Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in our society and in the Military. While the Department of Defense (DoD) prefers unrestricted reporting of sexual assaults to activate law enforcement actions, it recognizes that some victims desire only medical, legal, advocate, and support services and no command or law enforcement involvement. DoD believes its first priority is to protect the victims; treat them with dignity and respect; and to provide them with the medical treatment, legal assistance, victim assistance, care, and counseling that they deserve. Under DoD's Confidentiality Policy, sexual assault victims are offered two reporting options: restricted reporting and unrestricted reporting.
Understanding DOD's Restricted Reporting Policy
DOD's Confidentiality Policy permits victims of sexual assault to report the crime to specified individuals who can then ensure the victim receives medical care, SARC/SHARP Specialist or VA/SHARP Specialist assistance, treatment, and counseling without notifying command or law enforcement officials. Covered individuals include the SARC/SHARP Specialist, VA/SHARP Specialist, and certain healthcare providers. For purposes of public safety and command responsibility, the SARC/SHARP Specialist will notify the senior commander that an assault has occurred and provide details that will not identify the victim.
This policy provides victims some personal space and time and increased control over the release and management of their personal information. It empowers them to seek relevant information and support to make informed decisions about whether to participate in a criminal investigation. Even if the victim chooses not to pursue an official investigation, this additional reporting avenue gives commanders a clearer picture of sexual assault trends within their command and enhances a commander's ability to provide an environment that is safe and contributes to the well-being and mission readiness of all of its members.