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Air Force: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response


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Title: Air Force: Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response
Defense Task Force Sexual Assault in the
Military Services
  • Charlene M. Bradley
  • Assistant Deputy for Force Management Integration

  • BackgroundWhere we were
  • Assessment and Findings
  • Complexities of Sexual Assault
  • Campaign Plan
  • Policy Leadership
  • Improved Response
  • Awareness/Training/Education
  • Improving Reporting
  • Addressing the deployed environment
  • Prevention Efforts

  • Investigating Prosecuting the Crime
  • Special Agent Kevin Poorman, Chief, Criminal
    Investigations Division, HQs OSI
  • Mr Jim Russell, Associate Chief of the Military
    Justice Division, Air Force Legal Operations
  • Providing Medical and Mental Health Care
  • Maj Dave Linkh, Chief of Family Advocacy Policy
    Research at the Behavioral Health Division
    (Surgeon General)
  • Providing Spiritual Support
  • CH (Lt Col) Gerry McManus, Plans Programs,
    Office of the Chief of Chaplains

  • Where We Were . . .

  • 2003 - USAFA sexual assault allegations
  • Agenda for Change and Fowler Report
  • PACAF Review
  • AF IPT Assessment
  • 2004 DoD Task Force on Care for Victims of
    Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault Tasking
  • Objective assess AF sexual assault prevention
    and response capabilities provide
    recommendations for improvement
  • MAJCOMs conducted self-assessment based on Vice
    Chief 24 Feb 04 memo 5 focus areas
  • Education and Training
  • Reporting
  • Response Programs
  • HAF formed IPT to
  • Synthesize MAJCOM self-assessments
  • Conduct corporate and university benchmarking
  • Contribute to and review OSD draft Sexual Assault
  • Engage Sexual Assault subject-matter experts
    (external to AF)
  • Conduct review of HAF-level policies
  • Capture findings and develop recommendations
  • Program Oversight
  • Recommendations

The Process
Data Collection
Integration and Assessment
MAJCOMs 9 MAJCOMs and USAFA, ANG, 11th Wing 85
installations surveyed or visited 100,000
personnel contacted via survey, interviews,
focus groups, and feedback sessions Response
from overseas bases, including Iraq and
Finding and Recommendations
Air Staff Review and integrate MAJCOM
findings Corporate Benchmarking University
Benchmarking Experts OSD Report
Air Staff MAJCOMS Findings Recommendations COR
ONA Briefing CORONA Direction Final Report
Campaign Plan
2-Day Off-Site (21-22 April 2004) MAJCOM
reps, Air Staff IPT and Experts assess data
Air Staff IPT stands up review of current policy
and issues
AF Report
  • Findings and recommendations focused on six topic
  • Sexual Assault Realities
  • Policy and Leadership
  • Education and Training
  • Reporting
  • Response
  • AEF/Deployment

Major Findings
Major Findings
  • Policy No cogent AF-wide sexual assault policy
  • No single office designated to develop,
    promulgate maintain policy
  • Key sexual assault terms/concepts require
  • e.g. sexual assault v sexual harassment liaison
    v advocate confidentiality, privacy, and
  • Lack compelling message policy key to message
  • Commanders unaware of prevalence of sexual
    assault problem
  • Sexual assaults underreported mask issue
  • Commanders deal with sexual assaults on
    case-by-case basis not as cultural issue
  • Databases inadequate for trend analysis/oversight

Major Findings
Major Findings
  • Education, training and prevention primarily
    focused on sexual harassment in the workplace
    not sexual assault
  • No clear sexual assault policy / message
    reflected in current training sexual assault
    education sporadic
  • Functional managers focus on assault response
    not prevention
  • Need creative, targeted training programs to
    shift cultural thinking todays power point
    methodology not effective
  • Confidentiality victims lack of privacy most
    frequently quoted barrier to reporting sexual
  • How many AF sexual assaults go unreported?
  • Key Issue balancing CCs responsibility for
    maintaining good order/ discipline with victim
  • Lack of confidentiality enables other reporting
    barriers (e.g. stigma, shame, fear,

