By ANIESA HOLMESJuly 25, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (July 24, 2013) -- To maintain the respect and privacy of sexual assault victims, the Department of Defense offers two reporting options to victims to receive proper medical treatment with confidentiality.
Under DOD's Confidentiality Policy, restricted reporting or unrestricted reporting is available with specific guidelines for eligibility.
Capt. Mary Ladiero, victim advocate for Maneuver Center of Excellence, said the restricted and unrestricted options allow victims to decide whether Criminal Investigation Command, or CID, will be involved in the reporting process.
"They will get any medical attention they need and they will receive any counseling services if they choose," Ladiero said. "The biggest difference is whether or not CID will be notified."
Restricted reporting allows Soldiers and family members 18 or older to disclose the details of sexual assault to specifically identified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling without an official investigation.
Only Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP, representatives, including sexual assault response coordinators, victim advocates or health personnel are authorized to offer restricted or unrestricted reporting options, Ladiero said.
"If a victim goes to a chaplain, it is always confidential no matter what the situation is," she said. "We just want to make sure the victim is in a safe place if he or she has recently been assaulted and is getting help."
Unrestricted reporting allows victims who desire medical treatment, counseling and an official investigation of the allegation to use current reporting channels, such as chain of command or law enforcement to report the incident to a SHARP specialist. Details of the incident are limited to personnel with a legitimate need to know. Ladiero said a report is submitted to the commanding general without revealing the victim's identity.
"If the victim goes to his or her chain of command, it is automatically unrestricted and that leader is obligated to call CID," she said. "If a victim chooses restricted reporting, he or she can later change his or her mind."
For sexual harassment incidents, Ladiero said on-duty DOD civilians and on- or off-duty military personnel can file time-sensitive formal or informal complaints.
"For informal (complaints), nothing is in writing if the individual simply wants the harassment to stop, which may involve having a session with a mediator," Ladiero said. "The formal option is in writing and an investigation is conducted under AR 15-6 for military personnel."
DOD civilians may name a management official in the complaint, but the complaint is filed against the Secretary of the Army. A civilian must contact an Equal Employment Opportunity advisor within 45 days of the harassment to initiate a complaint of discrimination, while military personnel must initiate a complaint with a SHARP representative within 60 days.
"On the military side, we encourage them to speak with the offender with a third party present," Ladiero said. "For civilians, a supervisor is responsible for speaking with that individual."
For more information on reporting options, call the MCoE SHARP Office at 706-626-3724 or 706-545-2305, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Office at 706-545-1872.
For more information, call the Fort Benning Sexual Assault Hotline at 706-566-7393 or the DoD Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247.