By U.S. ArmyNovember 20, 2013
SHARP: Enhanced Investigation, Prosecution and Legal Support
What is it?
The U.S. Army's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program is a key component of efforts to make the force ready and resilient. Army SHARP, the Office of the Judge Advocate General and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, known as CID, are dedicated to providing high quality investigation, prosecution and legal support to victims of sexual assault.
Through Army's Ready and Resilient campaign, Army total force members and partner organizations are working hard to provide Soldiers, civilians, and families with what they expect and deserve - a positive work environment.
What has the Army done?
In an effort to instill confidence and trust, strengthen resilience, and inspire victims to report incidents of sexual assault, the Army has:
• Through CID, expanded its investigation focus by hiring 22 Sexual Assault Investigators (SAIs) who are positioned throughout the Army.
• Established a Special Victim Prosecutor (SVP) program of 23 specially selected and specially trained Army lawyers. SVPs are part of the Army-wide effort to provide even greater expertise to the investigation and disposition of allegations of sexual assault and family violence.
• Coordination between CID and the Judge Advocate General (JAG) on every sexual assault case enhances the thoroughness of investigations/quality of cases for prosecution.
• Established procedures that provide sexual assault victims with an opportunity to:
(1) Consult with and be represented by Special Victim Counsel (SVC) and, in cases where the victim may have been involved in collateral misconduct, consult with defense counsel.
(2) Have a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or Victim Advocate (VA) present during interviews with law enforcement or defense counsel.
(3) Access information and services concerning the investigation and prosecution.
What efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Joint Services Committee on Military Justice drafted language for an Executive Order to amend the Manual for Courts Martial to ensure that victims of crime are given the opportunity to provide input to the post-trial action phase of courts-martial.
Why is this important to the Army?
Trust is paramount to a Ready and Resilient force. It is vital to ensure the best resources and systems are in place to support victims. It is part of the Army's promise to provide victims with help, without fear of embarrassment or retaliation.