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Policy

Leading Change

DoD SAPRO leads change by overseeing the implementation of all policies and standards of sexual assault prevention and response. DoD’s sexual assault-related policy is adopted by the Military Departments and aims to translate concepts into action, improve outcomes, and achieve results that endure.

DoD & Services' Policies

The Department is committed to being a national leader in preventing and responding to sexual assault. DoD and each of the military Services have issued policy to assure compliance with our mission and the rule of military law. The DoD Directive and Instructions represent requirements in the NDAA and incorporate the recommendations from government oversight bodies.

DoD Policy: Directive, Instructions, Forms, CATCH Policy, and other Memorandums & Guidance

DoD Directive 6495.01 establishes the broad policy parameters of the SAPR Program for the Department. Detailed procedures for key areas in the SAPR program are found in the DoD Instruction 6495.02 under the DoD Instructions tab. The Department’s instruction for certification of Victim Advocates is found in the Instructions tab (6495.03). Tabs for DoD SAPR-related forms and Memorandums & Guidance follow.

The Catch a Serial Offender (CATCH) Program gives victims of sexual assault making a Restricted Report an opportunity to anonymously disclose suspect information to help the Department of identify repeat offenders. Learn more at https://www.sapr.mil/catch.

Directive

A DoD Directive is a broad policy document containing what is required by legislation, the President, or the Secretary of Defense to initiate, govern, or regulate actions or conduct by the DoD Components within their specific areas of responsibilities. DoD Directives establish or describe policy, programs, and organizations; define missions; provide authority; and assign responsibilities.

Instructions

A DoD Instruction implements policy, or prescribes the manner or a specific plan or action for carrying out policy, operating a program or activity, and assigning responsibilities.

Detailed procedures for key areas in the SAPR program are found in the DoD Instruction 6495.02 below, with additional DoD Instructions that inform SAPR program activity.

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)

Integrated Prevention

Other Sexual Assault-Related Policies

SAPR Forms

Other Forms

DoD Memorandums & Guidance refer to documents signed and issued by the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense, or Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Principal Staff Assistants (PSAs) that, because of time constraints, have not yet been published in the DoD Directives System. Memorandums & Guidance are procedural in nature and are typically converted into a DoD Directive or DoD Instruction, unless the subject is classified with limited distribution or is material of limited or temporary relevance.

In response to the IRC recommendation for “non-chargeable time off,” on October 20, 2022, Manpower & Reserve Affairs released “Clarification of Convalescent Leave Policy for Service Members Recovering from Sexual Assault” Memorandum. This memorandum clarifies two separate issues: 1) existing policy for convalescent leave and 2) also states that Commanders should allow Service members to attend, “in a normal duty status” during “normal duty hours”, any scheduled medical or non-medical appointments, services, or counseling related to their sexual assault incidents, both restricted and unrestricted reports, in order to support them in their recovery. For convalescent leave, Commanders are authorized to grant convalescent leave (non-chargeable) to Service members for their treatment and recuperation from sexual assault based on a recommendation of a medical or mental healthcare provider or sexual assault medical forensic examiner (SAMFE). Such leave may be approved to start immediately following the release from a medical facility, the completion of a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), or the completion of an appointment with a healthcare provider after either an unrestricted or restricted report of sexual assault incident is reported (e.g., a sexual assault victim may be granted convalescent leave immediately after her/his SAFE or after leaving a mental health appointment – hospitalization is NOT required).

On August 24, 2022, USD(P&R) issued a memorandum requiring that the information on the race and ethnicity of accused individuals be included for Unrestricted Reports of adult sexual assaults, to the maximum extent practicable, in the DoD Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military (SAPR Annual Report). This P&R memo implements the requirement in section 549G(b) of NDAA FY 2022. Information on race and ethnicity of the accused individuals that could reasonably lead to the identification of an individual accused or the adult sexual assault victim will not be requested in the SAPR Annual Report data call or be published in the SAPR Annual Report. The Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database (DSAID) already requests both the race and ethnicity of the accused.

This P&R Memo clarifies the role of the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) and SAPR Programs now that the newly-published FAP DoDI 6400.06, "DoD Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Abuse Involving DoD Military and Certain Affiliated Personnel," expanded the definition of "intimate partner" to include a broader category of individuals in unmarried intimate partner relationships, for example "dating" relationships.

