As part of a one-year military pilot program, civilian employees are now receiving more support and assistance following sexual assault. Civilian employees can report sexual assault and request assistance through the Sexual Harassment / Assault Prevention Program and Interventions.
The pilot project, which began Jan. 5 and is expected to run for a year, allows Army Ministry civilians and unearmarked fund employees to report and seek service for sexual assault through the SHARP program.
“Civilians can report a sexual assault to SHARP using restricted or unrestricted reporting options,” said Mark Francis, SHARP / Sexual Assault Response coordinator for the US Army Garrison at Fort Hood.
Prior to the start of the pilot program, SHARP defenders could only provide training and referral services to civilian employees.
When an unrestricted report is filed, in addition to providing medical care and services to the victim, law enforcement is notified and an investigation begins.
A restricted report to a sexual assault response coordinator, victim advocate, or someone other than a law enforcement officer allows the victim to receive services while keeping the case confidential and without investigation. A restricted report can be filed at the request of the victim.
Restricted and unrestricted reporting options are available for service members and their families over the age of 18, but were only opened to civilians as part of this pilot program.
For civilians, some services are not available through military channels.
âServices do not include medical fees or legal services, unless otherwise permitted by law or policy,â Francis noted.
As an example, civilian employees who are not covered by Tricare would not be able to access medical care at the facility, but SHARP advocates could accompany a civilian to an off-post medical center for treatment, Francis added. .
âWe offer them full advocacy and accommodations,â he said. âWe will always help them get through. “
Civilians and the military can choose a lawyer to whom they wish to report, Francis said, adding that this allows a victim to report to someone outside their chain of command or oversight.
Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling the SHARP hotline at 28-SHARP or the local Fort Hood hotline at 319-4671. The Department of Defense secure hotline is 877-995-5247.
Soldiers, family members and civilians can also use the âWe Care Fort Hoodâ app on their Android or Apple devices to locate assistance.