Major Findings
Major Findings
  • Response Current sexual assault response
    programs emphasize investigative / judicial
  • Imbalance between investigative/judicial needs
    and sustained victim support/care
  • Issues w/timelines of lab processing and
  • VWAP program execution inconsistent
  • Confusion between VWAP victim liaison and
    victim advocate
  • Victim care inadequate
  • No AF policy that fully integrates response to
  • No requirement for victim support program until
    Apr 04
  • Limited continuity of care after judicial process
    and post-PCS
  • Need to improve partnerships with community
    helping agencies

Major Findings
  • AEF/remote environment creates unique
    challenges for sexual assault prevention and
  • Loss of unit integrity impacts continuity of
  • Non-AF command structure may inhibit reporting
  • Close living environment
  • Investigation, medical and lab processing issues

Key Points
  • Sexual assault issue more complex than it
    initially seemed
  • Sexual assault is a societal problem so will
    require a positive, ongoing effort to instill and
    foster the culture of professional Airmen
  • Commanders key to success
  • Currently working issue, but will need help
  • Seeing understanding the problem are challenges

  • Complexities of Sexual Assault

College Women
  • Between 20 and 25 of college age women will be
    victims of rape or attempted rape during their
    college career
  • Bonnie S. Fisher, Francis T. Cullen Michael G.
    Turner, The Sexual Victimization of College
    Women, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of
    Justice Statistics 10 (Dec. 2000)
  • In an earlier nationwide study of college
    students, 1 in 4 college-age women were victims
    of rape or attempted rape
  • Robin Warshaw, I Never Called It Rape 11 (1988)

Female Victims
  • 1 in 8 women (13) will be the victim of forcible
    rape in her lifetime. This is based on U.S.
    Census estimates of the number of women in
    America at the time the above study was done
  • Rape in America, National Victim Center Crime
    Victims Research Center and Treatment Center 2
  • 1 in 6 women (17.6) will be the victim of a rape
    or an attempted rape during her lifetime
  • Patricia Tjaden Nancy Thoennes, Full Report of
    the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of
    Violence Against Women Findings From the
    National Violence Against Women Survey, National
    Institute of Justice Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention, Office of Justice
    Programs, U.S. Department of Justice 13 (Nov.
  • In Colorado, 1 in 4 women (24) will experience a
    completed or attempted sexual assault 1 during
    her lifetime, according to a statewide survey
  • Sexual Assault in Colorado Results of a
    Statewide Survey, Colorado Department of Public
    Health and Environment Colorado Coalition
    Against Sexual Assault 2 (July, 1999).
  • 1 Defined as non-consensual penetration

Male Victims
  • Much more difficult to get accurate information
  • 1 in 33 men (3) will be the victim of a
    completed or attempted rape during his lifetime
  • Patricia Tjaden Nancy Thoennes, Full Report of
    the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of
    Violence Against Women Findings From the
    National Violence Against Women Survey, National
    Institute of Justice Centers for Disease
    Control and Prevention, Office of Justice
    Programs, U.S. Department of Justice 13 (Nov.
  • In Colorado, 1 in 17 men (6) will experience a
    completed or attempted sexual assault 1 during
    his lifetime, according to a statewide survey
  • Sexual Assault in Colorado Results of a
    Statewide Survey, Colorado Department of Public
    Health and Environment Colorado Coalition
    Against Sexual Assault 2 (July, 1999).
  • 1 Defined as non-consensual penetration

Tragedy of Youth Victims Age
  • According to the National Womens Study, females
    were forcibly raped at the following ages
  • 29.3 were under 11 years old
  • 32.3 were between the ages of 11-17
  • 22.2 were between the ages of 18-24
  • 7.1 were between the ages of 25-29
  • 6.1 were older than 29 and
  • 3.0 age not specified
  • Rape in America, National Victim Center Crime
    Victims Research Center and Treatment Center 3

