Victim Advocate Training
Leslie Watts, Fort Sill Garrison sexual assault response coordinator, addresses Soldiers during a Victim Advocate Training session here, May 21.

FORT SILL, Okla.-- With more than 3,000 sexual assaults reported in 2012, Fort Sill is doing its part to help protect Soldiers and also help guide victims through the process following a reported sexual assault.

The Fires Center of Excellence held classes to train a select group of noncommissioned officers, officers and civilians to become sexual assault response coordinators or representatives.

This team will be the first responders in the event of a sexual assault and are trained to show compassion and understanding to a victim. At the same time they will help victims get the medical care, social services and support they need to get through this difficult process.

"We hope these students gain awareness of the dynamics of how harassment and assault affects Soldiers, families and units on all levels," said Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Miles, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program manager. "We also hope that they can see how you can, if you're not careful, re-victimize the person by asking the same things over and over when you really don't need to."

The certification course is designed to go above and beyond the 80-hour SHARP course that all victim advocates and response coordinators must take.

"We want to drive home and drill down how we handle things here at Fort Sill," said Leslie Watts, Fort Sill Garrison SARC. "We want to show them how advocacy is handled here, who the points of contact are and make the system more user friendly for them than it would be with just book smarts."

Watts added that this program will make victim advocates more proficient at their job and will help them provide the best care possible to victims.

"It's going to really help the victims because the advocates that go through this course have received more information on Fort Sill and our operations and resources, said Watts. "Because of this course, we will have better victim advocates who can give the best service to the victims that they can possibly receive."

"The Fort Sill Fires of Excellence SHARP Team works together on and off post within the Lawton community raising awareness and prevention of sexual assault. Getting everyone involved will let possible perpetrators know that this community will not put up with this kind of behavior," said Miles.

Page last updated Thu June 20th, 2013 at 12:18