Military SARTs

Okay, the recording, should be going and so
we are ready to start. Well, thank you for clicking on this exciting
webinar today. We are really happy to bring Sarah and Kelly
together, to talk about different aspects of military SART or military civilian collaborations
as part of the SART toolkit. In the SART toolkit you can find a ton of
written information about military SARTs in section six under systems-based community. So, military, as itself, is a system, that
has specific rules that Kelly and Taylor are going to jump in now and in the toolkit and
in the text of the toolkit, there are brief explanations of various aspects of what Sarah
and Kelly are going to talk about today. And then there are also a lot of resources
and different agencies that you can connect with for more information and a little bit
of a deeper dive, as a nice complement to what we’ll be discussing today. Sarah and Kelly, do you want to do intros
for yourselves? Sure, go ahead Sarah. Okay, hopefully everybody can hear me well
enough. I’m happy to be here and glad that Kelly is
able to join me and Christina, or Christina and me, right — my mom would be upset about
my poor grammar there — to talk about Military Sexual Assault Resource Team and the collaboration
between those SARTs and those within the local civilian communities that are affiliated with
military installations. I was a Judge Advocate in the Army for 12
years, and a special victim prosecutor and defense counsel and just have well over a
decade of experience, prosecuting and defending sexual assault cases within the military as
well as the civilian world. Now, I’m a civilian defense counsel, so I
still deal with military cases and sexual assaults on the military and civilian sides. So, happy to be here and provide some guidance
and expertise from my perspective, and again, happy to have Kelly with me, who is a friend
and colleague. And thanks, Christina, for inviting me to
share in this experience. Wonderful, so yes, I’m Kelly Taylor and very
excited to be part of this as well, worked with Sarah for many years and we’ve had a
wonderful collaborative relationship from the medical perspective, and the legal perspective,
which is a very important relationship to have as with all the disciplines. I have been a registered nurse for the past
17 years. Emergency and trauma medicine is where I got
my start, so, that’s a very natural flow into the forensic nursing world, which I have been
doing for the last 10 years. I do program management with the military
and work very closely with a military civilian SART team for a large installation with the
military. I also do teaching and training with all the
different disciplines; law enforcement, medical, advocacy, attorneys. So, it’s a very important collaboration and
it’s very important to have the team get to know each other prior to needing to work together
because it only enhances the relationship when you already have that history with the
other disciplines. It allows the folks that we’re providing services
to, to feel more comfortable with us as a group because though we know that we’re different
disciplines, to the patients and the clients that we are servicing, we’re one system, we’re
one process, so, if any one of us has a stumble or a misstep, it’s kind of a stumble, or a
misstep for all of us. We share the success and we share the missteps
together, so it’s really important that our relationship is tight to make this a better
journey, from traumatic situation to survivorship. Thank you, so Sarah can you… So, I can jump in here, I think the first
thing to start off with before we do the deep-dive into military SARTS and the collaboration
between them and the civilian SARTS or civilian providers or responders is just to talk about,
generally, the military’s response to sexual assault. Unless you’ve lived in a dark cave somewhere,
most people are aware of the spotlight that’s been on the military’s response as well as
prevention efforts with respect to sexual assault and sexual harassment over the past
few years. So, to that end, one of the initiatives has
been to encourage the creation at the installation level of Sexual Assault Response Teams in
order to ensure that the military’s response and certainly the local response to service
members and family members and any victims or survivors — and I’ll use the term interchangeably
— is up to par to what it should be, right? So, that we’re providing care and support
as needed in our response efforts to survivors and victims. So, within that, you have different services. So, when we say military, we’re talking about
Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard. You also have to keep in mind that you have
the active duty component for each of those services, as well as Reserve component and
National Guard component. And the rules, or the policies and procedures
that govern the different responses, the providers, the roles that people have within each service,
depend upon the one — the service as I said — as well as the status of the person who
is seeking the support. First and foremost, the military wants to
prevent sexual assault and also provide response efforts that are coordinated and that meet
the needs of the people involved. It’s important just to keep that in mind as
we start and we’ll get into a deeper dive as to who the different players are within
the military system, as compared to the civilian system and then obviously, the differences
between the composition of a military SART and a civilian SART. To that end, looking at the next slide where
we’re talking actually about the composition of the Military Sexual Assault Response team. Even on the civilian side, they’re going to
