ARLINGTON, Va. – Staff Sgt. Betsy Upton, Fort Jackson Medical Department Activity, Moncrief Army Health Clinic, has been selected as the 2021 Victim Advocate of the Year within the Army’s SHARP Program.
She was recognized for providing quality support and advocacy to sexual assault and sexual harassment victims and specialized training and education to more than 700 professional victim advocates, commanders, Soldiers, and responders. In addition, she improved the expedited transfer process; increased the amount of SHARP-focused conversations; and anonymous and retroactive reporting.
Upton was also lauded for the assistance and advocacy expertise she provided in support of the Secretary of Defense Observation/Immediate Action Visit.
She was also recognized for creating a training initiative tailored to her audience. Her training program included vignettes, hypothetical scenarios, and group break-out sessions that kept the audience actively engaged. The training program was so well received it was adopted by Fort Jackson, South Carolina, as the installation training model.
“Staff Sgt. Upton’s commitment to providing sexual assault survivors with timely, quality support, and matchless leadership and initiative in executing a comprehensive SHARP program is worth recognition,” said Dr. James Helis, Director, U.S. Army Resilience Directorate.
Upton’s advocacy reaches far beyond her organization. Within the course of one year, she co-chaired a virtual and in-person community stakeholders meeting that included the internal stakeholders from the Sexual Assault Medical Management team, Special Victims' Counsel, Criminal Investigation Division, and Program Managers from Substance Use, Suicide Prevention, and Family Advocacy.
The community stakeholders included the local rape crisis centers and victim services law enforcement officers. She was also selected to serve on two community outreach panels and be a victim advocate panel guest at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina.
“Staff Sgt. Upton understands the professional ethics of advocacy and wholeheartedly engages in providing care to victims, and teaching our partners within the SHARP profession and senior leadership,” said Jill Londagin, Army’s SHARP Program Director.
“Staff Sgt. Upton has performed exceptionally as the Moncrief Army Health Clinic victim advocate,” said Stephanie Garvin, MAHC Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “Her authentic, compassionate demeanor allows her to be a reliable, strong and successful advocate to those in need.”