Sexual assault is a crime
Story at a Glance
Air Force leaders stress every Airman has the moral obligation and professional duty to intervene appropriately to prevent and eliminate sexual assault from the Air Force.|
The base SARC can assist service members and civilians in need of support through a host of Air Force programs available to them. Some of the programs include healthcare, mental healthcare, legal, counseling, chaplain services and the victim witness assistance program.
Posted 6/27/2012 Updated 6/27/2012
by Dianne Moffett
Air Education and Training Command public affairs
6/27/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Sexual assault is a crime that degrades values, disrupts readiness, undermines goodwill and forever changes the lives of victims and their families.
The Defense Department defines sexual assault as intentional sexual contact, characterized by the use of force, physical threat or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent.
Under the definition, sexual assault includes rape, non consensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), or indecent assault (unwanted, inappropriate sexual contact or fondling).
Air Force leaders stress every Airman has the moral obligation and professional duty to intervene appropriately to prevent and eliminate sexual assault from the Air Force.
"If you have experienced an assault or know someone who needs help your base Sexual Assault Response coordinator or victim advocate is there to assist and offer support," said Christine Burnett, Air Education and Training Command SARC.
SARC's are considered the center of gravity when it comes to ensuring victims of sexual assault receive appropriate and responsive care. "They serve as the single point of contact to coordinate sexual assault victim care," Burnett said. "If a victim advocate is requested, the advocate assists the member in making informed decisions as they progress through resolution and healing."
Under the Defense Department's confidentiality policy, military members and dependents who have access to military treatment facilities, have two reporting options--restricted reporting and unrestricted reporting, Burnett said. Military retirees and civilian victims currently may use only unrestricted reporting.
"With restricted reporting, the incident is not reported to the commander or investigators. This allows the victim to focus on getting medical, spiritual and psychological attention without initiating an investigation," Burnett said.
There are some exceptions and limitations to restricted reporting. For example, when the victim reports the crime to someone in their chain of command, a restricted report is no longer an option.
Many resources are available to victims of sexual assault and provide live, confidential support. The base SARC can assist service members and civilians in need of support through a host of Air Force programs available to them. Some of the programs include healthcare, mental healthcare, legal, counseling, chaplain services and the victim witness assistance program.
For the DoD community, safehelpline.com provides service members and civilians 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, assistance. The telephone help line is available at (877) 995-5247. The phone number is the same via the Defense Switched Network, or DSN.
"The first step for any victim of sexual assault is to find safety," Burnett said. "Go to a safe location, away from the perpetrator and seek medical attention as soon as possible."
For a listing of SARC's by base, The Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program website lists a directory at http://www.afpc.af.mil/library/sapr/sarccontacts.asp.