COMMANDER'S Sexual Assault VICTIM ASSISTANCE CHECKLIST
The actions in the following list are to be taken in the event of receiving a report of sexual assault. Although the commander has significant leadership responsibility for actions after a report of sexual assault, not necessarily all of the actions listed below will be taken by the commander.
- _____Ensure the physical safety of the victim. Determine if the alleged offender is still nearby and if the victim needs protection.
- _____Advise the victim of the need to preserve evidence (for example, by not bathing, showering, washing garments).
- _____Encourage the victim to report the incident and get a medical examination immediately (even if the incident occurred prior to the past 72 hours).
- _____Make appropriate administrative and logistical coordination for movement of victim to receive care. (Involve the minimum number of personnel possible and only on a need-to-know basis).
- _____Ask if the victim needs a support person (for example, a personal friend, victim advocate, chaplain) to immediately join the victim.
- _____Notify the SARC/SHARP Specialist immediately.
- _____Ensure the victim is aware of the Expected Transfer Policy
- _____Ensure the victim is aware of the right to legal counsel that is separate from the prosecution
- _____Notify the chaplain if the victim requests pastoral counseling or assistance.
- _____Notify the Criminal Investigation Command, military police, installation provost marshal (per AR 195–1, paragraph 6), and commanders in the chain of command (as appropriate) within 24 hours (as soon as the victim’s safety is established and victim’s medical treatment procedures are in motion) and:
- ___Limit the details regarding the incident to only those personnel who have a legitimate need to know.
- ___Take action to safeguard the victim from any formal or informal investigative interviews or inquiries, except by those personnel who may have a “need to know,” including but not limited to, the Criminal Investigation Command investigator(s) and the trial counsel.
- ___Collect only the necessary information (for example, victim’s identity, location and time of the incident, name and/or description of alleged offender(s)). Do not ask detailed questions and/or pressure the victim for responses.
- _____Ensure the victim is made aware of, and is encouraged to exercise their options during each phase of the medical, investigative, and legal processes.
- _____Ensure the CID notifies victims and witnesses of their rights through a completed Victims and Witnesses of Crime form, DD Form 2701. (Reference AR 27–10).
- _____Inform the victim of the resources in theater that are available through the Victim and Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) (AR 27–10). Also, inform the victim of resources accessible from anywhere in the world (that is, DOD Safe Helpline - Sexual Assault Support for the DOD Community (http://www.safehelpline.org// or 1-877-995-5247) – 24/7 globally; or Military One Source offers real help, anytime, anywhere. A master's level consultant will speak to victims who are eligible for this service at no charge, 24/7/365.
CONUS call 1.800-342-9647. International calling information to Military One Source is found at http://www.militaryonesource.mil/MOS/f?p=MOS:CONTENT:0::::SV,UT,LG,CID,TID,CT,COHE:,,EN,,,,261798. You can also dial collect internationally to 703-253-7599. 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week)).
- _____Provide emotional support to the victim, including:
- ___Throughout the investigation, consult with the victim and, to the extent practicable, accommodate the victim’s wishes, as long as a full and complete investigation is not compromised.
- ___Listen/engage in quiet support of the victim, as needed. Be available in the weeks and months following the sexual assault, and ensure the victim that she/he can rely on the commander’s support.
- ___Emphasize to the victim the availability of additional avenues of support; refer to available counseling groups and other victim services.
- ___Confer with the commander’s legal representative and/or servicing SJA office to consider legal options, responsibilities (for example, pretrial restraint, military protective order), and appropriate disposition of the alleged offense.
- ___If the alleged offender is a foreign national or from a coalition force, confer with SJA on responsibilities, options, and victim’s rights (in theater).
- ___Determine the best courses of action for separating the victim and the alleged offender during the investigation:
- Determine whether the victim desires to be transferred to another unit. If so, this must be handled in accordance with Defense Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) 11-063 (Expedited Transfer of Military Service Members Who File Unrestricted Reports of sexual assault) and Army Directive 2011-19 (Expedited Transfer or Reassignment Procedures for Victims of sexual assault).
- It is Army policy that there is a presumption in favor of transferring or reassigning a sexual assault victim, at his/her request, following that victim’s credible report of sexual assault. Commanders and civilian leaders are to consider requests for transfer or reassignment in an expedited manner. This policy applies to all Soldiers who report being the victim of a sexual assault. For any number of reasons, some victims may not wish to remain in their current units or organizations after the sexual assault. Requiring them to remain when they have a desire to leave the unit or organization may negatively affect their safety and emotional well-being, as well as the functioning of the unit/organization. Expediting review of, and action on, a victim’s request for transfer or reassignment is an important component of a leader’s response to a credible report of sexual assault. The victim’s request can only be disapproved by the first general officer in the chain of command or his/her (general officer/senior executive service) designee.
- Determine if the alleged offender needs/desires to be transferred to another unit.
- Consider whether a Military Protective Order (MPO) (DD Form 2873), referred to as “no contact order,” is appropriate.
- Coordinate with sexual assault response agencies and the chain of command (involve as few people as possible and only on a need to know basis, protecting the victim’s privacy) to determine if the victim’s condition warrants redeployment or reassignment until there is a final legal disposition of the sexual assault case and/or the victim is no longer in danger. To the extent practicable, preferential consideration related to the reassignment should be based on the victim’s desires.
- _____Flag (suspend favorable personnel actions) any Soldier under charges, restraint, or investigation for sexual assault in accordance with AR 600–8–2 (Suspension of Favorable Actions), and suspend the Soldier’s security clearance in accordance with AR 380–67, The Department of the Army Personnel Security Program.
- _____Determine how to best dispose of the victim’s collateral misconduct. Absent overriding considerations, commanders should consider exercising their authority in appropriate cases to defer disciplinary actions for the victim’s misconduct until after the final disposition of the sexual assault case.
- _____Update the battalion or higher-level commander on the status of the victim and alleged offender(s) within 14 calendar days, and on a monthly basis thereafter, until the case is officially closed. If the victim or alleged offender is transferred or redeployed prior to the case closing, coordinate with investigative and SJA personnel before ceasing monthly updates on parties involved.
- _____Update the victim on a monthly basis on the sexual assault investigation until its final disposition. Furthermore, initiate follow-up with the victim within 45 days after disposition of the case.
- _____Consult with the servicing legal office, criminal investigative organization, and notify the assigned victim advocate prior to taking any administrative action affecting the victim.
- _____Ensure unit personnel are abreast of risk factors associated with sexual assault, especially those risk factors unique to the deployed environment.
Commander’s Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Checklist is also available for download in Microsoft Word format. (33kb)