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Army merges harassment, sexual assault prevention programs

July 14, 2011

By Justin Creech, Belvoir Eagle

The Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program is scheduled to be fully implemented on post Oct. 1.

SHARP transforms the Army’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program and Prevention of Sexual Harassment into one program.

The SHARP program is taking action in trying to prevent sexual assault, or harassment incidents by achieving cultural change. Action toward prevention instead of response is one of SHARP’S goals.

The SAPR program falls under Army Community Service’s Family Advocacy Program. However, once SHARP is fully implemented, sexual assault issues will no longer fall under FAP.

“The SARC is still the first response choice,” said Erin Roberts, SARC and victim advocate coordinator. “The 24-hour, emergency line, (703) 919-0986, is still available for reporting.”

Currently, FAP no longer conducts the 40-hour unit victim advocate training; SAPR training for units on post; or monthly, ongoing UVA training. Roberts said they will, however, still offer victim advocacy trainings for the domestic violence program.

UVAs will still be assigned to sexual assault cases, but not to sexual harassment cases. During the transition from SAPR to SHARP, the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator continues to take reports of sexual assault. Victims of sexual assault should report the incident to the SARC, victim advocate, a health care provider, or chaplain if they want to file a restricted report.

If the victim wants to file an unrestricted report, they need to report the incident to the SARC, VA or chain of command.

Although SHARP implementation has begun, the garrison commander continues to ensure 24/7 SAPR program execution and also continues to chair the monthly Sexual Assault Review Board.

“The commander still has visibility on sexual assault cases,” said Melissa Lilliewood, FAP manager.

Once SHARP is fully implemented, all garrisons will have appointed and trained SHARP points of contact who will take over the program’s administrative duties.

The Army is on the right track with the SHARP program said Army Secretary John McHugh during the annual SHARP summit in March.

He said the conference was an effective venue to reinforce SHARP training and share prevention strategies, messages and ideas. Adding the Army will continue to combat the issues of sexual harassment and assault in military ranks.

“The fact that this sexual assault still occurs in our ranks is heartbreaking, and it’s anti-ethical to everything we value in this institution. And, at the risk of stating the obvious, it is simply unacceptable,” McHugh said.

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