction. These key prevention components must become engrained knowledge within the culture of the Department through the incorporation of our core values and enforcing standards of behavior.

Leaders at all levels are the center of gravity in preventing sexual assault because of the impact they have throughout their command. The words and actions of our leaders set the tone for the entire Department, so it’s essential to rely on our leaders to advance and sustain an appropriate culture based on the core values vital to our Department. The Prevention Strategy educates and instructs commanders about the factors at work within their units that increase the risk of sexual assault and what they need to do to eliminate damaging attitudes and behaviors to reduce that risk.

Sexual assault is a vastly under-reported crime, largely because of social influences that play a major role in whether victims feel they can come forward to report their assaults. Rape myths, victim-blaming, and reluctance to get involved in sensitive topics perpetuate an environment where victims don't feel comfortable coming forward. Creating a culture of dignity and respect can reverse this effect. An institution that seeks to understand such a traumatizing crime and rallies together to end it has an impact not only on victims, but potential victims as well.

Proper prevention education for all and the acceptance of an ethos of dignity and respect throughout the Department will help to combat - with the goal of eliminating - sexual assault within our military culture.

Prevention is the most critical line of effort and will undoubtedly define our success.

Jeffrey J. Snow
MG, U.S. Army
Director
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office

For more information:


SAPR Spotlight

DoD Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military finds 50 percent increase in reports

In the past year, the Department led an effort to increase reporting of the vastly underreported crime of sexual assault. In the DoD Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, the Department announced a 50 percent increase in reported sexual assaults, a significant increase over years prior. The Department believes this shows victims have greater confidence in their capability to handle such crimes and the ability for the system to provide victims with the care and support they need.

Out of the 5,061 total number of sexual assault reports, 1,293 were restricted reports. There were 1,501 initial restricted reports, but 208 were converted to unrestricted reports during FY13.

"While we see indications that our efforts over the last year and a half are having an impact, it does not mean that we are satisfied with our progress," said MG Jeffrey J. Snow, Director, SAPRO. "We will continue to encourage greater reporting while reducing the occurrence of this crime by improving our prevention measures."

Commanders had sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action against 73 percent of alleged offenders, up from 66 percent from the prior year.

The report also included a number of policy and program improvements made in FY13 to prevent and respond to sexual assault.

First, the Special Victims Counsel and Victim Legal Counsel programs began offering legal consultation and representation to victims of sexual assault, and as of FY13 more than 185 attorneys now directly support victims across the armed forces.

The Services also added new criteria to specifically assess the performance of military commanders and enlisted leaders in establishing command climates of dignity and respect as further means to improve upon a climate where soldiers do not commit, tolerate, or ignore sexual assault when it does occur.

Finally, the Department fielded a Special Victim Capability in each of the Services. This program is designed to improve collaboration between specially trained investigators, prosecutors, and legal personnel who respond to allegations of sexual assault. This capability improves the Department's ability to identify evidence, support victims, and hold offenders appropriately accountable.

Overall, the FY13 Annual Report helps to convey the Department's progress on combatting sexual assault and creating an environment where this crime is not tolerated or ignored, but also where victims feel confident in the response system to report their assault.

For more information:


New SAPR Tools

DoD SAPRO Releases DSAID v3.3

On June 13, 2014, DoD SAPRO released Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID) v3.3, which includes updates to the Legal Officer role to sufficiently support Case Synopsis data entry, ensuring accurate and standardized reporting for the Annual Report. Additionally, several updates were made to the SARC role, including the ability to enter cases for assaults Service members experienced prior to Service, and making specific fields required when entering a Referral Support listing. Other general features have been enhanced to be more user-friendly, like the visibility of the "Apply Selections" button when selecting locations, and making certain search fields case-insensitive.

DSAID is a centralized case-level database, which collects and maintains information on sexual assaults involving Armed Forces members. DSAID gives Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) the enhanced ability to provide comprehensive and standardized victim case management. Service SAPR Programs use DSAID to inform their individual programs and assess the effectiveness of response efforts. The Department also uses DSAID to meet Congressional reporting requirements and ensure transparency of sexual assault-related data. DSAID standardizes data across all Services and will also standardize reporting to Congress, DoD and Service leadership.

