Meet Your SARC

Articles

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program reinforces the Air Force's commitment to eliminate sexual assaults through awareness and prevention training, education, victim advocacy, response, reporting, and accountability. The Air Force promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.

Through prevention and education, the Department of the Air Force wants to eliminate sexual assault within our community, increase response capability, victim support, improve reporting procedures, and have accountability that enhances the safety and well-being of all its members.

Our Westover Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program actively advocates this philosophy and continuously strives to cultivate a culture which is congruent with our Core Values and encourages the Wingman concept, with the end goal of eliminating this form of violence. 

Our diverse trained team is available 24-7 and is always here to assist service members and their families. 

*DoD Safe Helpline is a crisis support service for members of the DoD commnuity affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline provides live, one-on-one support and information. The service is confidential, anonymous, secure and available worldwide, providing survivors with help they need, anytime, anywhere.
                                     
ONLINE:
www.SafeHelpline.org // www.SafeHelpRoom.org 
CALL: 1-877-995-5247 
TEXT zip code or base name: 55-247  // 202-470-5546 (outside US)

Reporting options:

Reporting Options

The Air Force has instituted avenues for reporting sexual assault in the form of Restricted and Unrestricted Reporting.

Restricted Reporting allows sexual assault victims to confidentially disclose the assault to specified individuals (i.e., SARC, SAPR VA, Chaplains or healthcare personnel), and receive medical treatment, including emergency care, counseling, and assignment of a SARC and SAPR VA, without triggering an investigation. It is intended to give the victim (survivor) time and control over the release of their information. Further, it also empowers the survivor to make an informed decision about participating in the criminal process. Restricted Reporting is available for all Service members and their Dependents over the age of 18.

Unrestricted Reporting is any report of sexual assault made through normal reporting channels (for example: reports to chain of command, security forces, and/or Air Force Office of Investigation). This reporting option triggers an investigation, command notification, and allows a person who has been sexually assaulted to access medical treatment and counseling.

Unrestricted Reporting is available for:

 - All Service members and their Dependents over the age of 18
 - DoD Civilians and their Dependents over the age of 18 (MTF access and/or serving in an OS location)
 - Contractors (if supporting in a contingency location outside the continental United States)


Independent Reporting is an assault reported by someone other than the victim.

Sexual Assault Defined

Sexual Assault is criminal conduct that falls well short of the standards America expects of its men and women in uniform and is a violation of our Air Force Core Values. 

Sexual Assault is defined as intentional sexual contact characterized by use of force, threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent. The term includes a broad category of sexual offenses consisting of the following specific UCMJ offenses: rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, abusive sexual contact, forcible sodomy (forced oral or anal sex), or attempts to commit these offenses. 

Consent is words or overt acts indicating a freely given agreement to the sexual conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression of lack of consent through words or conduct means there is no consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the accused's use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating relationship or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused in the sexual conduct at issue shall not constitute consent. There is no consent where the person is sleeping or incapacitated, such as due to age, alcohol or drugs, or mental incapacity.

Sexual assault victims can contact their local Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) to request a Special Victims Council or can contact information for SVC offices by visiting www.afjag.af.mil




FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I need an appointment or a referral? No. The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone at 413-557-7272 (or after hours at 413-687-3543 to report an assault). If you are aware that a sexual assault may have occurred, contact the SARC immediately to get the necessary assistance and to preserve reporting options. For routine matters, you may call anytime or visit the SARC office during duty hours (weekdays, 0800. to 16030.). You may also call 413-557-7272 to schedule an appointment.

What is restricted and unrestricted reporting?

Restricted reporting is intended to give a victim increased control over the release and management of his or her personal information and to empower the victim to seek relevant information and support to make an informed decision about participating in the investigative and legal processes.

Unrestricted reporting is any report of sexual assault made through normal reporting channels such as a victim's supervisor, first sergeant or commander, law enforcement agencies, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations or any other investigative service.

What happens after I report a sexual assault? Whether a victim comes forward through restricted or unrestricted channels, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator's immediate priority is providing care for the victim. The SARC and victim advocate are trained first responders who can help victims understand the dynamics of sexual assault, put them in touch with other helping agencies and help them through the investigative and legal processes. This may include a medical examination at a local hospital if the victim so chooses.

What information will my chain of command have access to? Your chain of command will not have access to any information if you file a restricted report. However, if you elect to file an unrestricted report, those in your chain of command who have a "need to know" are the only people who will be informed of your case. Members of cadet leadership do not have "need to know" and will not be informed.

What is a victim advocate? Victim advocates are volunteers who provide support, liaison services and victim care. Responsibilities include providing crisis intervention, referral and ongoing non-clinical support, including information on available options and resources to assist victims in making informed decisions about their cases. Victim advocate services continue until the victim states that he or she no longer needs support.

What is the SARC's role? The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator serves as the single point of contact for integrating and coordinating sexual assault victim care for DoD military and civilian Air Force personnel from the initial report through disposition and resolution of issues related to the victim's health and wellbeing. The SARC ensures that victims receive support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

SARCs are available worldwide and have offices in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout Southwest Asia. If you are preparing for a deployment, the SARC can provide you with contact information before you depart. You may contact the SARC at 413-557-7272.

What questions will I be asked when I call or walk in? The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator will ask very general questions to determine how best to assist you. Questions may include general inquiries into a sexual assault incident, whether it occurred on or off base, the date and time that it occurred, how you were involved, whether you are in danger, what steps you have taken so far and how you are doing. The purpose of these questions is to ascertain the nature of the incident, get you the necessary medical and emotional assistance and preserve your reporting options. The questions are not met to embarrass you, and the SARC will take great strides to ensure you are at ease. Most importantly, your communication with the SARC is confidential.

Where is the SARC located? The SARC is located in the same building as Airman and Family Readiness and the USO, building 1100, near the James street gate.  We have our own entrance for anonymity (the door on the left in the parking area).  It is the only “H” shaped building on base.

Who can and cannot make a restricted report? Restricted reporting is available to military personnel and DoD Air Force personnel.  Even if you are not in status at the time of the assault, a Reserve member may make a restricted or unrestricted report.  Services may be limited in some cases. 

Who is a mandatory reporter? Commanders, first sergeants and supervisors (military and civilian) are all mandatory reporters.  This means that they must move information up their chain of command and notify the SARC and the Office of Special Investigation.  This will trigger the unrestricted report.  If they are informed of a sexual assault incident by the victim or someone else (bystander), they must report it. If you have been sexually assaulted, talk to the SARC first to maintain all your reporting options.

Who may receive a restricted report? Only Sexual Assault Response Coordinators or Victim Advocates may receive restricted or unrestricted reports of sexual assault. Healthcare providers are required to maintain confidentiality due to HIPAA requirements and will refer victims or supporters to the SARC.  Seeking out Chaplain services will not result in filing a report but they have 100% confidentiality and will refer you to the SARC.  If a victim elects the restricted reporting option, the SARC and the assigned victim advocate are the only people who will have knowledge that an assault has occurred.

Whom will I meet and talk to when I come in for my appointment? You will first talk with the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. Depending on the circumstances, the SARC may also have you speak with an assigned victim advocate. If you choose, you may also speak with an Office of Special Investigations agent and/or a legal representative to answer questions about the investigative or legal processes.

Will receiving assistance affect my commissioning or pilot-qualified status? Visits to the SARC will not negatively impact your commissioning or pilot-qualified status. Getting help from the SARC as early as possible may help in preventing or reducing the escalation of problems or issues.

Can men be sexually assaulted? Yes, men can be victims of sexual assault. Therefore, all resources for sexual assault are available, regardless of gender.