Relationship Between Perpetrator Victim
  • According to the National Womens Study, only 22
    of rape victims were raped by strangers
  • The nonstranger perpetrators were 1
  • Husbands/ex-husbands 9
  • Fathers/stepfathers 11
  • Boyfriends/ex-boyfriends 10
  • Other relatives 16
  • Other non-relatives 29
  • Rape in America, National Victim Center Crime
    Victims Research Center and Treatment Center 4
  • 1 3 of the rape victims did not define the

  • The Undetected Rapist

Sex Offenders - Who Are They? As Reported by Dr.
David Lisak
  • Reality
  • Knows Victims
  • Calculated Force
  • All Races/Ethnicities
  • Consensual Sex
  • Seldom Incarcerated
  • Serial Offender
  • Alcohol as Weapon
  • Reality
  • Stranger to Victim
  • Usually Single Act
  • Blitz Attack
  • Brutal Injuries
  • Incarceration
  • Myth
  • Nice Guy Image
  • Unpremeditated
  • Wont Happen Again
  • Drank Too Much
  • Miscommunication

The Perpetrators
  • In studies of unreported rape and undetected
    rapists, between 6 and 14.9 of men report that
    they committed acts that meet the legal
    definition of rape or attempted rape
  • David Lisak Paul Miller, Repeat Rape and
    Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists, 17
    Violence and Victims 73 (2002)
  • 120 undetected rapists admitted to committing 483
    rapes or attempted rapes, as well as 742 other
    acts of interpersonal violence
  • David Lisak Paul Miller, Repeat Rape and
    Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists, 17
    Violence and Victims 79 (2002)
  • Of these 120 undetected rapists, 76 (or 63.3)
    admitted to committing multiple rapes. These 76
    rapists committed 439 rapes, as well as 786 other
    acts of interpersonal violence
  • David Lisak Paul Miller, Repeat Rape and
    Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists, 17
    Violence and Victims 79 (2002)
  • 126 incarcerated rapists admitted to committing
    907 rapes
  • Gene G. Abel, et. al, Self-Reported Sex Crimes of
    Nonincarcerated Paraphiliacs, 2 Journal of
    Interpersonal Violence 19 (1987)

Study of 1,882 College-Age Men by Dr. David Lisak
Serial Rapists
76 men439 rapes attempted rapes
Single ActRapists
44 men44 rapes attemptedrapes
Violence Committed by Serial Rapists
The 76 Serial Rapists Committed
49 sexual assaults439 rapes attempted rapes66
acts physical abuse of children277 acts sexual
abuse of children214 acts of battery Total
1,045 offenses

Cultural Aspects of Rape As Reported by Dr. David
  • Characteristics of Core Sex Offenders
  • See intimate violence as normal
  • Have deficits in empathy
  • Believe in rape myths
  • Hyper-masculine attitudes
  • Angry at women need to dominate
  • Facilitators perpetuate an environment that
    allows core sex offenders to assault
  • Reinforce negative behavior
  • Bystanders have knowledge of incidents
    dangerous environments, but fail to act
  • Core Sex Offenders cant be rehabilitated by
    education or other forms of outreach they must
    be isolated from their peers and the community

Core Sex Offenders
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Sleep Disturbance
Suicidal Thoughts
Impaired Trust
Impact of Non-Stranger Rape
  • Non-stranger rape victims suffer neurobiological
    as well as psychological consequences
  • Non-stranger rape victims suffer the same
    spectrum of symptoms as stranger rape victims

Military Victims
  • Higher than expected rates of prior victimization
  • Prior victimization higher risk for mental
    health physical problems, drug/alcohol use,
  • Prior victimization higher risk for future
  • Predators prey on vulnerability

Military Sexual Trauma
  • Victims usually know perpetrators
  • Victims are usually young
  • Military is like a family
  • Military culture places premium on strength,
    self-sufficiency loyalty
  • Victims have restricted freedom of movement
  • Re-exposure revictimization more likely

