NATICK, Mass. -- Natick Soldier Systems Center recently welcomed Brian Conroy as the new Installation Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) on 15 AUG 2021.
As SARC, Conroy’s mission is to implement the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program by providing resources and advocacy services for Soldiers, Installation staff, and Dependents over the age of 18.
“My priority is to develop foundational relationships with staff and leadership prior to someone needing my services," Conroy said. "My goal is to open communication with everyone and to have an open door policy so everyone that needs me knows I will take care of them.”
Conroy is not new to the SHARP program or to serving a joint population. He brings with him a wealth of experience both as a DA Civilian and as a Sergeant First Class in the Army Reserves.
“Prior to coming to Natick, I served as the New Hampshire National Guard’s Joint Force Headquarters Victim Advocate Coordinator for both Soldiers and Airmen,” Conroy said. “In that role I was the Deputy SARC for the state. After a couple of years in that role, I felt ready to transition to lead a SHARP program for an organization.”
Conroy, who grew up in Maine, enlisted in the military 17 years ago. In addition to his SARC role in Natick, Conroy also currently serves as a Platoon Sergeant in the 3-304th Infantry Regiment (USMA) Army Reserves United States Military Academy training unit. He said it was by a chance assignment with his unit on a deployment to Iraq and Syria in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) June 2017 – June 2018 that he was introduced to the SHARP program and since then he has not looked back.
“As we were getting ready to deploy, I was tagged as the unit’s Battalion Unit Victim Advocate (UVA) and it was sink or swim,” Conroy said. “I went from really not knowing anything at all about the program to becoming the subject matter expert all within a year and I fell in love with the program.”
Conroy enjoys working in the SHARP program because it allows him to partner with people to solve problems and ultimately give survivors their voice back. He wants service members, Families and civilians to know that he is here for them and that there are several different reporting mechanisms.
“It is important for service members, their Families and especially leaders to know the differences in restricted and unrestricted reporting,” Conroy said. “Service members and military dependents who are 18 years and older have two options when it comes to reporting sexual assault, unrestricted or restricted reporting. Civilians have their own set of rules and services.”
Conroy stressed for service members and their dependents a restricted report is confidential and will not initiate command notification or a report to law enforcement. Service members and their dependents may file a restricted report, by speaking with a SARC, chaplain, healthcare professional, or legal counsel. Restricted reporting provides eligible individuals access to advocacy assistance, counseling, and legal and medical services.
“A restricted report is a good option when someone is unsure of what they want to do,” Conroy said. “It allows them to get help and services but the command is not involved. A person may switch to an unrestricted report at any time, but remember once an unrestricted report is in place, you cannot go the other way.”
An unrestricted report can be made to a victim advocate, the SARC, healthcare personnel, chaplains, chain of command, law enforcement, legal counsel or a supervisor. Unrestricted reporting provides all the services available in a restricted report but also initiates command notification and support, a law enforcement investigation and the possibility of an expedited transfer.
For civilians, the Army recently authorized the unrestricted reporting option and victim advocacy services for Department of the Army Civilians who report a sexual assault. Conroy said this is a huge accomplishment for an Installation like NSSC which has a strong DA civilian presence and urges anyone who needs assistance to reach out to him so he help them navigate through each of the reporting processes. His vision is for the entire NSSC community to know about the SHARP program and to practice prevention.
“I want everyone to buy into this important program,” Conroy said. “My goal is for everyone to have knowledge of what to do and how to report. I really look forward to getting to know all the tenant organizations and people on this Installation. I am eager to setup meetings with all Command Teams and Tenant Organizations to build foundational relationships ASAP.”
The SARC office is located in Building 1, Room A-127. He can also be reached at office line: (508) 206-4090 Gov Cell: (508) 654-9146 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Natick’s SHARP 24/7 Hotline is 508-395-9141
DoD Safe Helpline: 877-995-5547