By Alton Dunham (USAG Fort Huachuca)June 16, 2009
Last week, Army Community Service, through the Family Advocacy Program, finished a week-long "Unit Victim Advocate" training.
More than 30 Soldiers are now set to return to their units and provide support to victims of sexual assault.
Since March 2009, the Family Advocacy Program has trained 50 Soldiers as Unit Victim Advocates.
The 40 hours of training was headed by Lana Tompkins-Stutzman, Sexual Assault Response coordinator.
"The goal of this program is to provide each battalion-level commander on post with a capable responder to perform collateral duties in support of victims of sexual assault," Tompkins-Stutzman said.
UVAs provide crisis intervention, referrals and ongoing non-clinical support to victims of sexual assault.
"The Department of Defense's ultimate goal is to eliminate sexual assault from the ranks," Tomkins-Stutzman said. "The immediate goal is to establish a climate of confidence that encourages victims to report sexual assault and get the care they need.
"Placing qualified victim advocates in every unit is the first step in reaching that goal."
In Fiscal Year 2008, there were more than 2,900 reports of sexual assaults including military members.
For more information on the program, contact Tompkins-Stutzman at 533-3986.