  • Society Scholars/Olympians/Heroes
  • Military Scholars/Olympians/Heroes

  • Campaign Plan

SAPR Program
Integrity Self Respect I am a professional I act
with integrity socially and professionally My
word is my bond
5 Major Air Force Areas
Policy/Leadership OPR Identification Core values
Education/Training Multi-tiered Training
Strategy First Responder Training
Improved Response SARCs and VAs
Service Respect for the Institution I go the
extra distance This is a higher calling I follow
my leader and protect my wingman
Improved Reporting Maximizing Reporting Rates
AEF Challenge Oversight Accountability Training
Joint Approaches
Excellence Mutual Respect People depend on and
trust me My contributions are valued I recognize
the worth of my fellow Airmen
  • Policy and Leadership

Improving Policy Leadership
OPRs at Air Staff, MAJCOM Wing
Air Force OPR to oversee development and
promulgation of sexual assault policy
Air Staff OPR to oversee policy implementation
and support policy development
MAJCOM OPR to oversee implementation of sexual
assault policy
Base OPR to oversee implementation of sexual
assault policy
Commander Vice Wing Cmdr
Commanders Role
  • The legal and moral responsibilities of
    commanders exceed those of any other leader of
    similar position or authority
  • Nowhere else does a boss have to answer for how
    subordinates live and what they do after work
  • Commanders have the authority to set policy and
    punish misconduct

  • It is sometimes frustrating to try and explain to
    someone military or civilianwhat this being a
    commander thing is all about simply because they
    cannot possibly understand the depth, complexity,
    and hours involved. Nor could you. I am a
    teacher, counselor, rescuer, parent, mentor,
    confessor, judge and jury, executioner,
    cheerleader, coach, nudger, butt-kicker, hugger,
    social worker, lawyer, shrink, doctor, analyst,
    budgeteer, allowance giver, career planner,
    assignment getter, inspector, critiquer,
    scheduler, planner, shopper, social eventer,
    party thrower, and absolutely as often as
    possible sacrificial lamb. I am my squadrons
    commander, and will only do this job one way
    while Im in it . . . whatever it takes to serve
  • Lt Col Eileen Isola Commander, 463d Operations
    Support Squadron

  • Improved Response

Improved ResponseSARCs and VAs
Wing CV
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) Facilit
ates All Aspects of Prevention and Response and
Ensures hand-off at PCS
Oversight of all Prevention Activities
Oversight over Victim Advocates
JA/VWAP Liaisons Execute VWAP program from
investigation thru legal action for UCMJ cases
Education Training POC
Communications Strategy
Victim Advocates (VA) Respond to victim needs
ensure continuity of care close functional seams
CAIB/IDS Interface
Liaison to Community Service Providers
Impacts Victims Who Have Reported
Impacts potential victims, perpetrators,
facilitators, bystanders, and leadership
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)New
  • Full-Time SARC _at_ Installations with 1,000
  • 2 at large training installations
  • GS-101-12 (Social Science Series)
  • 32 Military Officer SARCs (Deployed capability)
  • Administrative Assistants at some bases
  • Reserves 15 civilian positions (Social Worker
  • Reports directly to the Vice Wing Commander
  • Responsibilities 3 Main Duties
  • Prevention and risk reduction education
  • Response Victim care 24/7 and case management
  • Supervision of Victim Advocates
  • Selects, trains, and supervises victim advocates

Victim Advocates
  • Assigned by SARC to a particular victim
  • Not assigned to victim in own unit
  • Provides support, liaison support and care for
  • Active duty military and DoD civilian employee
  • Certain individuals cannot volunteer because of
    potential conflict of interest
  • Examples Commanders, First Sergeants, OSI, SF,
    SJA, Chaplain, MEO
  • Will NOT provide any form of clinical counseling
    or legal, investigative, or other guidance that
    should be provided by a certified professional in
    these specific areas of expertise
  • Attends case management meetings

