By Mrs. Melissa K Buckley (Leonard Wood)January 24, 2014
The Army's top civilian for the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, Dr. Christine Altendorf, visited Fort Leonard Wood Jan. 16.
After receiving a first-hand look at the U.S. Army Military Police School's Special Victims Unit Investigators Course, Altendorf, SHARP Program Office director, said she was surprised by the personal interaction.
"I've learned a lot on Fort Leonard Wood. It's things you wouldn't normally think about. What happens to somebody's brain when they are under severe trauma. There are actual physiological things that are occurring," Altendorf said.
Fort Leonard Wood is one of three stops she is making to analyze the process of Sexual Harassment/Assault Response.
"I have already been to the lab in Atlanta where they do all of the forensics on the evidence. Next, I will visit Quantico, Va.," the SHARP director said.
"I'm trying to find out what is effective and what is not and try to focus my energy towards what is. The more that I can hear -- that we at the Pentagon can hear what is working -- the better the ultimate products are going to be," she said
Altendorf also met with Maj. Gen. Leslie Smith, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and FLW commanding general, and the MSCoE SHARP instructor, in addition to the SVUIC class in session.
"I could have sat with them forever. Listening to them was fascinating. The thing I learned in the course today was about how they interview victims and the accused. The method used was interesting," Altendorf said.
In her speech to the class, she told the SVUIC students about the five lines of effort that are the base for all of the SHARP initiatives currently in practice.
Those lines of effort are prevention, investigation, accountability, advocacy and assessment.
Altendorf, also told the class about a couple of momentous events coming up for SHARP.
At the end of January, a summit is planned to bring the top Army brass together with SHARP advisors, so they can discuss campaign plans, victim care, and investigation and prosecution techniques, just to name a few topics.
Also, coming up at the end of the month, an eight-week pilot course targeted towards SHARP trainers, program managers, Sexual Assault Response Coordinators and Victims Advocates will start at Fort. Belvoir, Va.
Altendorf had the opportunity to sit down with a few commanders and discuss how SHARP initiatives are working in their units.
"I spoke with folks that are commanding troops. I got their thoughts on SHARP -- what is effective and what is not," Altendorf said.
"We are pushing out a lot of legislation. Anytime I can get out in the field and talk to people to find out the most effective way to implement the legislation is invaluable."