Army Materiel Command Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Program representative training concluded Friday. Thirty-three students attended the two-week course to become SHARP representatives for their respective commands.

"We must continue to train our workforce to create lasting cultural change, and eradicate sexual harassment and assault," Master Sgt. Andrew Ruffin, AMC Equal Opportunity and SHARP program manager, said.

"This year, AMC has increased our number of victim advocates. Last year we had 80; we now have more than 200 SHARP certified personnel throughout the AMC global footprint," he added. The Army and AMC have placed increased emphasis on eliminating sexual assault and harassment in the workforce.

The training covered topics ranging from victim's rights to facilitating Sexual Assault Review Boards. Instruction was not limited to classroom work. Students also traveled to Crisis Services of North Alabama for a firsthand look at a local abuse shelter. CSNA staff educated participants on the center's role in sexual assaults on Redstone Arsenal. The students toured the confidential location, including exam rooms where victims receive medical treatment, as well as a waiting room filled with toys to occupy children while they wait.

A panel of sexual assault subject matter experts also met with the students during training. The panel consisted of legal experts, a sexual assault response coordinator, a medical expert, and a CID investigator.

AMC chief of staff Maj. Gen. Darrell Williams also addressed the class on the program's importance and the critical nature of the job the advocates have been called on to accomplish. This is the chief of staff of the Army's priority, and AMC's.

Graduating students are able to apply for the Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program. Once certified, these new SHARP representatives will become subject matter experts for their command.

"The people who graduated are victim advocates," Ruffin said. "Their role is to be the champion for the victim."

For assistance from a certified SHARP victim advocate, call the AMC SHARP office at 450-6425, or the 24/7 Redstone Arsenal hotline at 924-0795.

Page last updated Thu December 19th, 2013 at 15:46