be parallels between the two. You’re going to have law enforcement involvement
for the most part — Kelly is going to talk later about within the military — we have
the option of restricted or unrestricted reporting. Involvement of military law enforcement personnel
is going to differ based on the type of report that the survivor makes, but again, she’ll
talk about that a little bit later in greater depth. For the most part, there’s going to be parallels. You’re going to have law enforcement. Each service has a military criminal investigative
division. So, within the Army it’s CID, within the Navy,
for example, it’s NCIS and there was also, yes, a television show to that effect. There was also a television show about JAGS
where they flew around in fancy aircraft, and I’ve never done that. I’ve flown around but the aircraft wasn’t
fancy, and people weren’t nearly as good looking as they were on the show, so I just thought
I’d throw that out there. You’ve got law enforcement responders and
within the Air Force, that’s the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, OSI. They’re similar, but they go by different
names, but they are law enforcement agencies. And same is going to be on the civilian side
where you’ve got county, city, state, federal law enforcement agencies that will be involved. You also are going to have a legal component,
or legal representatives on a military SART within each branch. The terms may be different, but the roles
are going to be the same. For example, on Army we have special victim
counsel — there are terms a little bit differently in other services for the same legal representatives
— so these are attorneys who are in the military but who represent the best interests of the
victims, whether that’s an adult or a child, as long as they’re eligible for services. We won’t get too far into the weeds on that,
but you’re going to have that person, you’re going to have a special victim prosecutor,
most likely, that’s the term that the Army uses. Again, other services use different terms
sometimes. You’ve got a special victim counsel of special
victim prosecutor. The special victim prosecutor’s representing
the government’s best interest and that is the attorney who’s going to oversee the prosecution
of the offense. You may have a trial counsel and that’s going
to be the attorney who works closely with the command, also a prosecutor. That person may be a part of the military
SART as well. You may have all three that are members of
the SART. You’re going to have various medical providers
just like you do on the civilian side, so you’re going to have your sexual assault nurse
examiner, sexual assault forensic examiners, so, your SAFE, your SANE, whatever the term
is used, and I’ve seen all kind of different terms across the board in the civilian community,
and in the military. You’re going to have those providers as first
responders and also the ones who perhaps provide follow-up care. We’ll come back to military commanders, but
on the same level as medical providers, you’re going to have the behavioral mental health
providers, so, counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, some representative from a
behavioral health clinic within that military installation. You’re going to have victim advocacy personnel,
so that may be Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for the installation, it may be a victim advocate,
it may be both. You have representatives from the installation. There are also personnel who serve directly
at units and provide services directly to units and then you have installation level. Also, you’re going to have representation,
which Kelly will talk more about later, from the civilian community on your SARTs depending
on what your relationship is and how large the civilian community is in relation to the
military installation and what agencies on the civilian side are in existence within
that community and so there may be representation of those folks on the military SART. You’re also going to have commanders. In the military the commanders oversee the
military justice process. They are responsible for everything, really,
from the legal perspective and law enforcement to medical care and behavioral mental health
services. Ultimately, they have to ensure, and they’re
mandated to ensure, that the system works the way that it’s supposed to, that all policies,
procedures, and statutes are followed to ensure that victims are cared for, services are provided
the way that they’re supposed to, and that prevention and response efforts are in line
with congressional mandates and the individual services themselves in terms of the policies
and procedures. You’re going to have a lot of command involvement
throughout the process of a case or an investigation and they’re also going to be part of the Sexual
Assault Response Team. And then you will have other providers or
responders as needed, meaning whatever the particular make-up is of your installation,
or base or post, who is providing services, what are the collaborative relationships or
partnerships that are in existence or that you create over time and representatives from
other organizations, whether within the military or the civilian community, they will be a
part of that, so, you may have family advocacy which is a military program, you may have
representatives from there. You may have representatives from local rape
crisis centers on the civilian side or medical facilities on the civilian side of hospitals,
clinics, whatever it may be, depending on the size of that civilian community and then
