Fort McCoy News December 12, 2014

SHARP Program available 24/7; hotline updated

The U.S. Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program is available to the Fort McCoy community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, simply by dialing the new SHARP Hotline number at 608-388-3000.

Fort McCoy Garrison Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) Jamie Cram, said the new hotline number is specifically dedicated to the installation SHARP Program. The SHARP program and SARC position are aligned with the Army Community Service at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

Photo for SHARP article

"Sexual harassment and sexual assault violate everything the U.S. Army stands for including our Army Values and Warrior Ethos," according to the Army SHARP Program mission statement. "The Army is aggressively addressing sexual assaults by first focusing on prevention through education and training. Army leaders encourage reporting and work hard to reduce the stigma associated with sexual violence."

Once reported, the Army focuses on care for victims and holds thorough investigations and prosecutions to hold offenders accountable. The Army also continually assesses the effectiveness of its SHARP efforts to ensure the Army is meeting the needs of the Soldiers, Department of Defense (DOD) civilians, Family members and the nation.

Cram said reporting sexual assault can be difficult for the victims. Sexual assault victims should:

• Find a safe environment away from the attacker; ask a trusted friend to stay with you for moral support.

• Preserve evidence of the attack. Do not bathe or brush your teeth; write down all the details you can recall about the attack and the attacker(s).

• Get medical attention. Even with no physical injuries, it is important to determine the risks of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

• Preserve forensic evidence; ask the hospital to conduct a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam.

• Ask that a urine sample be collected if you suspect you may have been drugged. The sample will need to be analyzed by a forensic lab.

A sexual assault may be reported as either restricted or unrestricted.

With a restricted report, the victim can confidentially disclose and report a sexual assault to a SARC, victim advocate (VA), or military health care provider (HCP), Cram said. The victim can also confidentially communicate with a chaplain, special victim advocate (SVA), or legal assistance. The victim will have access to medical treatment, including emergency care, counseling and assignment of a SARC and VA, without triggering an official investigation or prosecution of the alleged offender.

According to Cram, if the victim chooses to file a restricted report, the victim can change it to an unrestricted report at any time.

If the victim tells someone outside of the restricted reporting chain (e.g., a friend, Family member, roommate, battle buddy or others), then he or she can still elect to submit a restricted report; however, if the person(s) to whom the victim confided the information is in the victim's officer or non-commissioned officer chain of command, or DOD law enforcement, there can be no restricted report. Also, if the person(s) to whom the victim confided the information in reports the incident to the chain of command or law enforcement, an official investigation will be initiated.

To file restricted reporting, call the hotline at 608-388-3000, the Fort McCoy SHARP SARC at 608-388-8989, or any SARC or VA. VAs are available 24/7.

In filing an unrestricted report, the victim can disclose that he or she is the victim of a sexual assault to a SARC, VA, military health care provider, command authorities, police, or others, Cram said. The victim will have access to medical treatment and counseling, support, and consideration for protection and expedited (permanent or temporary) transfers.

In completing an unrestricted report, the SARC, VA, HCP, chain of command, and law enforcement, will be notified that the crime occurred.

An official investigation will be triggered and the alleged offender may be prosecuted. All unrestricted reports must be referred to the Army Criminal Investigation Detachment, regardless of severity, in accordance with DOD Instruction 5505.18.

Once the victim files an unrestricted report, he or she cannot change to a restricted report, Cram said. If at any time a victim declines to participate in an investigation or prosecution, that decision should be honored by commanders, investigators, and all other personnel involved in the case.

To file an unrestricted report and to pursue an investigation, notify the SARC, VA, the police, or your chain of command.

Victims also can get help by contacting the DOD Safe Helpline by calling 877-995-5247, or by going online to https://www.safehelpline.org/information-on-rape-in-the-military and opening a chat session.

For more on the SHARP program at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-8989 or on the DOD Professional Forum: https://www.milsuite.mil/book/groups/fort-mccoy-sharp.

(Article prepared by the Fort McCoy SHARP program and the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.)