Responding to reports of sexual assault
The Department of Defense and U.S. Marine Corps is committed to providing you full and complete care, treatment and counseling. Every effort will be made to ensure you will receive all necessary services, even if it must obtain them from civilian providers.
The position of Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) has been established to coordinate sexual assault victim care. Upon receipt of a report of sexual assault, the SARC will assign a SAPR /VA to help you obtain necessary services and to provide crisis intervention, referral and ongoing non-clinical support. Support will include providing information on available options and resources so you can make informed decisions about your case.
The SAPR /VA will accompany you, if desired, to investigative interviews, medical examinations and follow-up appointments. Also, continues to assist you until you no longer feel a need for support.
Restricted reporting allows a sexual assault victim to confidentially disclose the details of his or her assault to specified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling, without triggering the official investigative process. Service members who are sexually assaulted and desire restricted reporting under this policy may only report the assault to the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), Sexual Assault Prevention Response Victim Advocate (SAPR) (VA), or a Healthcare Provider (HCP), Chaplains, Victim Legal Counsel (VLC) aren’t mandatary reporters
This option is recommended for victims of sexual assault who desire medical treatment, counseling and an official investigation of the crime. When selecting unrestricted reporting, you should use current reporting channels, e.g. chain of command, law enforcement or report the incident to the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), or request healthcare providers to notify law enforcement. Upon notification of a reported sexual assault, the SARC will immediately assign SAPR VA. At the victim’s discretion/request, the healthcare provider shall conduct a sexual assault forensic examination (SAFE), which may include the collection of evidence. Details regarding the incident will be limited to only those personnel who have a legitimate need to know.
Understanding DoD's confidentiality policy
DoD’s Confidentiality policy permits victims of sexual assault to report the crime to specified individuals who can then ensure the victim receives medical care, treatment and counseling without notifying command or law enforcement officials. Covered individuals include the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC); Uniformed Victim Advocates (UVA) and Victim Advocates (VA); Healthcare Providers; and Chaplains. For purposes of public safety and command responsibility, the SARC will notify the installation commander that an assault has occurred and provide details that will not identify the victim. See the Department of Defense Directive 6495.01, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program for complete details.
This policy provides victims some personal space and time, and increased control over the release and management of their personal information. This hopefully empowers them to seek relevant information and support to make more informed decisions about participating in the criminal investigation. Jurisdictions with similar policies have found that confidentiality actually leads to increased reporting rates. Even if the victim chooses not to pursue an official investigation, this additional reporting avenue gives commanders a clearer picture of the sexual violence within their command, and enhances a commander’s ability to provide an environment which is safe and contributes to the well-being and mission-readiness of all of its members.
Understanding the investigative process
The nature of the investigative process can be stressful for victims of sexual assault despite the sincere efforts of law enforcement, staff judge advocate and other personnel entrusted with bringing offenders to justice. Investigators must carefully collect evidence, and the process from investigation to courts martial or some other form of punishment may take many months. This process requires a very detailed interview. You will be kept well-informed of any investigative actions taken in response to your reported sexual assault. Your commander, will ensure, at a minimum, you receive a monthly update regarding the current status of any on-going investigative, medical, legal or command proceedings regarding the sexual assault.