again, the relationship and what are the cases like that tend to come up. To that end, I’ll throw it to Kelly to talk
about what more specifically makes the military SART unique. And then obviously anyone jump in with anything
you’d like to add to that. Sure. What makes the military SART unique is the
fact that you do include your civilian entities if possible because there’s a lot of joint
jurisdictional issues, assaults may be occurring within the community but involving service
members or dependents. There may be issues where local law enforcement
may take the lead on an investigation, but the military law enforcement is still an active
part of that as well because of their role with the service member. So, it’s really important to go ahead and
include those local rape crisis centers. Also, to consider including other resources
that they may have for victim services, maybe the leader of a support group or certain communities
may have very specific therapy methods. I know some communities do yoga or horse therapy,
including some of those outside agencies too, because they can bring a lot of really good
input, outside-of-the-box thinking, and also can provide free assistance to military members
and also to family members. Don’t forget that when an assault occurs,
it doesn’t just involve the person that has been assaulted, it also ripples through the
family, can ripple through a unit. So, it’s really important to remember some
of those agencies that also provide support to families, because family therapy, family
counseling, things like that can be a really important part of the recovery for our survivors. Sometimes when family members or friends don’t
exactly know how to support a survivor that’s been through trauma, it can cause friction
within the home environment which then doesn’t get that journey to survivorship. So, it’s really important to remember some
of those out-of-the-box agencies as well, including your DA’s offices, things like that,
bringing those folks to the table. so that you have a really well-rounded position,
so no one’s left out. So, then you cover all of your bases. And remember to include not just maybe the
primary agencies if you’re on an installation — most installations have that city right
outside that’s going to be your primary area — but also, including some of the surrounding
counties and the surrounding cities that branch out a little bit further that may not actually
have very well-established programs because they may not see sexual assault very often,
and they may not be interfacing with the military as frequently as the large city outside of
the installation. So, it’s important to draw them in too, because
sometimes our military members don’t live right outside the city or live right on base,
so, they’re living a little bit further out, so it’s really important so that they feel
that they’re supported in their own communities, and then it’s nice because the military has
so many resources that sometimes these smaller jurisdictions don’t have. So, it’s nice to bring them in to do joint
training with us, because the military’s very fortunate that we do a lot of training. We do a lot of education and some of the smaller
agencies can’t afford to do that or can’t afford to send their staff and their folks
out to these larger trainings. Include them in to not only that SART group,
but also to any trainings you may do, and do cross-training with them. That’s a good way to find out about some of
our military members that may be receiving services that we were not aware of. It’s not only beneficial to them to get that
education and training to make everyone better, but it’s also a good way for the military
to stay connected to the community that they may be getting services from. It’s a good cross-relationship to have. So, don’t forget about those smaller agencies
as well. Yeah. I agree, and Kelly, I know the size of the
installation where you currently work and also in your experience, what are some of
the challenges that you’ve seen in providing services; whether it’s a civilian survivor
or maybe a military survivor who is not an active duty soldier and coordinating sort
of services between the military and the civilian community? Sure. So, we’ve had situations kind of go both ways. We’ve had service members or their dependents
that have initially made a report to a civilian hospital, to a civilian law enforcement agency,
reached out to a local rape crisis center, and they’ve received all those initial services
on the civilian side. It may be proximity, it may be lack of understanding
about the resources that the military has, for whatever reason, they have reported to
a civilian hospital, to a civilian law enforcement and advocacy services. That’s perfectly fine, but that’s why having
that relationship is really important and establishing that because the military has
excellent follow-up services, as far as medical and behavioral health resources that sometimes
may be more challenging to coordinate on the civilian side, depending on where you’re located. But the military stays pretty consistent throughout
the services, the branches of services, with what kind of follow-up care they are providing. There’s a good system set in place that’s
pretty consistent. So, it’s nice if that relationship exists
between the military and the civilian community which is typically occurring through a SART
team. It’s nice because then those folks needing
the services can be referred back to the military installation to get those. At the hospital, they could be given discharge
instructions from the military hospital that has the point of contact for the Sexual Assault
Care Coordinator to make those medical follow-ups; just a way to kind of draw them back into
