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SAPR Program assists victims, spreads awareness

Jacinta Howell, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) victim advocate, talks with Airman 1st Class Brianna Warmbier, 23d Medical Group medical logistics technician, Nov. 13, 2019, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Howell works alongside sexual assault victims to provide them with recovery resources. The SAPR program is a wing commander’s program that was put in place to support sexual assault victims through victim advocacy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

Jacinta Howell, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) victim advocate, talks with Airman 1st Class Brianna Warmbier, 23d Medical Group medical logistics technician, Nov. 13, 2019, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Howell works alongside sexual assault victims to provide them with recovery resources. The SAPR program is a wing commander’s program that was put in place to support sexual assault victims through victim advocacy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jasmine M. Barnes)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Sexual assault victims may feel like their power has been taken away from them, but the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program helps victims gain that power back.

Moody’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) team supports victims of sexual assault providing them with information, resources and options regarding the next steps to regain their power.

“The SAPR program assists sexual assault victims and spreads sexual assault awareness,” said Jacinta Howell, a SAPR victim advocate here. “The SAPR program is a wing commander’s program that was started in 2005 ran by the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC).”

SAPR’s main mission is to assist victims once an unfortunate incident has happened, but the SAPR office also produces ways to communicate the importance of sexual assault prevention.

“A lot of the prevention efforts are handled by violence prevention programs, but we do some prevention in the form of commander’s calls, First Term Airmen Course briefs, newcomers’ briefs and events, and giveaways and activities in the month of April, which is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month,” Howell said.

For Airman 1st Class Brianna Warmbier, 23d Medical Group medical logistics technician and sexual assault survivor, the SAPR program has provided her with life-changing assistance.

“I was initially stationed in Alaska, and a couple days after I was assaulted someone said, ’Hey you should go to the SAPR office. They have a lot of resources for you,’” Warmbier said. “I met up with the SAPR office there, and I don’t think I would be here today without them.”

In 2013, the SAPR office introduced the role of victim advocates, and their job is to provide victims information regarding medical, legal and support resources, explain unrestricted and restricted reporting and support victims in ways such as attending appointments or courts martial and being someone who victims can confidentially talk with.

An unrestricted report differs from a restricted report due to the fact that victims utilize unrestricted reports if they wish to move forward with an official investigation, and their chain of command is notified, but restricted reports are confidentially disclosed.

“If they want to permanently change stations (PCS) to another installation to get closer to a support system or away from the alleged offender, I sit down with them and explain exactly how the expedited transfer process works,” Howell said. “I walk them through the steps on how to file that request.”

Warmbier said a VA sat down with her and provided her with all of the help she needed, including books, contact information for other resources and a listening ear.

Warmbier said the VA also explained her options, the difference between unrestricted and restricted reports, and they helped her complete an expedited transfer, an option that comes with unrestricted reporting to transfer to another base in hopes of getting away from the alleged offender and event area.

In addition to briefing leadership and providing information, victim advocates at the SAPR office checks in with victims until victims state they do not need their services anymore.

“We have a meeting each month called a Case Management Group Meeting with the wing vice commander, SARC, VA, the Office of Special Investigations, legal office, Special Victim’s Counsel, the chaplain, a mental health representative and the victims’ leadership, where we cover all of the unrestricted cases that we have open,” Howell said. “We discuss the progress of the cases and how the victims are doing and coping with the situation.”

From Warmbier’s perspective, the Case Management Group Meeting is fully preparing leaders to take on the responsibilities of supporting and caring for an Airman in their unit who’s going through something negative.

While educating leadership and other important members of the base, the SAPR office’s primary objective is to ensure victims are being taken care of through every step of the response and recovery process.

“Any source of help that you need [after an assault] is through the SAPR office according to my personal experience,” Warmbier said.

The VA and SARC are in the SAPR office from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but they are available for emergency response 24/7 at 229-257-7272.