This option is for adult victims of sexual assault who wish to confidentially disclose the crime to specifically identified individuals without triggering the official investigative process or notification to command. Service Members or their adult military dependents who desire Restricted Reporting under this policy must use one of the following reporting avenues:
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
- SAPR Victim Advocate (VA)
- Healthcare Provider or Personnel
While Special Victims' Counsel and chaplains have confidentiality/privilege, they CANNOT accept a Restricted Report.
Who May Make a Restricted Report?
Who is eligible to make a Restricted Report? At this time, only military personnel of the Armed Forces and their adult dependents are eligible to file a Restricted Report. Service members who were victims of sexual assault PRIOR to enlistment or commissioning are eligible to receive SAPR services under either reporting option. The DoD shall provide support to a Service member regardless of when or where the sexual assault took place. National Guard (NG) and Reserve Component members who are sexually assaulted when performing active service or inactive duty training, or if reporting a sexual assault that occurred prior to, or while not performing active service or inactive duty training, are eligible to receive SAPR support advocacy services from a SARC and a SAPR VA and the appropriate referrals, if requested, and are eligible to file a Restricted or Unrestricted Report.
Who is not eligible? DoD civilians, and DoD contractor victims currently may use only Unrestricted Reporting. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program does not handle intimate partner violence cases. They are handled by the Family Advocacy Program.
Understanding DoD's Restricted (Confidential) Reporting Policy
DoD's Restricted (Confidential) Reporting Policy permits adult victims of sexual assault to report the crime to specified individuals (SARC, SAPR VA, or healthcare personnel) who can then ensure the victim receives healthcare (medical and mental health), advocacy services (from a SARC or SAPR VA), and legal advice (from a Special Victims' Counsel) without notifying command or law enforcement officials. For purposes of public safety and command responsibility, the SARC will notify the installation commander that “an assault” has occurred and provide very limited details that do NOT include the identity of the victim. See the Department of Defense Directive 6495.01, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program for complete details.
This policy provides victims some personal space and time and increased control over the release and management of their personal information. This is intended to empower them to seek relevant information and support to make more informed decisions about participating in the criminal investigation. Jurisdictions with similar policies have found that confidentiality actually leads to increased reporting rates. Even if the victim chooses not to pursue an official investigation, the commander does receive the anonymous reporting information, which in turn, gives commanders a clearer picture of the sexual violence within their command and enhances a commander's ability to provide an environment which is safe and contributes to the well-being and mission readiness of all of its members.
The SARC will also let a Service member know that the Catch a Serial Offender (CATCH) Program is an option available to him/her. The CATCH Program gives sexual assault victims making a Restricted Report an opportunity to anonymously disclose suspect information to help the Department of Defense identify serial offenders. Participation in the CATCH Program is voluntary, and a Service member's Restricted Report will not be converted without his/her permission.
Restricted Reporting Example
- Service Member Smith arrives at the base medical emergency room and reports she has been sexually assaulted. Healthcare personnel immediately notify the SARC and begin any appropriate emergency medical treatment. Military law enforcement is NOT contacted.
- The SARC assigns a SAPR VA to assist Service Member Smith. The SAPR VA meets Service Member Smith at the hospital and explains the Unrestricted and Restricted Reporting options and the processes associated with each, to include applicable pros and cons.
- Service Member Smith elects the Restricted Reporting option.
- Service Member Smith is asked if she would like a forensic examination, and she agrees.
- The SAPR VA advises the healthcare personnel that Service Member Smith has elected the Restricted Reporting option and would like a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE).
- Forensic evidence of the assault is collected and preserved, and a computer-generated number is placed on the evidence instead of the victim’s name.
- The healthcare personnel determines and schedules follow-up healthcare (medical and mental health) as appropriate, or as requested by the victim.
- The SAPR VA advises the SARC that Service Member Smith has elected the Restricted Reporting option.
- Within 24 hours of Service Member Smith's Restricted Report, the SARC will inform the senior commander that “an assault” has occurred, and provide the commander with details related to the sexual assault allegation but will NOT include the victim’s name or information that could allow the commander to easily deduce the name. Careful consideration of which details to include is of particular significance at smaller locations like a Forward Operating Base or a submarine.
- The SARC maintains information regarding the number of sexual assaults for both Unrestricted and Restricted Reports. Restricted Report numbers will be included in the DoD SAPR annual report.
- The SAPR VA maintains communication and contact with the victim as needed for continued victim support.
Considerations When Electing a Restricted Reporting Decision
- It is crucial to your recovery that you receive healthcare (medical and mental health) and victim advocacy as soon as possible after you are assaulted.
- Provides personal space and time to consider your options and to begin the healing process.
- Empowers you to seek relevant information and support to make more informed decisions about participating in the criminal investigation. Allows you time to get legal advice from a Special Victims' Counsel.
- You control the release and management of your personal information.
- You decide whether and when to move forward with initiating an investigation.
- Participating in the CATCH Program allows you to be contacted privately if there is evidence of a repeat offender to decide whether to convert your Restricted Report to an Unrestricted Report.
- Your assailant cannot be held accountable and may be capable of assaulting other victims.
- You cannot receive a military protective order.
- You cannot request an Expedited Transfer to allow you to move to a different unit or base.
- You will continue to have contact with your assailant, if he or she is in your organization or billeted with you.
- Evidence from the crime scene where the assault occurred will be lost, and the official investigation, should you switch to an Unrestricted Report, will likely encounter significant obstacles.
- You should not discuss the assault with anyone, to include your friends, because they may be mandatory reporters. The only exceptions would be chaplains, healthcare personnel, your assigned SAPR VA or SARC, and Special Victims' Counsel.