the military community if that’s what they choose. The flip is, it is possible as well too, where
they receive all of their services through the military and they get follow-up care through
the military as well, but maybe they need more specialty care. There is a possibility that working with the
military providers that referrals could be made off-post to civilian providers based
on specialty care needs and that’s something that the military providers could work out
through a referral system. But having those relationships between the
civilian community and the military community is vital to understand when folks need more
resources or different resources, who to call, who to contact, and kind of establishing the
providers that you’re using within the community and the military. Yeah, I would definitely agree with that. You sort of touched on there are services
provided on the civilian side as well as on the military side. Do you have examples of situations where you’ve
worked with civilian agencies, I guess, maybe local rape crisis centers or other service
providers to provide support, or aftercare? Absolutely, that’s pretty common. Also, remember that these rape crisis centers,
counseling services, they could actually respond to the military facility, the hospital, that
they’re receiving treatment on, because sometimes people want civilian advocacy, or sometimes
they want additional advocacy, or sometimes we may be dealing with a child and they need
civilian advocacy. So, there’s lots of reasons that those relationships
may kind of cross over. And yes, very frequently, we’re never going
to limit the amount of resources. If someone wants assistance from the military,
but they also want to do maybe a support group through the civilian side, that’s pretty common
to get follow-up behavioral healthcare through the military. However, the community offers a support group
or some kind of different resource, like we kind of discussed earlier, the yoga or something
like that, like a different outside resource that the military may not have. That’s something that we can link them into,
but we have to know about it first in order to offer it to our folks. So, it’s really important that we stay in
tune with what the civilian communities are offering and a great way to hear about that
is to invite them to our meetings and to kind of find out what they have going on and so
then we can offer those as resources to our patients when we see them. Yeah, and I think that’s a great point and
I know that the next slide we list who are some of the people who provide support to
victims and who may also be a part of the military SART composition. But the next slide, beyond that, talks about
collaborations which is what you were speaking to with regard to building those relationships
with civilian entities and military entities. The military has so many great services and
programs available to provide support to survivors and their family members, and I think it’s
phenomenal that you included the family members not just as survivors who need services, in
that respect, but also because they are dealing with the aftermath of an assault, a very traumatic
event that affects not just the survivor, but also the family members and friends of
a survivor. So, a lot of services are available within
the military community, if there’s a military connection for those people who provide support,
but also within the civilian community. It all comes down to relationship-building. Even if a military service has some guidelines
for setting up a SART or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, we can publish the
guide and sort of talk globally about building collaboration. But at the end of the day, there’s not really
a guide needed for you to reach out, introduce yourself, and start a conversation. And when you start to do that, then you learn
what resources are available. Hey, what training are you all doing? Is there information that we can share? What services are provided by your group that
we can also share in? I think that’s a big deal, and that that’s
not always done. I think that’s probably the biggest tip or
most helpful tip is to find out within your local community, what services and agencies
provide support or respond and then, within the military installation that’s connected
to the local civilian community, find out who provides the victim advocacy services. Find out who the SANEs are or the folks within
the medical community and the behavioral health community. Find out, or make the connections with, the
legal personnel. Find out who the special victim council are
for that installation or the special victim prosecutor and work to establish those connections
and then build from there. And I think, Kelly, a great example, because
I want to be your number one cheerleader, because we worked together forever and Kelly
is amazing, is to talk about you actually did that, you know, it’s sort of stepping
a little bit outside of the SARTs except for those collaborations then feed into the Sexual
Assault Response Team, but you started an annual summit that brings together and that
can certainly help to establish these relationships and build these connections that we’re talking
about that are needed for a successful SART on the military side and the civilian side. You have a Special Victim Summit that is held
every year at Fort Bragg. I know that it grew out of this need to bring
unity and attention and education to Sexual Assault Prevention and Response. Absolutely, and I think it’s such a phenomenal
thing. And it just started with such a small idea
