Since our last edition, I am pleased to report that we have made significant progress. We started the New Year by completing the policy changes required for expedited transfers, legal assistance for victims, and document retention guidance. While each change was in a different area of victim response, the intent behind them all was to enhance the services available to victims. We could not have done this without the help of many organizations and the Services, who made it a priority to fast track these changes. So thank you!
We have expanded our collaboration with organizations such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor with the goal of developing a continuum of care for Service Members as they transition to civilian life. Also, the Navy and Marine Corps agreed to use the Defense Sexual Assault Incident Database as the main DoD database for tracking incidents of sexual assault.
The end of 2011 brought great attention to sexual assault in the military with the passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its provisions relating to sexual assault. As we incorporate those changes into our program, we are committed to working to improve Congressional and general public understanding of the program. We must continue to build the confidence of Congress and the American public that the Armed Forces stands by its core values and will not ignore, excuse, or condone sexual assault.
In FY12, my priorities include publishing an updated DoD Instruction, which will include additional robust initiatives on victim assistance and response. Other priorities range from developing training assessments, finalizing victim care standards, and formalizing a continuum of care for sexual assault victims.
In this edition of the SAPR Source, you will get the latest information on the Military Service Academies Report, highlights on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) policy revisions, and Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2012. This edition also spotlights the Navy's innovative SAPR efforts.
I look forward to working with all of you and achieving our mutual goal of enhancing our sexual assault prevention and response programs. Thank you for all that you do in promoting SAPR within your organization!
Mary Kay Hertog
Major General, USAF
The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2007 (Public Law 109-364) requires an annual report reflecting the past academic year's review of sexual harassment and sexual assault policies, trainings, and procedures. Last year, staff from the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) and the Office Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity conducted an on-site assessment at the Military Academy (West Point), the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy. This report also includes information regarding the Defense Manpower Data Center's (DMDC) 2011 Service Academy Gender Relations (SAGR) Focus Groups.
The Academic Program Year 2010-2011 Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies, delivered to Congress in December, summarized the key findings, action items for program improvement, and statistical data on sexual harassment and sexual assault. Based on information obtained during these site visits, SAPRO found that most academy programs fulfilled, and in some cases, surpassed the requirements of existing policies and directives.
Of particular note, each Service Academy demonstrated excellence in at least one specific area, including: the U.S. Naval Academy created a model therapist-led victim support group; the U.S. Military Academy designated the Superintendent as the chair of the Sexual Assault Review Board; and the U.S. Air Force Academy created an eSARC program to enhance its 24/7 capability. The Department also identified areas for improvement to enhance programs and ensure compliance with DoD policies.
The academies saw an overall increase in the number of sexual assault reports made to authorities in Academic Program Year (APY) 2010-2011. During the evaluation period, a total of 65 reports of sexual assault involved cadets and midshipmen compared to a total of 41 reports in the prior year.
In its oversight role, SAPRO will engage with the academies to ensure that the Department's action items are implemented in a timely manner.
"We know that the military academies have some similarities to college campuses around the country, and as such, sexual harassment and assault are challenges that all faculty, staff and students need to work to prevent," said Maj Gen Mary Kay Hertog, Director, SAPRO. "However, when assault or harassment does occur, we must provide maximum support for those who have been victimized and hold offenders appropriately accountable."
For more information, the report is available at http://www.sapr.mil.
During 2011, DoD SAPRO had several major policy achievements including:
Looking ahead, this year promises to be busy with planned revisions to the DoD Instruction (DoDI) 6592.02. The Instruction provides the procedures to implement the SAPR program and establishes the SAPR Integrated Product Team as oversight for the DoD SAPR Program. As with the Directive, the Instruction makes clear that the focus of the SAPR Program is on the victim.
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The Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DON-SAPRO) is led by a Senior Executive Service civilian who reports directly and regularly to the Secretary of the Navy. Our primary goals are to prevent or eliminate sexual assaults among Sailors and Marines, and to ensure the compassionate support of sexual assault victims Department-wide. In order to accomplish these, we work closely with other Secretariat-level stakeholders, senior military leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps, and SAPR program managers from each Service.
One cornerstone of our approach involves a consistent "top-down" leadership message that sexual assault is unacceptable anywhere in the Department of the Navy. Secretary Mabus convened the first Sexual Assault Prevention Summit in 2009, bringing senior uniformed and civilian leadership together with civilian experts. In 2010, DON-SAPRO organized the first Department-wide summit for Sexual Assault Response Coordinators from across the Navy and Marine Corps. In 2011, we expanded that forum to include shore installation commanders and regional leaders, with powerful messages delivered in person by the Secretary, Service Vice-Chiefs, and several sexual assault victims. Our plans for 2012 focus on multiple summit forums targeting operational leaders at Navy and Marine Corps concentration sites worldwide.
Another foundation of our approach involves the development of new prevention strategies based on relevant insight and data. In 2011, DON-SAPRO conducted an anonymous, web-based, Department-wide sexual assault survey to establish a baseline measure of sexual assault incidence using a standardized process that could be repeated periodically to assess Departmental prevention efforts. In addition, DON-SAPRO staff has conducted briefings, stakeholder interviews, and Service-member focus groups during site visits worldwide. We have combined these insights with advice from academic subject matter experts to develop demonstration action strategies targeting our highest risk groups – with incidence-based metrics in place to either confirm progress or signal the need for additional change.
NCIS Targets Sexual Assault
Last month, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Crime Reduction Program announced that the focus of the first quarter of the Fiscal Year 2012 campaign is on sexual assault prevention. Through collaboration with the Office of the Judge Advocate General, Family Advocacy Program, the Chaplain Corps, Public Affairs elements and other Department of the Navy assets, this campaign is a proactive move to engage with Sailors and Marines about sexual assault prevention.
WELL DONE! GO NAVY!
While it may be hard to believe, spring –April in particular – is right around the corner. During the month, DoD will join the national observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) to raise awareness and promote prevention of sexual violence.
We will continue with our current theme, "Hurts One. Affects All." This theme sends a strong message on the importance of intervention, while also emphasizing the impact of sexual assault on mission readiness.
A few of the initiatives we are already pursuing include: