Per DoD policy, there are requirements that must be met to ensure the health and safety of survivors and to maintain unit cohesion through a positive command climate if sexual assault occurs or is reported at your unit. DoDI 6495.02 outlines in detail Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures for the Department. Additionally, each Service and National Guard Bureau (NGB) has a policy on sexual assault. Links to Service and NGB-specific policy, guidance, and resources can be found below. For additional information, you can also contact your local Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC).
Service members have two reporting options: Restricted and Unrestricted. If a Service member discloses a sexual assault to a family member, friend, peer, or someone in their chain of command, this does not automatically prevent them from making a Restricted Report, unless they disclosed to a member of law enforcement. DoD SAPRO outlines the process for both reporting options in a step-by-step guide. This guide contains important information on how to maintain a survivor’s safety and privacy throughout the reporting process. You can access the guide here.
Survivors of sexual assault shall be protected from coercion, retaliation, and reprisal in accordance with DoDI 6495.02. Retaliation can unjustly harm the lives and careers of survivors, bystanders, and responders. Retaliation has no place in the military and you must do your part to ensure an ethical and just command intolerant of such behavior. You can find more information about retaliation here. For more information about reporting resources for survivors go here.
To help ensure a comprehensive and appropriate response, DoD SAPRO has compiled a checklist of what should happen within the first 30 days of a survivor’s disclosure of sexual assault. You can access the checklist here.
Throughout the military investigative and justice process, Service members who make an Unrestricted Report of sexual assault are entitled to certain rights. To learn more about these rights, please go here.