  • SAPR Program has and will continue to offer services to adult sexual assault victims in this same category of "dating" relationships. As a result of the expanded definition, some adult sexual assault victims are eligible for, and can choose to receive, services from EITHER the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) OR the SAPR Program.
  • FAP will offer services to all adult intimate partner (to include "dating" partner) sexual assault victims under the new definition.
  • The SAPR Program will continue to offer services both to all adult sexual assault victims who are non-intimate partners and to adult sexual assault victims who are unmarried intimate partners (to include "dating" partners).
    • EXCEPT FOR THE FOLLOWING THREE CATEGORIES: 1. a current or former spouse; 2. person with whom the alleged abuser shares a child in common; or 3. a current or former intimate partner with whom the alleged abuser shares or has shared a common domicile. FAP will continue to provide services exclusively to those individuals in the three aforementioned categories.

The Exception to SAPR Policy in this P&R Memo authorizes DoD Components, at their discretion (NOT MANDATORY), to provide SAPR services from a SARC or SAPR VA to DoD civilian employees who have been sexually assaulted. This is IN ADDITION TO the March 2021 memo that directed DoD components to implement Component-specific policy that REQUIRED advocacy, support, and referrals to be available through WORKPLACE VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND RESPONSE PROGRAMS.

This DSD Memo implements the policy discussed in the Department’s Congressional report for section 540K of the NDAA for FY 2020 (Public Law Number 116-92) and its updates are consistent with recent IRC recommendations to “Increase victim agency” by preserving victim’s restricted reporting option and protecting victim preference not to participate in sexual assault investigations (Section 540K Declination Letter). It expands eligibility for the Catch a Serial Offender (CATCH) Program to include any victim who files, or has already filed, an Unrestricted Report and the name of the suspect has not been uncovered. These policy updates encourage reporting, mandate the posting of resources, and also require the publicizing of available resources outside a victim’s immediate chain of command.

In accordance with Sec. 539A of NDAA FY2021, each Military Service and the National Guard Bureau (NGB) has established a Safe-To-Report Policy to prescribe guidance and procedures for the treatment of alleged minor and non-minor collateral misconduct by Service member victims of sexual assault. The policy is applicable to all members of the Military Departments (including Reservists, National Guard members in a federalized status, cadets, and midshipmen at the Military Service Academies.

This memorandum reiterates the existing requirement for DoD components to implement Component-specific policy that allows DoD civilian employees who have experienced sexual assault to obtain advocacy, support, and referrals available through workplace violence prevention and response programs. Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1438.06, "DoD Workplace Violence Prevention and Response Policy," identifies the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy, under the authority, direction, and control of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, as the DoD lead for policy development and ensuring implementation of workplace violence prevention and response programs, including education and training, for civilian employees.

This website includes all current instructions on command climate assessments. The redesigned DEOCS 5.0 includes new and improved questions that measure verified protective and risk factors to provide commanders the information they need to understand unit-level problems and implement real solutions.

Provides direction to the Services to develop plans and procedures implementing expedited transfer for those who make a Restricted Report of sexual assault.

This memorandum provides updates and clarifications to current CMG policy in DoD Instruction (DoDI) 6495.02, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures.

This memorandum addresses several initiatives designed to improve victim support: replacement of lost forms, retaliation reporting, and an electronic File Locker.

Clarifying guidance is provided regarding mental health conditions, sexual assault, and sexual harassment to ensure veterans are aware of the opportunity to have their discharges and military records reviewed. This guidance ensures fair and consistent standards of review for veterans with mental health conditions, or who experienced sexual assault or sexual harassment regardless of when they served or in which Military Department they served.

This memorandum provides for two requirements for accountability of sex-related offenses: the inclusion of information on sex-related offenses in the personnel service records of members of the Armed Forces and the mandatory review of the personnel record notation by the commanding officer of each Service member's sex-related offenses. The Services must develop and issue regulations to implement this requirement..

This memorandum directs the Services and the National Guard Bureau to  develop a plan implement Expedited Transfers for sexual assault victims without having to make their report Unrestricted.

Guidance for the certification for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Managers (PM) establishes minimum standards for the qualifications necessary to be selected, trained, and certified for assignment as a SAPR PM.