several years ago of just kind of bringing a SART together to the table to get some education
together. Because I feel like, not only should we be
having these conversations together, we should be training together, and we should be getting
the same information together, so we’re all hearing it at the same time in the week, that
allows us to grow together, so we’re not growing at different levels. We don’t have this phenomenal group of law
enforcement agents with nurses that are struggling, or vice versa. You want to grow together because if you grow
together, you grow your community together and that’s what’s really important. You don’t want to leave anyone behind. Well, in order to not leave anyone behind,
everyone’s got to be at the table. This summit did start as a way to bring everybody
to the table and it’s grown into just a phenomenal monster of a thing. Sarah is the MC for it, so, I’m sure that’s
what brings everybody back every year. [chuckle] But the thing about it, I don’t think we have
the market cornered on groundbreaking information. We’re bringing the best practices and new
education every year and phenomenal speakers that are passionate about what they do. But I think what grows it so large every year
is that our community is hungry for relationships. Sometimes when you deal with sexual assault,
you feel like you’re on an island. And when you look around the room and to the
left and the right of you are advocates and attorneys and law enforcement and nurses and
our entire community, behavioral health, everybody’s sitting there hungry for the relationship,
hungry for the knowledge because at the end of the day, we’re passionate about what we
do, and we want to do it to the best of our ability. And we want to do it together. Even though we have a different path that
we have to take, we really have the same general outcome of what we want. So, it’s really important to be at the table
to have the conversation together and not get the information second or third-hand. It’s really important that we’re doing this
together. I always joke and say, you know, no one wants
to make a new friend at 3:00 in the morning. Our cases don’t come in during business hours
all the time. They come in on weekends at 3:00 in the morning. And to have that relationship already established
is vital and it makes a huge difference for the person that is making the report. That has the courage to come forward and to
say, “This is what happened to me and I need help.” You can see from a nursing perspective, I
have a very unique role that I get to see a lot of different pieces of this puzzle. And so, I feel very blessed and very fortunate
to be able to provide services to people at some of the darkest times in their life. I feel it’s a privilege to do this. I have such respect and admiration for my
colleagues in all their different disciplines because we all have a hard road to walk and
we hear a lot of stuff, and we see a lot of stuff. We see a very dark side of life and we have
to have each other to kind of lean on to get through that. And having that relationship established ahead
of time is, like Sarah said, it’s vital; it has to happen. When I walk into an emergency room and I see
a patient sitting before me that’s terrified and frightened and doesn’t know what’s happening
and doesn’t know what’s going to happen and may not know exactly what happened to them
and there’s a victim advocate sitting in that room that has already established that rapport
with that patient. If I walk in and I already know that victim
advocate and that’s a good working relationship, you can almost watch stress and tension just
leave that victim that’s sitting there in that seat because they understand that this
is a team, that this is not one person that’s going to help them, they now have two people
that are going to help them. And then when law enforcement, if it’s an
unrestricted report, walks in the door and that relationship is there and I say, “Hey,
this is a great agent. This is a great detective. I work with them all the time,” that eases
their worry some too. Okay, now I’ve got three people on this team. Same thing with Special Victims Council, or
VLCs, for Navy; it works all the way through. Every discipline that they’re going to come
in contact with, if you have that established relationship and you give that warm hand-off
at every point, that is only going to make our process better, which is only going to
make this journey better for this person. For us, yes, we all have a ton of cases. We have, unfortunately, a ton of cases that
we see and that we deal with. But to this person that’s everything at that
point and they deserve to have our everything as a team. So, I cannot echo enough what Sarah says about
those relationships. Yeah, I would agree, and I think at the end
of the day you know the goal for a SART whether it is a civilian SART or a military SART,
and quite frankly I’d prefer it just be a collaborative SART, as opposed to putting
it in a box and saying, “Well, it’s military. It’s civilian.” SARTs are designed to be coordinated bodies
that include victim advocates and law enforcement and medical personnel and prosecutors. They’re meant to be multi-disciplinary teams
that are able to meet in response to victim needs, work through offender accountability,
community safety; obviously as a part of what their focus is. And whether it’s formal and everything is
written out with guidelines and responsibilities and duties and that sort of thing, or whether
it’s a more relaxed informal structure, it doesn’t matter. The point is that it be formed, that people
work on building these relationships so that there is a team that is committed to ensuring
