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SAPR office provides awareness, support for sexual assault victims

Safe Helpline is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) sole hotline for members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline is a completely anonymous, confidential, 24/7, specialized service—providing help and information anytime, anywhere. A Safe Helpline user can access one-on-one support, peer-to-peer support, information, resources and self-care exercises 24/7 to aid in their recovery. Since 2011, Safe Helpline has provided support and resources to thousands of members of the DoD community.

Safe Helpline is the Department of Defense’s (DoD) sole hotline for members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline is a completely anonymous, confidential, 24/7, specialized service—providing help and information anytime, anywhere. A Safe Helpline user can access one-on-one support, peer-to-peer support, information, resources and self-care exercises 24/7 to aid in their recovery. Since 2011, Safe Helpline has provided support and resources to thousands of members of the DoD community.

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

Service members and their families at MacDill Air Force Base have access to sexual assault prevention and family advocacy support to help anyone in need.

The 6th Air Mobility Wing’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program office, staffed by sexual assault response coordinators and a victim advocate, provides support and guidance to sexual assault victims. Their mission is to educate, advocate and collaborate to respond to and eliminate sexual assault and its harmful effects.

“Our SAPR team provides a full spectrum of resources to victims by assigning a victim advocate, working with the local crisis center to assist with the sexual assault forensic exam, requesting a referral for special victims’ counseling, connecting the member with behavioral health, the chaplain and a Department of Defense safe helpline,” said Debbra Hooks, installation sexual assault response coordinator.

The Air Force SAPR program focuses on the survivor. SAPR responses are gender inclusive, culturally competent and recovery oriented offering non-confidential and confidential reporting through unrestricted or restricted reporting. The SAPR team executes a proactive and comprehensive sexual assault prevention program in order to enable mission readiness and reduce, with a goal to eliminate sexual assault.

Sexual assault is a crime, chargeable under Articles 120, 120a, 120b, 120c, or 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice; or attempts to commit such acts are punishable under Article 80 of the UCMJ.  

Active duty service members, dependents 18 years and older, Reservists, National Guard members on title 10/32 status and DoD civilian employees are eligible for the unrestricted and restricted reporting options under the SAPR program. Regardless of the eligibility requirements, the SAPR program office will provide you with the resources to assist with your needs.

There are two reporting options for sexual assault victims, restricted and unrestricted, allowing victims a choice and a level of confidently. 

“If a victim desires a non-disclosure report with more privacy and only requests assistance with behavioral health, medical services or a chaplain, the SAPR office offers a restricted reporting option without chain of command knowledge or a law enforcement investigation,” Hooks said. “This is a great option to give the victim time to process the incident and still get the help they need without an investigation. If a victim decides to initiate an investigation by disclosing the chain of command is involved, this will generate an unrestricted report.”

Prior to reporting a sexual assault, victims are briefed on available SAPR resources and the privacy options available for each. The fear that a reported assault will not be kept confidential may prevent victims from reporting but report information is limited to those only with a need to know based on the selected reporting options.

“Our office is committed to reducing the trauma of sexual assault, crime and violence, as well as providing community education for its prevention,” Hooks added. “We are dedicated to creating a supportive, caring environment for victims, survivors and their families to enhance the healing process. Everyone at MacDill AFB serves a critical role in sexual assault prevention by fostering a culture of dignity and respect that does not condone nor tolerate sexual assault or harassment.”

The SAPR program reinforces Team MacDill’s commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through training, education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability. MacDill’s SAPR team promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.

The SAPR office is planning a month full of SAPR awareness community events in April, annually recognized as sexual assault awareness and prevention month. They are also conducting a 40-hour victim advocate course March 4-8 for active duty Air Force, Reserve or Air National Guard service members in active status and DoD appropriated funded civilian employees. Civilians must be in the grades of GS-07 and above, enlisted must be in the grades of E-4 and above, 21 years of age, and officers must be in the grades of O-2, or O-1 if prior enlisted. If interested in becoming a victim advocate, please call 813-828-5775 for additional information.

Individuals on G-series orders, first sergeants, chief master sergeants, Air Force Office of Special Investigations officers, security forces, office of the staff judge advocate, area defense counsel, healthcare providers, equal opportunity, chaplain, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and inspector general personnel are not eligible to be victim advocates.

For more information on the program or SAPR events, call the MacDill AFB SAPR office at 813-828-2678/2880 or 24/7 SAPR HOTLINE 813-828-7272 or visit macdill.af.mil/SAPR

To contact the family advocacy program, call 813-828-827-9172 or 24/7 DAVA HOTLINE 813-279-1320

To contact the DoD Safe Helpline, call 877-995-5247 or visit safehelpline.org