Post continues to improve SHARP program, awareness
April 4, 2014
The Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention program has come far in the last few years, but continues to make strides toward a healthier and safer Army.
Fort Rucker is determined to eliminate sexual harassment and assault on the installation, and Fort Rucker leadership takes the topic very seriously -- enforcing a zero-tolerance policy, said Sgt. 1st Class Lance Osborne, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker SHARP program manager.
"The Sexual Assault Review Board was restructured, and Major General Kevin Mangum, former U.S. Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker commanding general, began to chair them. Now, all brigade-level commanders are required to attend and are expected to be fully engaged in case discussion or any other SHARP topic that involves their command instead of their sexual assault response coordinator," he said.
Brig. Gen. Michael D. Lundy, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general, made signing the new SHARP Policy Letter one of his first items of business after taking command March 20.
"The CG is kind of the face of Fort Rucker. With so much emphasis on SHARP these days, it only makes sense to put the CG up front in leading the fight," said Osborne. "The policy letter with his signature sends a message that even though he has just stepped into his role as the USAACE commander he has (made it a priority.)"
The SARB also became useful for discussing best practices, training requirements and correct procedures to follow, allowing for more standardization across the board and more organizations to take part, said Osborne.
"We created one installation SHARP hotline manned by trained victim advocates, creating a major resource that could be used by all organizations," said the program manager. "Since April, the number of victim advocates on this installation has nearly tripled."
Training has also increased in the last year.
"The requirement is three hours a year, which (Fort Rucker) exceeds," said Osborne. ?"In addition, we bring in subject-matter experts quarterly to provide training to different audiences. We have also started conducting victim advocates training quarterly.
"In the past, continuing education for victim advocates after the initial course rarely happened," he continued. "After I took this position and began to meet with different victim advocates, it became apparent that many did not feel comfortable working with a victim because it had been so long since they had been through the training."
Osborne said that the position of program manager has been key to creating a SHARP program that is truly an installation program.
"Before, brigades and other organizations were basically managing separate programs. For many small tenant organizations, a SHARP program was practically non-existent," he said. "Now that an installation program manager exists … I am able make the changes and get different organizations to come together and share resources, eliminating confusion of who to report to."
Osborne also became the one that was able to activate a response, meet with the different agencies to consolidate data and keep the processes flowing.
"I am able to spot check at any time what is going on with a particular case. If there is a SHARP related issue or question, whether it has to do with a case, training, reference, protocol (or anything else), they know to contact my office for the answer," he added.
There will be commitment pledge posters around the installation this month in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month for Soldiers and DOD civilians to sign, declaring their commitment to help eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault by intervening, acting and remaining motivated to do so.