  • Awareness/Training/Education

Sexual Assault Awareness Education Efforts
  • SARC and Victim Advocate courses
  • 40-hour mandatory SARC course taught at Air
  • 40-hour mandatory Victim Advocate course taught
    by SARCs
  • Annual week long SARC conference
  • Periodic refresher education for Victim Advocates
  • Initial sexual assault awareness education
  • Air Force Targeting Sexual Assault video, with
    facilitated discussion
  • Over 14,500 presentations to more than 540,000 AF
    participants worldwide
  • (Began Aug 2005)

Sexual Assault Training and Education Synopsis
Sexual Assault Awareness Education Efforts
  • First Responder training
  • Security Forces (law enforcement)
  • OSI (investigators)
  • healthcare personnel
  • JA (legal)
  • Chaplains
  • Mandatory annual sexual assault awareness

  • Improving Reporting

Barriers to Reporting
  • What we Learned..
  • Stigma, shame, or fear
  • Lack of victim credibility if offender highly
  • Fear of being reduced in eyes of commander and
    other unit members
  • My commander thinks I am a super-troop if I
    am a victim, hell never see me that way again
  • Warrior mentality should be able to handle this
    and not complain
  • Men thought they would be considered homosexual
    if they reported

Barriers to Reporting
  • Concern of re-victimization reliving the
    incidentmultiple times
  • Operational Impacts
  • Training Will I be allowed to complete
  • AOR fear of being held in-country OR of being
    sent home
  • Security Clearance Perception that report will
    impact access or level

Privacy Concerns
  • Victim Emotional Needs Post Assault
  • Limit vulnerability
  • Limit exposure
  • Control over who knows about assault
  • Victim Needs Post Assault
  • Avoid stigma of rape victim label
  • Medical attention
  • Law Enforcement assistance in some cases
  • Interests with an Impact on Privacy
  • Complete medical history
  • Full investigation
  • Discovery requirements
  • Commanders need to know

Commanders Concerns
  • Commanders need to be able to command
  • Need accurate information ASAP
  • Commander held responsible regardless of what
    he/she knows
  • Mission Decisions PRP Status Deployments
    Capacity to perform duties without harming self
    or others Authority to bear arms
  • Accountability for victim offender
  • Suicide

How to Enhance Reporting?
  • Intense debate over appropriateness of

Victims needs vs commanders need to know
  • Focus on AF Reporting Policies and Procedures
  • Maximize privacy
  • Improve victim care
  • Investigation / Prosecution

Victims who officially report
Provide info to Command
IL (Invisibility Line)
All Sexual Assault Victims
Victims who do not report
  • DoD concluded confidential reporting option
  • Provide additional time and increased control
    over the release and management of the victims
    personal information
  • Empower the victim to seek relevant information
    and support
  • Leading to informed decision about participating
    in the criminal process

Simple Bottom Line Believed it would result in
more unrestricted reports and provide more
victims with supports that
  • Two reporting options
  • Restricted
  • Unrestricted
  • Preference is for unrestricted reporting of

Restricted Reporting
  • Process used by certain individuals to report or
    disclose that they are the victim of a sexual
    assault to specified individuals on a requested
    confidential basis

Who may make a restricted report?
Service members who are the victim of a sexual
  • Servicemembers are
  • Air Force members on active duty
  • Members of AF Reserve if performing federal duty
    (active duty training or inactive duty training)
  • Members of the National Guard in Federal service
    (Title 10 status) or performing full-time
    National Guard duty under Title 32
  • Members of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps when
    in comparable status
  • Coast Guard when attached to the Department of

To Whom?
  • SARC
  • VA
  • Healthcare provider (who notifies SARC)
  • Others with a valid privilege (like chaplains)
    may receive reports but they are not restricted
    reports unless forwarded to above
  • If VA is contacted first
  • VA contacts SARC
  • Doesnt discuss covered communications until
    appointed by SARC

What is Covered?
  • Covered Communication is
  • Any communication (oral, written, electronic)
    that is personal information relating to the
    victimization made to a SARC, victim advocate
    (VA), or health care provider
  • Other offenses are covered
  • Once a restricted report is made, recipient is
    prohibited from disclosing covered communications
    to anyone not authorized to received them
  • When is disclosure authorized?
  • Victim releases
  • Communication reveals serious and imminent threat
  • SARC, VA, HCP for services
  • Disability Retirement Boards
  • Ordered by military judge or civilian court
  • Required by Federal or state statute (child abuse

