Resource support

Army creates centralized sexual assault reporting zone to better support victims

In a continued attempt to tackle the epidemic of sexual assault within its ranks, the military is rolling out a new pilot program that will centralize resources for victims for a more comprehensive response.

The military is promoting its Fusion leadership as a new approach to helping victims of sexual assault and harassment.

“It is intended to increase accountability, transparency and efficiency by coordinating all elements of a victim response, including victim advocates, medical providers, law enforcement investigators and prosecutors. criminal under a single direction, “said Col. Kelly Webster, deputy director of the military. Direction of resilience. “Fusion will synchronize and, in some cases, co-locate these support services, either physically or virtually. It will be easier for victims to get the help they need and to enable them to navigate what can be an emotional and complex process, from the time they make an initial report until the case is resolved. cases and long-term care and recovery.

The physical centers will operate outside the victims’ chains of command, in order to separate conflicts of interest.

The military will pilot the program at six bases: Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Irwin in California, Fort Riley in Kansas and Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

“These pilot locations were selected to represent a wide range of sizes and types of military facilities,” said Webster. “We also took into account the findings of the RAND Corporation’s analysis of the risks of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military, while taking into account that these facilities had the resources to support a pilot on each site. “

The Army Reserve will pilot a virtual fusion directorate under the 99e The New Jersey Readiness Division and National Guard are in the process of developing their own program based on the needs of the state.

The pilot projects will run until spring 2022, then will be evaluated by management.

Soldiers will still have the option of going to a commander or reporting assaults to a civilian body. The military believes that Fusion will be another asset for soldiers to interact with sexual assault and harassment prevention and response personnel in one location.

After high-profile killings and assaults on soldiers, the military is revising its sexual harassment and assault response and prevention program.

“It’s basically about going back to square one, starting with the mission analysis of the fundamental requirements of a program and creating options to improve the program in the future,” said James Helis, director of the Army Resilience Directorate, in April. .

The military has said Project Fusion is just one of many changes it has planned in the years to come. It was a recommendation of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee. However, that review included 70 recommendations that the service is working on.

Meanwhile, Congress is changing the way sexual assault and other crimes are handled in the military. The Senate version of the 2022 Defense Authorization Bill proposes to create an independent prosecutor to deal with non-military crimes.

The Department of Defense is also implementing the recommendations of its independent review of sexual assault in the military.

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