The Navy announced the establishment of the Navy’s newest Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) initiative, the Victims’ Legal Counsel (VLC) Program, which will provide legal advice and advocacy for eligible victims of sexual assault.
The Victims’ Legal Counsel will help victims understand the investigation and military justice process, advocate their legal rights and interests and, when appropriate, appear in court on their behalf.
“The Navy is committed to protecting the rights and interests of victims of sexual assault and ensuring the administration of a fair, transparent and efficient military justice system that guarantees due process for the accused and promotes good order and discipline,” said Vice Adm. Nanette M. DeRenzi, Judge Advocate General of the Navy. “The Navy’s Victims’ Legal Counsel program complements the Navy’s broader efforts to care for victims of sexual assault by providing them with legal advice and assistance throughout the military justice process.”
Initially, the VLC Program will consist of 29 specially-trained, independent judge advocates assigned regionally to maximize availability of counsel across the Fleet. Navy VLCs will serve every geographic region, including the United States, Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East. The program’s attorneys will not be in the victim’s or the accused’s chain of command and will not be involved in case prosecution or defense.
“Through increased training and bystander intervention we are confronting sexual assault fleet wide, while ensuring that we provide needed care and support to victims,” said Rear Adm. Sean Buck, Director, 21st Century Sailor Office (N17). “This program further adds to that support.”
For more information and resources to combat sexual assault visit www.sapr.navy.mil. Sexual assault affects Navy readiness, and the Navy is committed to preventing sexual assault. Join the Navy’s conversation about sexual assault on social media and help raise awareness by using #NavySAPR.