Form 2910 updated to provide more information to victims and comply with FY14 NDAA

The DD Form 2910, the "Victim Reporting Preference Statement," has been revised and reissued to reflect a number of changes resulting from the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and reissuance of the Department's SAPR policy. The form was revised to indicate that the DD Form 2910 will be retained for 50 years in both Restricted and Unrestricted Report cases, as mandated by Section 1723 of the NDAA for FY 2014. The revised form also notifies victims of the availability of a Special Victims Counsel, in accordance with Section 1716 of the NDAA for FY 2014.

Other changes to the form include clarification of Sexual Assault Forensic Examination kit storage procedures and clarification that Unrestricted Reports will be investigated by a Military Criminal Investigative Organization or appropriate civilian law enforcement agency. The revised form also includes victim notification of the option to request an expedited transfer (in the case of an Unrestricted Report) and the ability to report if they experience coercion, retaliation, reprisal, or ostracism.

Sexual assault reporting procedures require that the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) be notified of all incidents of reported sexual assault. Once any emergent medical injuries have been treated, the SARC or SAPR Victim Advocate shall advise the victim of the reporting options available to him or her, explain the benefits and limitations of each, and document the reporting option the victim selects using DD Form 2910.

For more information:


In Case You Missed It...

Prevention Webinar draws Commanders, SARCs, SAPR VAs

The SAPRO Prevention Team invited Russell Strand, Chief, U.S Army Military Police School, Behavioral Sciences Education and Training Division, to speak to Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs, SAPR Victim Advocates (VAs) and commanders on the topic "Sexual Assault Offenders" on May 14 as part of the quarterly webinar series held for SARCs, SAPR VAs and commanders.

Strand focused on the difficulty of identifying sexual assault offenders because not all have tell-tale signs that are easy to recognize. He said identification is not about the offenders we do know about, but the ones we don't and those who could strike next. Perpetrators often have a hidden persona they obstruct from public view which make them appear like everyone else. This persona is the one that bears the traits of a perpetrator of sexual assault, but it remains hidden to avoid detection.

Most of the population will not commit or tolerate sexual assault, but the small group that do during their lifetime make a massive negative impact, Strand said. And while all the wolves look like sheep, Strand explained, it's hard to tell who the wolves are.

Strand wrapped up his presentation with the reminder that culture change must be personal to everyone, all the time, and making the issue personal can bring about that change. "Everyone knows a victim of sexual assault," Strand said. "Everyone also knows a perpetrator. It has to be personal for everyone and we have to be vigilant about it."

The SAPR Prevention Webinar Series is held quarterly for SARCs and SAPR VAs as an optional course applicable for the required 32-hours of D-SAACP continuing education training for certification renewal. Attendees of the Webinar Series can listen to the speaker and see the full set of slides, ask questions during the presentation, chat with other participants, and download the presentation afterward for further use.

The next SAPRO Webinar covered the 2014-2016 DoD Sexual Assault Prevention Strategy on August 6, 2014. Dr. Suzanne Holroyd, DoD SAPRO Prevention Team Lead, Dr. Andra Tharp, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and Dr. Nathan Galbreath, DoD SAPRO Senior Executive Advisor spoke about the development of the Prevention Strategy and how the DoD drew on a well-tested model utilized by the Centers for Disease Control called the socio-ecological model (SEM).

The SAPR Prevention Webinar Series is one resource in which commanders, SARCs, and SAPR VA professionals from all services can participate and learn from prevention experts speaking on targeted topics to address SAPR challenges.

Department leadership visits Safe Helpline for three-year anniversary

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and SAPRO Director MG Jeffrey J. Snow visited the DoD Safe Helpline (SHL) during Sexual Assault Awareness Month to mark the three year anniversary of the anonymous and confidential system of support and to reiterate the Department's commitment to victim advocacy.

