The Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office awarded Dr. Mamie Futrell of Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, the Air Force exceptional Sexual Assault Response Coordinator of the Year, and the Air Force awarded Elenah Kelly of Pope Army Air Field, North Carolina, the Exceptional SAPR Victim Advocate of the Year and the SAPR Program at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, the Exceptional Team Award for 2018.
Futrell began her work early last year as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager for the 628th Air Base Wing, 437th Airlift Wing, 315th Airlift Wing and other mission partners at Joint Base Charleston. In her short tenure, Futrell proved invaluable restoring a SAPR program that had an unusually high turnover rate while fulfilling dual roles as SARC and Victim Advocate. In the past year, she more than tripled the advocacy pool with 22 volunteer victim advocates. Futrell also developed local standardized procedures for processing new cases and created comprehensive training exercises to equip commanders and first sergeants with the tools necessary to respond and manage sexual assault cases. She also prepared more than a hundred senior non-commissioned officers to be frontline responders with professional enhancement seminars that also focused on providing sexual assault victims with recovery support.
As a SAPR victim advocate, Kelly trained all new commanders for their role in victim care and sexual assault response processes, ensuring leaders were well-versed on the processes for creating a safe and responsive environment. To help provide guidance, Kelly created a leader’s continuity binder to make certain all response services are gender-inclusive, culturally competent and recovery oriented. She worked closely with the Equal Opportunity Office to address the culture climate within units and was part of an improvement team that addressed a high-risk unit.
As a result of her efforts, complaints and referrals in sexual assault cases decreased, and a number of units received excellent scores in sexual assault climate surveys. In addition, the surveys indicated an above-average number of Air Force employees had trust that leadership would take their assault complaints seriously, and take appropriate action. Kelly also spearheaded outreach efforts, orchestrating the first annual Army/Air Force SAPR 5K Run/Walk, partnering with other agencies and volunteers. The event brought out 600 participants and was featured in the local newspaper, expanding visibility of the SAPR program and fostering morale.
The SAPR Program at Hill AFB consistently provided exceptional guidance to leaders on best practices for victim support, as well as training for the processes involved in sexual assault cases. The Hill team refined a SAPR Commander’s Guide to assist leaders in providing gender inclusive, culturally competent and recovery oriented services. They also streamlined case management with structured procedures, templates and checklists to ensure efficiency and consistency, and created a Case Management Group Manual to ensure proper guidelines are followed.
Hill’s SAPR program continued its proactive networking with other military and civilian organizations to increase awareness of trends, upcoming events and support for sexual assault victims. They were also part of a three-county sexual assault response team, providing details on DoD policy and reporting options, thus ensuring victims’ rights. Reaching out to sexual assault victims, the Hill’s SAPR team facilitated an art therapy group that offered an empowering and creative forum for working through trauma. In addition, the SAPR program gained support from leadership to produce a series of public service announcements, including a video series featuring television celebrities filmed exclusively at Hill AFB.
Each of these award winners demonstrated an unyielding commitment to partner with their leaders to create safe climates for all Airmen. In addition, their expertise, creativity, and teamwork helped to strengthen community awareness on this topic and resulted in landmark initiatives, which encouraged Airmen to seek help when needed. The programs and activities outlined in the above paragraphs represent only a small sample of the great work of the winners of the 2018 Exceptional Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Awards, and the efforts of all SAPR offices throughout the Total Force.
Sexual assault is a challenge the Air Force is determined to overcome. With the help of its SAPR teams and Victim Advocates, the Air Force is committed to eliminating sexual assault, while promoting a culture of respect and dignity for Airmen and their families.
POINT OF CONTACT.
Rebecca Ward, Public Affairs Analyst, Integrated Resilience Office, HAF Room 5E960, 703-695-6235