SAPR Source

Sexual assault prevalence drops in academic program year 2013-2014

MSA SealsThe prevalence of sexual assault at the Military Service Academies decreased to the lowest rate since the Department began tracking it in 2005. Coupled with the 53 victim reports made last academic program year, the report estimated 16 percent of victims reported their assaults. This is also the highest percentage of reporting to date.

The Department of Defense (DoD) released its Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies (MSA) for Academic Program Year (APY) 2013-2014 in early February which includes results from the 2014 Service Academy Gender Relations Survey (SAGR 2014). The Department conducts an assessment of policies and programs to address sexual harassment and sexual violence at the academies annually.

While these trends show progress, the Secretary of Defense directed initiatives with the release of the report to reinforce and foster additional progress. The initiatives, intended specifically for the MSAs, are intended to redouble efforts to increase reporting while sustaining a prevention focus as it pertains to sexual assault. The initiatives are:

  • Strategic Dialogue: To facilitate collaboration and exchange of best practices, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (USD(P&R) will host a senior summit each APY for Service Academy leadership, and incorporate senior Service Academy leadership into the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Executive Integrated Product Team forum.
  • Targeted Interventions: The Secretaries of the Military Departments will develop and conduct specific prevention programming and initiatives in cadets and midshipmen at the conclusion of their first academic year (fourth-class or freshman year) in order to address professional relationship expectations in their second academic year.
  • Addressing Prior Victimization: The Department will develop and deploy an anonymous, self-guided educational program to help address special life circumstances for cadets, midshipmen, and other military members who have previously been victims of sexual assault or abuse.
  • Improving Sexual Assault Reporting: Each MSA, in collaboration with USD (P&R) and their respective Military Department SAPROs, will assess their individual Academy climates and develop a refreshed plan to promote greater reporting of these crimes by cadets and midshipmen.

The Secretary also announced a fifth initiative instructing USD (P&R) in collaboration with the Office of General Counsel, the DoD Inspector General, and the Secretaries of the Military Departments to conduct a comprehensive review of the means available to address both social and professional retaliation to include appropriate social media conduct throughout the Services.

DoD SAPRO, the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, and Military Department SAPR personnel will travel to the MSAs this spring to conduct an on-site assessment that will include the tracking of the implementation of Secretary of Defense initiatives and assess their effectiveness, and conduct an overall assessment of policies and programs to address sexual harassment and sexual violence. Information and observations collected will be documented in next year’s MSA report.

The Department is committed to reducing the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment through prevention initiatives. The MSAs will continue to carry out initiatives to reach these goals through comprehensive sexual assault prevention and response programs.

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D-SAACP approves 10,000 applications for SARCs/SAPR VAs to respond to military sexual assault victims

Calendar year 2014 was another banner year for the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program (D-SAACP), with more than 10,000 applicants having been approved to help serve victims of sexual assault.

D-SAACP is a key program ensuring national recognition of the Department's victim advocates. Rising through the levels of the program demonstrates these SARCs and SAPR VAs are dedicated to their work and acknowledge their continued commitment to advocacy.

The first round of renewal applicants for D-SAACP was approved in November and thousands more will seek their renewal on a quarterly basis. The next round of applicants will need to submit DD Form 2950 along with documentation of their 32 hours of continuing education between February 1 and April 30, 2015. Victim advocates should remember the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database can be used to track advocates’ Continuing Education progress and at least 2 hours must be related to victim advocacy ethics.

Victim advocates need to submit their renewal application to by the deadline before their credential expires.

In response to requests from the field, a simple application process has been developed to allow D-SAACP certified individuals to transfer their credentials to a civilian credentialing program. Many advocates have indicated their plans to continue their advocacy role outside of the military, thus contributing to the larger advocacy field.

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Prevention Webinar Presents Ideas Leveraging Mobile Technologies

While many people use mobile technology applications (apps) on a regular basis, it is surprising how widespread they have become. In 2014, apps overtook personal computer internet access for the first time, drastically changing how people receive information. With that in mind, several members of the DoD community have developed apps focused on sexual assault prevention and response.

In December 2014, SAPRO held a webinar to discuss how mobile technology allows for information to be presented to the youngest generation of Service members - the highest users of apps - to inform them of available support services. The webinar’s 183 participants heard from representatives from DoD Safe Helpline (SHL), the Army, and Navy about the apps developed to assist them in their work.

Ms. Kinjal Dalal discussed the award winning DoD Safe Helpline app as a gateway to all of its resources, including relevant phone numbers, online helpline, response database, and Safe HelpRoom. One advantage of the app is it allows users to access the Helpline using Voice Over IP technology (VOIP), making it easier and less costly for Service members to make calls around the world. The Safe Helpline app can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play store for Android.

Ms. Diane Jenkins, Army Mobile Device and App Distribution at Ft. Lee, walked participants through the capabilities of the Army’s “We Care” app, a base-specific app that allows users to access information on base chaplains, SARCs, and hotline resources. Every app is unique to the specific location and is available on iTunes and Android by searching “We Care.”

Mr. Troy Bounds walked participants through SAFE Shield, the Navy’s prevention and response app. An easy-to-use sexual assault intervention tool, SAFE Shield allows users to trigger one-click emergency calls and emails, capability to send their location, and provides immediate access to important contact information. SAFE Shield is now available on the iTunes.

The recorded versions of the webinar are available on SAPR Connect, the online virtual platform connecting DoD’s prevention community. To view the December webinar, join us on SAPR Connect by clicking on this link.

Leverage your unit’s leadership during SAAPM

April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (SAAPM) and it serves as a great opportunity for commanders to honor the efforts of their D-SAACP certified Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocates (SAPR VAs) as part of the response and prevention pillars in the Department’s efforts to eliminate sexual assault. Each installation/base command is encouraged to plan a “Certified Sexual Assault Advocate Appreciation Day” during SAAPM. Possible activities to highlight the contributions of the SARCs and SAPR VAs include:

  • Request the installation commander or senior commander to issue a SAAPM Proclamation that highlights this day and other SAAPM activities.
  • Coordinate a command pause for Certified Sexual Assault Advocate Appreciation Day.
  • Schedule a ceremony, to recognize D-SAACP, certified advocates with coins or certificates of appreciation.
  • Encourage individual commanders to recognize unit certified advocates in a special formation and have them wear teal ribbons.
  • Post a command message about Certified Sexual Assault Advocate Appreciation Day on the installation/AOR website and through social media.
  • Unveil public boards and/or posters with pictures and titles of all certified advocates and the installation’s 24/7 number.
  • Organize an installation SAAPM Run/Walk; Command can recognize certified advocates at the start or conclusion of the event.
  • Host a command luncheon to thank D-SAACP certified advocates and other first responders.

SARCs are encouraged to share stories and photos of Certified Sexual Assault Advocate Appreciation Day with the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and the National Organization for Victim Assistance. Please submit write-ups and photos to

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The appearance of external hyperlinks does not necessarily constitute endorsement by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein. SAPRO does not exercise any editorial control over the information you may find at these locations. All links provided are consistent with the mission of this website. Please let us know about existing external links which you believe are inappropriate.

March 2015

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