MG Snow visited with the professionals of SHL at their downtown offices on April 16. MG Snow thanked the staffers for their commitment to providing victims with the proper support they need, whether it's through one-on-one assistance and crisis support or through the SHL-moderated online chat.

"We're proud to continually provide victims of sexual assault with an anonymous and confidential line of support as part of our victim-centered mission," said MG Snow. "I believe the Department of Defense can and must be a leader in addressing survivor needs and the Safe Helpline is an invaluable resource."

Secretary Hagel also toured the SHL offices on April 21, and spoke with staffers to learn more about the work they do to support victims of sexual assault. Safe Helpline is administered by the Defense Department and operated by the nonprofit organization Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, through a contract with SAPRO.

During the tour, Secretary Hagel noticed small signs pinned on a wall from victims who had received assistance, calling the comments the "defining dynamic" of what SHL is meant to do.

Speaking directly to the SHL staff about their mission, Hagel commended them for their commitment to victims' rights and victim advocacy as the Department seeks to end sexual assault. "We're trying to do as much as an institution can, but institutions are nothing more than people," Hagel said. "The institution is the framework, but it's the people like you who make up an institution."

"Sexual assault is a clear threat to the lives and the well-being of the women and men who serve our country in uniform," Hagel said. "It's important to strengthen how DoD prevents and responds to sexual assault in the military, as well as how we support victims of this crime."

SHL and its dedicated staff serve as a vital confidential and anonymous support service and resource for victims of sexual assault for three years. The service is confidential, anonymous, secure, and available worldwide, 24/7 by click, call, or text - providing victims with the help they need anytime, anywhere.

For more information, please visit the Safe Helpline website at www.safehelpline.org

Safe Helpline can be reached by calling 877-995-5247. The SHL staff can also transfer callers to installation/base Sexual Assault Response Coordinators, Veterans benefits Administration Coordinators, Military OneSource, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and civilian sexual assault service providers.

For more information:

A look back at Sexual Assault Awareness Month

In April, the Department observed Sexual Assault Awareness Month with the theme "Live Our Values: Step Up to Stop Sexual Assault."

As part of the national awareness campaign, SAPRO designed SAAM materials to support installation and unit sexual assault prevention efforts during the month. The month offers a unique opportunity to build on existing momentum to fight the crime of sexual assault and to promote a culture of dignity and respect within the military community.

SAPRO encouraged the entire DoD community to raise maximum awareness about this drastically underreported crime. MG Jeffrey J. Snow, Director, SAPRO, visited troops at Fort Belvoir to kick off SAAM and encouraged social courage to combat sexual assault.

"We all have a critical role in preventing and responding to sexual assault," said MG Snow. "To be successful, leaders need to lead on this issue and every Soldier needs to personally demonstrate the kind of social courage it takes to Step Up and Stop Sexual Assault."

SAAM also served as an opportunity to push the multi-disciplinary approach to prevention and victim advocacy, specifically the services to help victims, implemented by the DoD in recent years, including the Safe Helpline, the Special Victims Counsel, and professional and credentialed SARCs and SAPR VAs, among others. MG Snow and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also visited Safe Helpline to commemorate SAAM and the third-anniversary of the confidential and anonymous hotline for victims.

SAPRO's mission is to fight against the crime of sexual assault and SAAM serves as a re-emphasis of the seriousness of the crime and the importance of everyone's role in combating it.

For more information:


Service Spotlight

Navy focuses on prevention with dedicated SAPR Officers

In a move directly targeting sexual assault prevention efforts, the Navy is introducing a fleet-wide, comprehensive prevention effort, including the assignment of dedicated SAPR Officers in grade O-4 or above to 16 commands.

Originally tested as a pilot program in San Diego and Great Lakes, these SAPR Officers will lead the way in sexual assault prevention efforts and report directly to their commanders. The SAPR Officer is in charge of the development and implementation of training and policies throughout the Navy, but directly assigned to their respective commands.

