The first of its kind joint sexual assault prevention and response location held an open house at the nation’s premier Joint Base on Monday.
For the first time Air Force and Navy Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC) are co-located in the same building at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB).
The open house was held to call attention to Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), which began on April 1 and to showcase the new combined SARC location, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the Department of Defense (DOD), according to Tina Helmick, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program manager for the Air Force 11th Wing.
The combined location in Building 4 on Brookley Avenue is poised to better assist any victim of sexual assault regardless of military or civilian status. The new location provides easier access for personnel to obtain information and assistance related to sexual assault prevention and confidential reporting.
The SARCs were previously located in different locations for the last two years. The new facility will better support victims. “It’s been about a year and a half in the works,” said Helmick.
During that time, planning and funding were put in place for the facility and the information technology infrastructurewas installed and tested.
“It’s come together nicely and I’m very proud of all of the joint efforts that it’s taken to put this together,” Helmick said.
Throughout the move and consolidation there was never a lapse in service. With the infrastructure complete, the SARCs are able to provide better service to victims with an improved atmosphere, greater privacy, and a newly installed kiosk, designed for privacy, to access interactive online help.
“What we have here in this office that we didn’t in the other one is a private kiosk with a computer that connects to the live chat room where victims can talk to other victims in the DOD website,” said Helmick.
In addition to the open house, the SARCs are getting the word out about sexual assault prevention and reporting by several means, including a presentation at JBAB’s monthly Mission Partner meeting and visits to several military commands at JBAB, and briefings to newly arriving personnel at JBAB.
The SARCs’ goal is to reach as wide an audience as possible and letting them know that the SARCs are at JBAB, willing to help anyone.
The SARCs are augmented by trained volunteers. For more information on becoming a volunteer victim advocate or alternate SARC, contact either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re here 24/7 to take care of victims. If someone would like to report a sexual assault, just report to someone, a family member or a friend that you trust, and then definitely follow that up by calling the SARC office as soon as possible, or get to the nearest emergency room,” said Helmick.
For confidential support or to make a confidential report of sexual assault, contact the 24/7 DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247.