By Staff Sgt. Wallace Bonner
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Contacting Sexual Harassment/Assault Response & Prevention Victim Advocates has never been easier, with the national and Fort Carson SHARP 24/7 hotlines now posted on the front page of the Fort Carson website, http://www.carson.army.mil.
The Fort Carson 24/7 SHARP number is 338-9654; the national Department of Defense 24/7 Safe Helpline number is 877-995-5247.
The change was made to comply with an All Army Activities message published Dec. 13, and was instituted by the Army to resolve an issue with incorrect phone numbers and either no response or a delayed response to phone calls on certain installations. The Army also instituted a standard voice mail script.
“It makes it easier to find the numbers to get help, or just to get information,” said Sgt. 1st Class Marlena Crowder, lead SHARP sexual assault response coordinator, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson
Previously, Soldiers seeking the hotline numbers on the Fort Carson website would have had to click on the SHARP banner, which would direct them to the SHARP website where the numbers were listed.
The Army conducted five tests on SHARP hotlines since December 2012 to determine the issues that promoted these changes, but Crowder said that Fort Carson hasn’t had any problems up to this point.
“The feedback we got on the Fort Carson SHARP hotline was that the phones are always answered; there hasn’t been a call that’s gone to voice mail yet,” said Crowder. “They asked us not to respond to a call, so they could test our voice mail, and then requested we update our script, which we did.”
She said that the hotline duty is currently on a 30-day rotation among the different brigades and tenant units on post, with the units determining which of their SHARP VAs have duty on any specific day. All responders are required to have completed the 80-hour SHARP training and be credentialed by the Army Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program.
The hotline numbers are also provided to Soldiers through a variety of other mediums. Soldiers receive a SHARP reference card with the national helpline during reception, and the cards are provided throughout the units, down to company level. Banners and posters with the national hotline number are also posted on company SHARP boards, and pamphlets are also available.
SHARP VAs can assist any DOD identification card holder over the age of 18, and will refer victims under the age of 18 to the Army Community Service Victim Advocacy Program.
Victims are encouraged to reach out to the Fort Carson SHARP VAs.
“The SHARP SARCs/VAs we have on Fort Carson are really dedicated to the program and to helping Soldiers and Families through these tough situations,” said Crowder. “We are very lucky to have these Soldiers in the program.”