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The Stress Continuum Model
Sexual assault is a criminal offense. It includes rape, forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex), and other unwanted sexual contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful (to include unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact), or attempts to commit these acts.
The DOD Definition of Sexual Assault: Intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force, threats, intimidation abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent.
"Consent" means words or overt acts indicating a freely given agreement to the sexual contact at issue by a competent person. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating relationship by itself or the manner of dress of the person involved with the alleged offender in the sexual contact at issue shall not constitute consent.
Incidents of sexual assault impact mission readiness and the core values of the Navy and are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other federal and local civilian laws. Sexual assault is one of the most under-reported violent crimes.
The Navy's policy of sexual assault establishes immediate 24-hour response capability to victims of sexual assault regardless of location -ashore, afloat, or deployed to ensure timely access to services.
In FY10, the Military Services received a total of 3,158 reports of sexual assault involving Service members, which reflects a 2-percent decrease in overall reporting from FY09. Despite the small decrease in total reports this year, the trend over the previous 3 years shows that more victims are coming forward to report sexual assault than when the SAPR Program was launched in 2005. In FY 10, the Navy had 506 unrestricted reports (including reports that converted from restricted reports) of sexual assault and 142 restricted reports of sexual assault.
The victim may experience a wide range of emotions including anger, helplessness, guilt, fear, embarrassment, frustration, denial, laughter, and even a lack of emotion are common in persons who have been sexually assaulted. Every victim will react to the trauma of sexual assault in a different way and there is no standard typical response.
Research has demonstrated the following major concerns of sexual assault victims:
In many sexual assault cases, the victim knows the offender, whether an acquaintance, coworker, friend, or relative. If the victim is assaulted by someone they know they may:
The victim will need time for emotional and spiritual healing. It is important to consider the following general points:
The primary concern is to ensure the proper care and response to the victim's care and response should be a coordinated effort. The SARC ensures a Sexual Assault Case Management Group is held monthly to ensure victim care and response is coordinated with the Command, SAPR Victim Advocate, Military Criminal Investigator, Military Law Enforcement, Healthcare Provider and Mental Health/Counseling Services, Chaplain, Command Legal Representative or Staff Judge Advocate. Leaders should support this effort by encouraging required members attend the Sexual Assault Case Management Group.
It is important victims are informed of their rights and speak with a SAPR Victim Advocate before speaking with anyone else. The SAPR Victim Advocate on the watch bill should be activated. Victims have the option to have a SAPR Victim Advocate to accompany them medical examination, and investigative and legal appointments. Leaders should explain the role of the SAPR Victim Advocate.
SAPR Victim Advocates may provide crisis intervention, referral and non-clinical support to include information on available options and resources. A healthcare professional that has specialty training to examine victims of sexual assault administers the forensic evaluation and medical examination. Service members may be referred to local civilian hospitals if the Military Treatment Facility (MTF) does not have the capability to provide forensic examinations. Ensure that the command and all responders know the required Navy Sexual Assault Victim Response Protocols and processes and follow standard operating procedures based upon Navy policy and directives. The CO should refer to his or her Commander's Toolkit and the Commander's Checklist to help guide the commands' actions when addressing the needs of a sexual assault victim, and the alleged offender.
The primary objective is to ensure the appropriate balance between a victim's rights and the alleged offender's right to due process under the law. Consult with the SJA for all reports of sexual assault. A coordinated team response with the SARC, Sexual Assault Case Management Group members and Command SAPR personnel will ensure appropriate response and care for victims of sexual assault.
When supporting victims, leaders also need to address the following issues:
All military services have established the position of the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) who is considered the "center of gravity" for ensuring that victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. The roles and responsibilities of the SARC include:
The Navy and the Department of Defense are committed to ensuring victims of sexual assault are treated with dignity and respect, and provided support, advocacy, and care. Navy policy supports command awareness and prevention programs, and law enforcement and criminal justice activities maximize accountability and prosecution of sexual assault perpetrators. However, the military services recognize that mandating reporting may present a barrier for victims to access supportive services if the victim does not want command or law enforcement involvement.
As of June 2005, all military services implemented a confidential reporting policy for reporting incidents of sexual assault. Victims of sexual assault have two options for reporting: restricted or unrestricted.
