Clarifying Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Reporting Structures for NPS, NSAM Personnel
A member of Naval Air Station Lemoore's Dental and Medical Detachments, Unit Victim Advocate HMC Arnel Carbonell, center, programs his sexual assault help-line dedicated cellular phone with the assistance of Navy Region Southwest Regional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Tonya McKennie, left, and NPS, NSAM Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Steven Mendoza, right. There are 15 such Unit Victim Advocates at NPS ready to respond to those in need of help.
McKennie is in charge of 10 installations, 18 Navy Operation Support Centers, within the four West Coast Navy Recruiting Districts.
According to the Department of Defense Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military released May 1, the document shows there is considerable progress to address sexual assault in the military. Instances of assault for active duty Service members decreased while the proportion of service members choosing to report a sexual assault has increased.
But what are the reporting options for Service members? Is it different for civilians? Are active duty dependents treated differently, and what about age requirements? And what's the difference between Restricted and Unrestricted Reporting?
First, there are full and limited SAPR services available for NPS, NSAM personnel. Military victims, regardless of when and where the sexual assault occurred are eligible to report with full confidentiality. Dependent victims, who are 18 years or older when the perpetrator is not an intimate partner or spouse are also eligible.
Full services are also available to Reserve component and National Guard who are sexually assaulted while performing active service, inactive duty training, and incidents that occurred prior to or while not performing active service or inactive training to include their legal family members.
However, there are limitations for SAPR services that go toward helping civilians. These are DOD civilian employees and their family dependents 18 or older when stationed outside the continental U.S. (OCONUS), U.S. citizen DOD contractor personnel in a contingency operation OCONUS and U.S. citizen (non-dependent) victims or Foreign National Victims involving a military subject.
Here at NPS, DOD civilians can call Steven Mendoza with questions dealing with sexual assault or sexual harassment. There are instances in which referrals can be made with counseling professionals in the community.
The Unrestricted Reporting option allows sexual assault victims to disclose, without confidentiality or Restricted Reporting, that he or she is a victim of sexual assault. Under these circumstances, the victim's report provided to healthcare personnel, the SARC, SAPR Victim Advocate (VA), command authorities, or other persons is reported to law enforcement and may be used to initiate the official investigative process. Victims who report under this option can receive medical treatment, forensic examination, counseling, Victim's Legal Counsel (VLC), and other requested referrals. However, the victim cannot reverse the Unrestricted Reporting of their assault to Restricted Reporting once they have chosen unrestricted.
The Restricted Reporting option allows sexual assault victims to confidentially disclose the assault to specified individuals, i.e., SARC, SAPR VA, or health care personnel, and receive medical treatment, including emergency care, counseling, and assignment of a SARC and SAPR VA, without triggering an official investigation. Additionally, victims are afforded the opportunity to receive a forensic examination and consult with a (VLC), and other applicable resources. The victim can choose to change their Restricted Reporting status to Unrestricted at any time.
Victims should know that the actions the SARC will take are to notify NPS officials and the Installation Commanding Officer that an assault occurred. However, no personal identifying information about the victim is disclosed in either reporting option. Note that Chaplains and Legal Assistance Attorneys cannot receive a restricted report, but have privilege and can preserve the restricted reporting option.
As the SAPR credo declares and Mendoza reiterates; "Protecting Our People Protects Our Mission," and it will be the only way to have an effective campaign against sexual assault and harassment. The Duty SAPR VA telephone number is (831) 760-2329, the installation SARC telephone number is (831) 760-0020, and the next closest installation SARC is at Naval Air Station Lemoore, (559) 381-8649.
For more information on Restricted and Unrestricted Reporting options, visit https://safehelpline.org/reporting-options.cfm.
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