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Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention: Victim Advocacy

Thursday September 26, 2013

What is it?

Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) reinforces the Army’s commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault through a comprehensive policy centered on prevention, investigation, accountability, advocacy and assessment.

What has the Army done

The Army is committed to achieving cultural change by eliminating sexual assault and sexual harassment from the ranks.

  • • Implemented a strategy that includes two full-time program personnel to serve as SHARP Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs) and SHARP Victim Advocates (VAs) at brigade and equivalent-level units.
  • • Published a detailed policy for expedited transfer of Soldiers who are victims of sexual assault, which starts with a presumption in favor of granting a victim’s request for transfer.
  • • Organized a SECARMY/CSA SHARP Panel, which includes experts and victims.
  • • Initiated a SHARP Program Special Interest Item Inspection Team.
  • • Enhanced SARC/VA selection criteria.

What efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

  • Improving Victim Legal Support: The Army will establish a special victim’s advocacy program that makes available legal advice and representation to sexual assault victims throughout the military investigative and justice process.
  • Expanding Victim Rights: In accordance with a forthcoming Executive Order to amend the Manual for Courts Martial, the Army will ensure that victims of crime are given the opportunity to provide input to the post-trial action phase of courts-martial.
  • Standardizing Protections: The Army’s fraternization policy prohibits inappropriate relations. The Army is re-emphasizing the role of commanders and senior enlisted leaders in setting the command climate and ensuring the highest level of conduct.
  • Enhancing Protections: The Army will implement policy allowing administrative reassignment or transfer of a member accused of committing a sexual assault or related offense, balancing the interests of victim and accused.
  • Enhancing Pretrial Investigations: Judge Advocates will serve as investigating officers for all Article 32 hearings on sexual assault offense charges, leveraging expertise in protecting victim privacy, privileged communications, and medical records.
  • Ensuring Investigative Quality: The Army SHARP Program Special Interest Item Inspection will assess compliance with requirements, policy and training; evaluate institutional responses to allegations and incidents across the Army; and evaluate Army “culture”.

Why is this important to the Army?

Sexual harassment and sexual assaults violate core Army values, the Warrior Ethos, and the nation’s trust.


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