Restricted reporting allows a victim of sexual assault to disclose the details of their assault to specifically identified individuals and to receive victim advocacy and counseling without triggering the investigative process. Victims under this policy should report the assault to the installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), SAPR Victim Advocate, or healthcare provider. They may also report the assault to the chaplain. This policy is in addition to the current protections afforded privileged communications with the chaplain, and does not alter or affect those protections.
This option of reporting will enable victims to report without having identifying information reported to the chain of command. The SARC or SAPR Victim Advocate will assist the victim with completing the Victim Reporting Preference Statement (DD2910). This form states that restricted reporting may limit the ability of the government to prosecute the offender.
A victim who is sexually assaulted and desires an investigation and command notification should use current reporting channels, i.e. chain of command, law enforcement, or he/she may report the incident to an installation SARC or SAPR Victim Advocate. Medical treatment, counseling, and victim advocacy is available for victims who have an unrestricted report. The SAPR Victim Advocate or SARC will assist the victim with completing the DD2910.
Details regarding the incident will be limited to only those personnel who have a legitimate need to know. This option will allow victims to report in an unrestricted manner so that their chain of command is aware of the incident and can react/support the victim appropriately. Unrestricted reporting allows the command more options and support the victim to include military protective orders and reassignment as appropriate.
The following are guidelines for commands with respect to prevention and response to incidents of sexual assault within the command. This checklist incorporates elements from the Department of Defense (DoD) Commander's Checklist (Commander's Guidelines for Response to Sexual Assault Incidents) in OPNAVINST 1752.1B and Navy Inspector General Sexual Assault study recommendations. Following these guidelines ensures that commands address all areas and provide a timely and sensitive response to all incidents of sexual assault.
Commanding Officers are responsible for ensuring a command climate that condemns sexual assault; provides victims with sensitive care, resources, and support; reports incidents of sexual assault; and holds offenders accountable for their actions.
Upon receipt of an allegation that a member of your command has been sexually assaulted, the following actions are required:
Collect only the necessary information to include the victim’s identity, location and time of the incident, name and/or description of the offender(s). Do not ask detailed questions or pressure the victim for information about the incident.
Activate the on-call victim advocate and request immediate assistance.
Offer to notify the duty chaplain, if the victim desires, for pastoral assistance.
Designate a SAVI Command Liaison (formerly SAVI Command Representative) to act as the single command point of contact for the victim. All other direct contacts with the victim within the command should be kept to a minimum. The SAVI Command Liaison shall:
Ensure compliance with command reporting requirements, in accordance with Special Incident Reporting Requirements (OPNAVINST 3100.6H).
After seeking consultation from legal and the investigation team, determine if the victim desires/needs a Military Protection Order (MPO), particularly if the victim and the accused are assigned to the same command, duty location or living quarters. DD Form 2873 shall be used when a MPO is issued.
Strongly consider temporary assignment of either the victim or accused when they are assigned to the same command, duty location or living quarters.
Guard the victim’s right to confidentiality and privacy by limiting the “need to know” personnel.
Throughout the investigation, ensure the SAVI Command Liaison consults with the victim regularly. Communicate regularly with the SAVI Command Liaison to accommodate the victim’s wishes to the extent possible regarding his/her safety, health, and security, as long as a critical mission or a thorough investigation are not compromised.
Determine how to best dispose of the victim’s collateral misconduct. Absent overriding considerations, Commanding Officer’s should consider the victim’s misconduct in context and exercise their authority to defer disciplinary actions for the victim’s minor misconduct until after the final disposition of the sexual assault case.
Avoid automatic suspension or revocation of a security and/or personnel reliability program (PRP) clearance for a mental, emotional, or personality disorder or sexual behavior when possible, understanding that the victim may be satisfactorily treated for his/her related trauma without comprising his/her PRP status.
Emphasize the availability of additional avenues of victim support. The command SAVI POC, responsible victim advocate, or base SARC can provide referral assistance to the victim.
Ensure SAVI Command Liaison participation at installation Sexual Assault Case Review Group meetings.
Ensure ongoing communication and coordination of actions between commands if the alleged offender is assigned to another command.
All necessary efforts should be taken to ensure that it does not become general knowledge within the command that a sexual assault has occurred. The following actions should be considered when that information becomes known within the ranks:
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