that needs are met, services are provided and that education and training opportunities
for the professionals and service providers as well as the community are in place. The more diverse and multi-disciplinary your
team is, the better off the community is going to be in the short-term and the long-term. I just go back that it’s all about talking
and building relationships and just reaching out. It truly does naturally happen from that perspective
and then you’re able to learn more specifically about the military system as compared to the
civilian system which we can’t obviously get into a deep-dive into the military response
and the judicial process within the military justice system and the medical community and
all that; that would take forever. That would be a series of webinars, but I
think our message is that reach out, build those collaborations based on your local community
and the military installation that serves that community and build it accordingly. If you build it they will come, right? Well, I think the important thing too is,
remember, you can make a SART what you want it to be to fit your community’s needs. We all have so many meetings. Meetings, meetings, meetings; meetings about
meetings. And what we found is participation was hit
or miss. So, we kind of thought a little bit outside
of the box and we made it every other month and we made it a lunch opportunity where everyone
got together at a specific location on a Friday at noon and we have amazing participation. Because you sit down, and you have lunch together,
you learn about each other, you learn about each other’s families. You really learn about the person sitting
next to you from different agencies that you may never interface with otherwise. But I guarantee at some point at 3:00 in the
morning, that person’s going to come walking through your door and it’s great to have that
relationship. You’ll get so much further. So, it doesn’t always have to be a meeting
at 9:00 in the morning on Monday morning. It can be what you want it to be. And we’ve had great success with doing a lunch. People come, we get unit representatives which
is nice because then we find out about what’s going on in each specific unit. They’re able to put out events that they have
coming up and then we’re all able to go participate in those unit events that are sponsoring sexual
assault prevention or their fun-runs or their fundraisers or whatever it may be. It gives them a forum to say, “Hey, I’m the
representative, I’m the advocate, I’m the JAG or whatever from this unit and hey, this
is kind of what we have going on this month.” And you know what, it’s been phenomenal. What we find is that when we then show up
at these events, it’s our SART. So, we have almost like these impromptu SART
meetings at these events to support each other. It turns into not, “I’m obligated to go to
this meeting”, it turns into “I’m a community, and I’m going to go support that unit and
they’re going to turn around and they’re going to support me.” So, you can make it what you want to make
it. We’ve had great success with that. So, I would almost recommend maybe starting
at that and maybe there’s five people sitting at your lunch table the first month and then
people like it and they bring another colleague. And then all of a sudden, you’ve got five
people from each discipline sitting there and the word gets out and people really enjoy
it and they look forward to it. The other thing I was going to mention too
is why it’s wonderful to have these relationships is, nothing is always going to run 100% perfectly
and smoothly every single time. But it’s our goal to always reinforce best
practices and discuss them and bring them to the table. And having these relationships with other
agencies is a good gut-check for your own agency because sometimes it’s hard to take
an honest look at the program or the unit, or what you have set up. And so, it’s nice to have those relationships
where people can come in. Maybe advocates can come into our hospital
and say, “Hey, I know this is your vision for how your program’s supposed to work, but
when I was specifically in the hospital with a patient, this is what happened that kind
of deviated from your vision and I just thought you’d want to know.” As opposed to a bad encounter, a complaint
about an agency because those relationships don’t exist, and they don’t understand your
vision, and they don’t understand your passion or how it’s supposed to go. And so, getting that feedback, looping back
or a nurse may be saying to law enforcement, like “Hey listen, we had to sit here, maybe
with this kit for a really, really, really long time. What’s your feedback on that?” Maybe it was that, honestly, they were caught
up with other investigations or maybe it was just a gap in the system. But identifying those gaps is really, really
important to tightening up our procedures and our policy to make everything better. But sometimes, without that real, genuine
feedback from other agencies, if we operate in a silo, we’re never going to be better
and we’re never going to expand. So, having an opportunity through those relationships,
to welcome that feedback, and the feedback to not come in the form of a complaint; the
feedback to come in the form of genuine program improvement from colleagues that care about
your program just as much as you do, because we realize we’re all in this together, is
really, really valuable and it only makes each one of us better. So, I would encourage that feedback. I loop back around with all our folks after
and say, “How was the encounter with our discipline, how did that go this time?” And that is actually how I’ve made some of