The decision, directed by Rear Adm. Sean Buck in July of 2013, was implemented October 1, 2013 when SAPR Officers were placed in their respective commands. In August, Chief of Naval Personnel rotated in 16 new dedicated SAPR Officers in every command, including SAPRO's CDR Debra Yniquez to U.S. Naval Forces Europe.

"The increased focus the Navy is giving to this high-priority mission demands dedicated positions within our force as well as bringing additional specialized professionals onboard," wrote Rear Adm. Sean Buck in a blog post announcing the SAPR Officer program.

These SAPR Officers will be designated to lead their command's SAPR program by facilitating discussions between installation representatives; members from the command, and the local community to review progress in eliminating sexual assault. While the primary role of SARCs and SAPR VAs is response to victims of sexual assaults, SAPR Officers will focus primarily on prevention and making everyone aware of the policies and procedures vital to combatting sexual assault.

The Navy is also hiring, training, and assigning Deployed Resiliency Counselors (DRC). These 22 licensed clinical social workers with SARC training, certification, and credentials will be able to receive restricted and unrestricted reports of sexual assault and connect victims with the spectrum of care and available assistance. DRCs will deploy directly with Carrier Strike Groups, Expeditionary Strike Groups, and Amphibious Ready Groups to provide professional support continuity to deployed Sailors to ensure victims remain connected to resources throughout their deployment. These resiliency counselors can take care of shipboard personnel instead of waiting for them to return port side.

For more information:


SAPR in the News

Military Sex Assault Reports Surge By 50 Percent

Associated Press / Lolita C. Baldor / May 1, 2014

Reports by members of the military of sexual assaults jumped by an unprecedented 50 percent last year, in what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declared a "clear threat" to both male and female Service members' lives and well-being.

The latest numbers reflected an aggressive campaign by the Pentagon to persuade victims to come forward, but Hagel and others said Thursday they need to do more to get men to report assaults — a challenge in a military culture that values strength. Hagel said an estimated half of sexual-assault victims in the military are men, yet only 14 percent of reported assaults involve male victims. Read more here

Pentagon Study Finds 50 Percent Increase in Reports of Military Sexual Assault

New York Times / Hellene Cooper / May 1, 2014

White House and Defense Department officials characterized the much-anticipated study as a welcome sign that victims are more comfortable reporting assaults and that victims perceive the Pentagon to be taking the problem seriously. But critics of the study said there was no way to know if the increase in reporting meant that there were more sexual assaults over all last year. Unlike in previous years, the study did not estimate how many sexual assaults took place over all last year. In 2012, a confidential Pentagon survey estimated that 26,000 men and women were sexually assaulted. Of those, 3,374 cases were reported. Read more here

General Encourages Social Courage to Combat Sexual Assault

Armed Forces Press Service / Amaani Lyle / April 18, 2014

With Sexual Assault Awareness Month underway, the Defense Department Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office director encouraged "social courage" and recognition of the cues and behaviors that lead to the under-reported crime to help eradicate it. Read more here

DoD Unveils Improved Sexual Assault Prevention Training

Armed Forces Press Service / Amaani Lyle / April 21, 2014

As part of efforts to eliminate the crime of sexual assault in the military, Defense Department officials today announced improvements to sexual assault prevention and response training for all members of the armed forces and civilian employees. Read more here

Battle Against Sexual Assault Begins at Top, Hagel Says

Armed Forces Press Service / April 16, 2014

Measures to battle the "insidious" crime of sexual assault must start at the top, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today during a visit to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network to meet with the staff and receive a briefing on the Safe Helpline set up three years ago for sexual assault victims in the Defense Department. Read more here

Helpline Marks 3 Years of Aiding Sexual Assault Victims

Armed Forces Press Service / Amaani Lyle / April 14, 2014

The DoD Safe Helpline - a crisis-response resource that provides sexual assault victims with an anonymous and confidential system of support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from anywhere in the world - marks three years of operation this month. Read more here

If there's information you'd like to see in this newsletter, please contact us at whs.mc-alex.wso.mbx.SAPRO@mail.mil.

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