Army Adding Support Program
By Steve Mraz
Stars and Stripes
April 2, 2005
Victims of sexual assault in the
Army will soon be able to rely on support
from within their battalion as the result of a new U.S. Army Europe program to
be launched next month.
In addition, increased training will aim to prevent future sexual assault
crimes, which are the second most reported felony in the Army in Europe.
Specifics on the Army in Europe Sexual Assault Prevention and Response
Program are set to be published in a memo in late April. That will be followed
by a USAREUR regulation later this year.
The program comes on the heels of new guidance recently issued by the Defense
Department and Department of the Army relating to sexual assault. One aspect of
the guidance is that sexual assault victims will be able to receive medical
attention and notify authorities of the incident without prompting an official
Just last year, USAREUR embarked on the Sexual Misconduct Awareness Campaign.
Now, USAREUR's approach to dealing with sexual assault must be brought into
compliance with the latest guidance.
"What we're seeing is the refinement of a program that we've already had in
existence," said Col. Angie Joseph, chief of USAREUR's military plans and policy
division. "We've had to go back and make sure we're in alignment with department
guidance, and, for the most part, we have been."
Under the forthcoming USAREUR program, sexual assault prevention training
will be part of inprocessing, annual unit training, predeployment and
reintegration — just to name a few areas. Also, each battalion will name at
least two unit victim advocates.
The unit victim advocates, or UVAs, will support sexual assault victims
during the medical, investigative and judicial stages that follow an incident.
Unit victim advocate training will take place throughout Europe in late April.
Sexual assault victims might not always know the scope of services available
to them, said Lt. Col. Al Seal, chief of plans and operations under USAREUR's
military plans and policy division.
"With the UVAs, it's going to be a big plus," he said. "That victim advocate
will know where those resources are."
The issue of sexual assault and the new USAREUR program seem to be an
important concern for USAREUR's commander, Gen. B.B. Bell. Earlier this month,
Bell devoted his entire weekly newsletter, "Bell Sends," to the subject.
The latest USAREUR statistics show that 217 investigations into sexual
assault crimes took place in 2004. Earlier this month, Department of Defense
officials said many experts believe sexual assault to be the most under-reported
violent crime in the United States and the military.
The new plan attests to Bell's commitment of no tolerance on sexual assault,
"As a senior leader, he [Bell] sees this as important not only to USAREUR but
also to the Army," she said.
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