|By Jade Fulce, U.S. Army Installation Management
SAN ANTONIO — U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) is
recruiting and hiring new sexual assault response coordinators and
sexual assault victim advocates by October as part of the Army’s
expanded Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP)
About 100 people marched on Fort Bragg to raise awareness of
Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention in April 2012.
(Photo by Michelle Butzgy)
IMCOM will hire 135 individuals this year in support of the SHARP
program, said Ebenezer Williams Jr., IMCOM SHARP program manager.
Lt. Gen. Mike Ferriter, IMCOM commander, exempted SHARP staff from an
Armywide hiring freeze Jan. 29, calling them mission-critical.
“I am authorizing the hiring to continue … to ensure we continue to
provide programs and services in support of critical missions, national
security, safety of human life and the protection of private property,”
The SHARP program aims to reduce sexual harassment and assault by
creating a climate of respect for the dignity of every member of the
Army Family. SHARP does this by trying to reduce the stigma associated
with reporting an incident, increase prevention efforts and increase
investigation and prosecution capabilities.
“Sexual harassment and sexual assault of any type will not be
tolerated,” said Rufus Caruthers, IMCOM director of Equal Employment and
Opportunity. “It cripples the overall operation. It will not be
tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly within the command.”
Changes to the program came with the 2012 National Defense Authorization
The act requires all brigade-sized units, including IMCOM garrisons, to
have at least one full-time sexual assault response coordinator and
sexual assault victim advocate. Additional sexual assault victim
advocates may be added, depending on demographics or unit needs.
Garrison SHARP programs also can offer victims an option and continuity
of care if they choose not to use their command SHARP, said Williams.
The senior commander on the installation is ultimately responsible for
After Oct. 1, 2013, only armed forces members and Department of Defense
(DoD) civilian employees may be assigned to SHARP positions, the act
No longer will there be contracted staff after that time.
The act also made changes to training and certification for SHARP
personnel. “It is a requirement come October 1, 2013 if you are not
credentialed, then you cannot respond to a victim of sexual assault,”
said Sergio Perez, Fort Sam Houston sexual assault prevention and
response program manager.
Perez said the National Organization of Victim Assistance is responsible
for credentialing all Army sexual assault response coordinators and
sexual assault victim advocates.
In the past, IMCOM garrisons managed the sexual assault prevention and
response program under the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) in Army
Col. Nancy D. Ruffin, director of the Army FAP manager and chief of
Personal and Family Life Readiness branch emphasized that SHARP and FAP
are two separate programs with different missions.
ACS victim advocates are still providing assistance to any victim,
whether of sexual assault or of domestic violence,” Ruffin said.
After Oct. 1, any ACS victim advocate must have SHARP training and
credentials to respond to a case of sexual assault, according to Ruffin.
ACS FAP personnel will continue to respond to victims of domestic and
child abuse incidents.
Williams said in the interim there are collateral sexual assault
response coordinator and sexual assault victim advocate at every
For more information, visit
https://www.safehelpline.org or call 1-877-995-5247, the sexual
assault support for the Department of Defense community.