By Mrs. Dawn Arden (Fort Wood)February 21, 2014
The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program is in the process of making changes that will benefit the Fort Leonard Wood population.
At this time, the majority of the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator positions are filled by uniformed military members; changing these positions to Department of the Army civilians will add continuity of service for those needing help, officials said.
"The SARCs at brigade level are going to civilian," said Master Sgt. Marvin Lockett II, Installation SHARP SARC. "This will provide more continuity at brigade levels."
Lockett said victim advocates are remaining military and will assist the SARCs. He also added that a few of the SARCs would remain military, such as at the installation office.
"Currently applicants are going through the hiring process; some brigades already have selected our new civilian counterparts," Lockett said.
According to the SHARP Guidebook, the job of a SARC is to manage sexual assault prevention, training, and victim advocacy; ensure victims of sexual assault receive guidance and emotional support while making sure the victim understands the entire process. SARCS also assign a VA as soon as they are notified of an incident.
If the victim is receptive to help, the VA provides crisis intervention, referral and ongoing non-clinical support while informing victims of the services and resources available to them.
SARCs and VAs are to "provide a well-coordinated, highly responsive sexual assault Victim Advocacy program that is available 24 hours per day/7 days per week both in garrison and deployed environments," the Guidebook states.
They do this by working with commanders to ensure individuals within their organizations are familiar with the Army policy on sexual harassment and sexual assault.
"We currently have eight SARCs on the installation: five military and three civilian," Lockett said.
The SHARP program is for all military members, Department of the Army civilians, and Family members and can be reached by calling Fort Leonard Wood's 24/7 SARC number at 573.855.1327.
The Department of Defense Safe HelpLine is 877.995.5247.