<b>- Service eyes stamping out sexual harassment/sexual assault and becoming national leader for prevention and response programs</b>
WASHINGTON - In its ongoing efforts to stamp out sexual harassment and sexual assault, the Army has begun implementation of new initiatives and reorganization of its sexual harassment/sexual assault prevention programs.
Headquarters, Department of the Army has combined the Army's prevention of sexual harassment missions with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, which are now under the Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Prevention and Response (SHAPR) Office. The SHAPR Office will begin distributing "I. A.M. Strong"(Intervene, Act, Motivate) sexual assault prevention information kits to all Army commanders, down to the battalion level, at the end of the month.
The Army's Judge Advocate General Corps will hire seven experts to conduct four new Sexual Assault Advocacy Courses during which trial attorneys will receive training in sexual assault litigation. The JAG Corps also will hire 15 special victim prosecutors to serve the largest jurisdictions in the Army.
Likewise, the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) will hire seven experts to develop and conduct assistance visits and training on sensitive, complex sexual assault cases for the U.S. Army. CID also is requesting more than 30 special civilian investigators to operate special victim units at those installations with higher occurrences of sexual assaults.
"The Army's Criminal Investigation Command will be hiring seven experts in investigating sexual assaults and assigning them at CID Headquarters, the Military Police School, and one for each CID Group Command and at the Criminal Investigation Laboratory," said Col. Eric Belcher with the Army's CID.
These steps build on the actions already taken in Fiscal Year 2008, when the Army initiated a comprehensive prevention campaign and strategy focused on leaders establishing a positive command climate geared towards encouraging Soldiers to intervene, and not tolerate behavior that if left unchecked, could lead to the crime of sexual assault.
"We launched this campaign to rid the Army of this crime and make our sexual assault prevention program a model for the nation," said Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 (Personnel). "This is just one step of many to commit Army resources to this effort and to emphasize that the Army is a values-based culture where sexual harassment and sexual assault have no place."
In September, the Army held a sexual assault prevention summit to introduce senior leaders and their sexual assault program managers to a new campaign to prevent sexual assaults and make the Army's program the national model for prevention. The efforts to increase JAGC and CID resources underscore the Army's commitment to its sexual assault prevention and response program.
"Sexual assault is a crime that is repugnant to the core values that define our Army," said Secretary of the Army Pete Geren. "It is a Soldier's duty to protect his fellow Soldier from harm - on the battlefield, in the barracks, on-post or off."
"We are in the first phase of the prevention campaign - leadership commitment to the new campaign," Geren said. "Education and training will follow. It will ensure that Soldiers understand their moral responsibility to intervene, stop sexual assault and sexual harassment, and protect their comrades," Geren added.
"Our ultimate goal is an Army culture that drives the twin crimes of sexual assault and harassment from our Army. The final phase will grow and sustain the program through engagement and program refinement. Our goal is to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual assault from the Army and to make the Army sexual assault prevention program a model for the rest of the nation," he said.
The intent of the "I. A.M. Strong"(Intervene, Act, Motivate) kits is to provide commanders materials that promote Soldier awareness of the I. A.M. Strong campaign and that promote the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The kits will be distributed down to the battalion level, and will contain a Commander's Guide, Leader's How-To Guide, brochures and touch cards for each Soldier, a DVD, posters, and banners. After the initial distribution of kits is completed, commanders will be able to order replacement kit items through an on-demand replenishment Web site.
Additionally, throughout 2009, Army commands at all levels will be launching their own I. A.M. Strong sexual assault prevention and response programs and undergoing gender relations training at key locations, all aimed at empowering personnel to intervene to stop this crime before it starts.
For more information on the Army's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, visit http://www.preventsexualassault.army.mil.