my best program improvements is from the feedback of our attorneys, advocates and law enforcement. Yeah, I completely agree with everything you
said, for once. For once I finally got her to agree. [laughter] And those lunches and SARTs that you talked
about, they’re fabulous, I went to a couple, so, I would agree. But, Christina, do we want to throw it back
to you? I know we’re probably hitting time. Yeah, I think there were a couple of questions
that we had from the listeners that may make sense to ask if that works, and you might
have covered some of these a little bit during the conversation. I think one of the first ones is, I love the
idea of relationships. One of the questions that I get asked a lot
from the civilian side is who is specifically to reach out to in the military.? Do they need to start with the commander? What does that look like? Is there specific advice there or is it really
anyone who answers the phone when they call? Well, I think you can either reach out to
the special victim prosecutor, is always a good start. That’s going to be on the legal side, within
the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. You could also reach out to the Sexual Assault
Response Coordinator, that’s going to be another great person at the installation level who
can provide guidance on the SART or whatever it is, that your questions or steer you in
the right direction in terms of making contact with the particular commander. So, I would recommend through the legal office,
the special victim prosecutor, or through the installation, Sexual Assault Response
Coordinator. Touching base that way would be my recommendation. Great. Thank you. And I think early on, you had mentioned that
you would touch a little bit more on what the difference is between a restricted and
unrestricted report. And I just want to circle back and make sure
that we got to that piece. Right. That could be a webinar in and of itself. Without getting too complicated, service members
have an option to restrict a report. To report a sexual assault, if it’s restricted
there’s not notification to the command of any identifying information. The command would be notified just that an
assault occurred, but not be given specifics about it. And law enforcement is not notified, so there’s
not an investigation. That’s if the report is restricted. That allows the victim to receive services:
behavioral mental health services, medical services, and any advocacy services that they
may need or want. So, that provides access there. If it is an unrestricted report, then the
command is notified, identifying information is provided about both the victim and the
alleged offender. You are going to also have the advocacy medical
behavioral mental health access, but you’re going to have command involvement and you’re
going to have a law enforcement investigation. Again, I said it can get complicated. Who can report and to whom to report and what
makes something restricted, unrestricted, that gets very much into the weeds. I think what’s important for this platform
is just to know that there are two different types of reporting options within the military
system, and that with one comes law enforcement and command involvement and identifying information
which is going to be the unrestricted report and with the restricted report, you’re not
going to have that involvement for the most part. There are exceptions and lot of little rules,
but generally speaking, that’s the difference. That being said, when you report to a hospital
as far as from the same perspective, regardless of the reporting option, restricted or unrestricted,
they can still have the option to have evidence collected, all medical care, of course. And then evidence can be collected, and it
can be stored under a number that’s issued through the SARCS, The Sexual Assault Response
Coordinators. So, just because people elect to not involve
law enforcement at that time — change in reporting option is really not time-sensitive,
evidence collection is. So, there is that period of time fairly soon
after the assault that evidence does need to be collected if it’s going to be obtained. So, it’s important that if the patient feels
that at any time, they may want to change their reporting option, though they do not
have to have forensic evidence collected to do so, they can always change the reporting
option and open an investigation with or without forensic evidence. There is a limited amount of time to collect
that evidence. We do offer that as an option, to collect
the evidence and then to store it, and then that’s done through the policies of the hospital
and local law enforcement storage facilities. And that’s specific to each area, but there
is that caveat that just because they don’t elect to have law enforcement or command involved,
there are still several options that they are entitled to: all the follow-up, behavioral
health care, medical care, victim advocacy services, Special Victims Council, things
like that, that they are still entitled to without an open and active investigation. Great, thank you both. And I think there is more information about
that in the actual text of the toolkit and links to some resources and active military
websites, so folks can find more specific, that next level of detail, if they’re looking
for it. I think those are all the questions that jumped
out at me for right now. Thank you both for coming and participating
and sharing your experience. You gave us some hope that there are some
really great collaborations that work really well. Thank you for including us. Thank you so much for having us. Yeah, absolutely.

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