CAMP PENDLETON, Va. -- Nearly 50 senior enlisted Soldiers from around the Virginia Army National Guard completed a two-day senior leader Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention course Aug. 28-29, 2014, at Camp Pendleton, Va.
The purpose of the senior leader NCO SHARP training was to inform senior leaders on current changes within the Department of Defense Instruction Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. Training focused on leaders' role in a sexual assault case, current changes within the DoDI and victim care. The training also increased their knowledge of the importance of properly handling a sexual assault case and reinforced the point that the victim remains the number one priority.
Command sergeants major, sergeants major and first sergeants from around the Virginia Army Guard attended the training, which was conducted by the Virginia National Guard Sexual Assault Response Coordinator.
"Senior leaders' involvement and emphasis on changing the culture at the commander level are the best drivers of culture change," explained Command Sgt. Maj. Henry Motley, the Virginia National Guard SARC.
Presenters and guest speakers included James Thompson, a management analyst from the National Guard Bureau Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Theresa Mulherin--Sentra, a Sexual Assault Nursing Examiner, the Victim Advocate Coordinator from the District of Columbia, and SARCs from Delaware and West Virginia.
"The emphasis on SHARP has reached an all-time high across the services," said Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, the Virginia Army National Guard command sergeant major. "From the national level down to the state level, training and awareness has been stressed by senior leadership across the board."
More than half of Virginia senior enlisted leadership, both full time and traditional, participated in the training, according to Holcomb.
"Each of the senior NCOs taking part in the SHARP training gained valuable insight into how broad and deep the issue of sexual assault extends not only nationally but here within our own formations as well," Holcomb said. "While I feel that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to rid our formations of the crime of sexual assault, I believe that we in Virginia have taken a tremendous step in making certain the message of awareness, prevention and accountability resonates throughout our units and formations until incidents of sexual assault no longer exist."