  • SARC makes the call
  • Consult with MAJCOM SARC
  • Consult with SJA using hypothetical
  • Wing CV decides if disagreement or uncertainty
  • Disclose only whats necessary to satisfy the
    purpose of the disclosure
  • Unauthorized disclosure basis for disciplinary

Notification to Command
  • Command is notified of environmental
    information about the restrict report
  • Command use of information
  • Not initiate investigations or use in a manner
    that is likely to identify parties
  • Enhance preventive measures
  • Enhance the education and training of their
  • Scrutinize organizations climate and culture for
    contributing factors

Restricted Reporting
  • Acknowledges on DD Form 2910 understanding of the
    limits on restricted reporting and the reasons
    that unrestricted reporting is preferred by DOD
  • Consideration
  • If cant determine if a report is intended to be
    restricted, treat it as such until SARC can
    contact victim and find out
  • SARC notifies AFOSI if no election to make a
    restricted report or is otherwise not eligible
    for a restricted report
  • Caveat SARC consults with Healthcare Personnel
    about the victims capacity for making the
    decision could be basis to delay notification
  • Caveat SJA should also be consulted if SARC has
    concerns or discovers that fear of an alleged
    offender's retaliation or reprisal may be
    influencing the decision of the victim

Evidence Collection
  • SARCs and VAs have no responsibility to collect /
    will not collect or receive evidence of a sexual
    assault from a victim
  • Collection of medical forensic evidence can occur
    without giving up confidentiality
  • SAFE kit to be anonymously coded and not
    processed until victim gives consent
  • To be kept by OSI
  • To be kept for 1 year

Unrestricted Report
  • SA report made through normal reporting channels
  • Chain of command
  • Law enforcement
  • Report made to SARC or healthcare provider where
    the individual does not elect restricted
  • SARC notified and VA assigned

Independent Report
  • SA disclosed to command or LE from source
    independent of restricted reporting avenues
  • An official investigation may be initiated
  • When SARC or VA learn of independent report,
    consult with AFOSI and notify victim
  • Covered communications not released unless the
    victim authorizes the disclosure or another
    exception applies

State Issues
  • SARC works with SJA to determine exactly what the
    state law is and what it requires
  • What they think aint necessarily so
  • Coordinates with local law enforcement, the DA,
    hospital counsel and any other local players as
    to how that law is locally implemented
  • Attempts to arrange accommodation allowing
    restricted reporting
  • Ensures victim has information necessary to make
    an informed decision
  • Reference Rape Reporting Requirements for
    Non-vulnerable Adults, APRI

  • Addressing Deployment Issues

AEF Slide
  • Predeployment training
  • What goes TDY comes home with you!
  • AF Core Values apply anywhere in the world
  • You have a responsibility to your Wingmen
  • Receive cultural/area information
  • Business card/chap stick, etc
  • Right Start at deployed location
  • Situational awareness (i.e. Shared facilities)
  • Where to report, etc
  • Right Finish when leaving deployed location

Designation of SARCs and VAs in the AEF
AFPC Readiness Center and AEF Center Identifies
Mil Coordinators and Personnel With VA Training
AEF Rotations Identified Coordinators and
Personnel with VA training identified to
Deployed CCs
AEF Deployed Deployed Commanders have
Coordinators and VAs to support deployed
Victim Advocate Pool Volunteers trained as VAs at
each AF base/installation
  • Prevention Efforts

Bystander Intervention Modules
  • Focus is on Airmen who can actually stop assault
    from occurring
  • Identify likely circumstances / situation
  • Develop self-sufficiency / confidence to engage
  • Learn specific skills to safely intervene
  • Bystander Intervention modules being developed to
    meet these goals
  • Facilitated training
  • Expect delivery NLT Spring 09