Secretary of the Air Force
WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force released a policy memo allowing Air Force civilian employees who are victims of sexual assault to file restricted and unrestricted reports with their installation’s sexual assault response coordinator.
The policy is effective immediately and allows SARCs and sexual assault prevention and response victim advocates to assist Air Force civilians who report sexual assaults by providing crisis intervention and advocacy services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Our civilian Airmen are valuable members of our team, and we’re going to support them,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “While this is a huge win for the Air Force and our civilian force, we will continue to work at all levels to prevent sexual assault.”
The Department of Defense recently signed an exception to policy, granting the Air Force the authority to extend SAPR services. Air Force civilian employees will now receive the same services as those already eligible to use SARC services, with the exception of legal and non-emergency medical services, which are restricted by law. Prior to this exception, only civilian employees at overseas locations and their dependents 18 years old or older were eligible to use SARC services, and they could only file unrestricted reports.
SARCs and SAPR victim advocates will assist in contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency for Air Force civilians who file unrestricted reports to ensure reports are properly investigated and prosecuted. They will also be able to help civilians identify and contact additional off-base support organizations as needed.
“Our SARCs and victim advocates provide invaluable support and assistance to our uniformed Airmen who have suffered from this horrible crime,” said Maj. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force SAPR director. “We knew we could do more to help our civilian Airmen, so we sought an exception to policy to allow the Air Force to extend the same care and support to civilian victims as we do to our military Airmen and their families.”
This most recent policy update is a big step in the right direction for the SAPR mission here.
“As part of our continuing efforts improve our sexual assault response system, we are grateful for this expanded opportunity to support our civilian team mates with crisis intervention and advocacy services,” said Paula Krause, Schriever Sexual Assault Coordinator. “Creating an Air Force free from sexual assault is our first goal, but until we achieve that goal, we will work diligently to care for all victims and assist them in their transition to becoming survivors.”