Military Sexual Assault Initiative
Victims of sexual assault in the military have several options for obtaining services in the aftermath of trauma. If victims report the incident within the military system, they have two reporting options: restricted reporting or unrestricted reporting. 14 However, if victims prefer not to use military services, they instead can seek help through community-based service providers. OVC is committed to ensuring that such community-based victim service providers understand the military system and culture so that every victim receives comprehensive and compassionate care. OVC has teamed with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to address sexual assault in the military through in-person trainings—offered on and near military installations with high rates of sexual assault—and online trainings. These courses provide strategies for building partnerships with local military installations to address and respond to sexual assault. Through the establishment of a victim-centered framework, these trainings are designed to improve services to sexual assault victims and ensure that they receive appropriate support.
In-Person Training Addresses Military Culture and Sexual Assault
OVC has partnered with DOD to conduct an in-person course on military culture, justice system, and services. The interactive curriculum, Strengthening Military-Civilian Community Partnerships to Respond to Sexual Assault, developed in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Office on Violence Against Women, and the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), teaches local service providers about military systems, culture, and laws under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). To ensure that the training is available where it is needed the most, the OVC Training and Technical Assistance Center and SAPRO are promoting it to victim advocates near military sites that have a high incidence of sexual assaults. Fifty-one professionals—including community-based victim advocates, military sexual assault response coordinators, and judge advocates—were certified to conduct this course by the end of FY 2014. As a result, 127 civilian victim advocates were trained in 4 states in 2013 and nearly 600 civilian victim advocates were trained in 18 states in 2014.
Dynamic Online Training Supports Advocacy for Military Victims of Sexual Assault
OVC teamed with DOD SAPRO to develop the Advanced Military Sexual Assault Advocate Training (AMSAAT) for Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Victim Advocates (VA). This online training combines OVC’s expertise in learning development with DOD’s broad range of SAPR advocacy capabilities and initiatives. The incorporation of a victim-centered approach builds a framework that improves the quality of responses to sexual assault victims by military professionals. This dynamic training works to support a military sexual assault policy that puts victims first so that they receive appropriate care. In FY 2014, a total of 1,135 individuals participated in this training.