This option is recommended for victims of sexual assault who desire an official investigation and command notification in addition to healthcare, victim advocacy and legal services. When selecting Unrestricted Reporting, you should use current reporting channels, e.g.:
- Law Enforcement/MCIO (will initiate an investigation and start a “report of investigation”)
- Commander (who will then immediately contact the MCIO to start a “report of investigation”)
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) (who will fill out a report with the “DD Form 2910” where the victim elects a reporting option)
- SAPR Victim Advocate (SAPR VA) (who will fill out a report with the “DD Form 2910”)
- Health care personnel (who will then immediately contact the SARC to fill out the “DD Form 2910”)
Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the SARC will immediately assign a SAPR VA and inform the victim of their right to speak to a Special Victims' Counsel / Victims' Legal Counsel (SVC / VLC). At the victim's discretion or request, the healthcare personnel shall conduct a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. Details regarding the incident will be limited to only those personnel who have a legitimate need to know.
The nature of the investigative process can be stressful for victims of sexual assault despite the sincere efforts of law enforcement, staff judge advocates and other personnel entrusted with holding offenders appropriately accountable. All Service members who are victims of sexual assault are eligible to have a Special Victims' Counsel, who is their own attorney and can help them understand the process and safeguard their victims’ rights.
Investigators must carefully collect evidence, and the process from investigation to courts martial or some other form of punishment may take many months. They must often ask you, the victim, very precise and probing questions because there usually are no eyewitnesses to provide crucial details. You may not feel you are ready to answer questions so soon after your assault, but the investigators need to interview you while your memories are fresh. Much patience will be required on your part. You will be kept well informed of any investigative actions taken in response to your reported sexual assault. Your commander will ensure, at a minimum, you receive a monthly update regarding the current status of any on-going investigative, prosecution, or command proceedings regarding the sexual assault. Monthly updates are required until the final disposition of the reported assault. "Final disposition" means the conclusion of any judicial, non-judicial, and administrative actions (including separation actions and no action).
The SVC / VLC, SAPR VA, and Victim / Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) personnel are here to assist you through this process and provide you support.
Unrestricted Reporting Example
- Service Member Smith arrives at the base medical emergency room and reports he has been sexually assaulted. Healthcare personnel immediately notify the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and begin administration of any emergency healthcare (medical and mental health) treatment.
- The SARC assigns a SAPR Victim Advocate (SAPR VA) to assist Service Member Smith. The SAPR VA meets Service Member Smith at the hospital, explains the Unrestricted and Restricted Reporting options and processes associated with each to include applicable pros and cons.
- Service Member Smith elects the Unrestricted Reporting option.
- The SAPR VA immediately notifies the appropriate Military Criminal Investigative Office (MCIO) investigator for the Service and the victim's unit commander.
- MCIO investigators arrive and begin the investigation.
- Service Member Smith is asked if he would like a SAFE, and he agrees.
- The VA advises the healthcare personnel that Service Member Smith has elected the Unrestricted Reporting option and would like a SAFE.
- Forensic evidence of the assault is collected by healthcare personnel, and at its conclusion, MCIO investigators take chain of custody.
- The healthcare personnel determines and schedules needed or victim-requested follow-up medical or mental health treatment.
- The SAPR VA advises the SARC that Service Member Smith has elected the Unrestricted Reporting option.
- In addition to any current existing channels of notification, within 24 hours of Service Member Smith's Unrestricted Report, the SARC will inform the senior commander that an assault has occurred, and provide the commander with the details of the assault. This information will only be disclosed to personnel with an official “need to know.”
- 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 communications and contact with the victim as needed for continued victim support.
Considerations When Electing an Unrestricted Reporting Decision
- Victims feel a sense of closure or healing which can aid recovery.
- Ability for Military to hold the offender appropriately accountable.
- Ensure the safety of the victim and of others, who may be victimized by the same suspect.
- Ability to request a Military Protective Order.
- Ability to request an Expedited Transfer to move to a different unit or base.