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The fast track to becoming a victim advocate

April is sexual assault awareness month.

April is sexual assault awareness month.

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

The Keesler Sexual Assault Response coordinator is always in search for new victim advocates to provide support, liaison services and care to victims of sexual assault.

If an eligible Airman or Defense Department civilian is interested in joining the program, they can follow these steps to becoming a victim advocate.

  • Determine your eligibility:  Active duty, reserve and National Guard Airmen in active status are eligible. For enlisted, senior airmen or above who are 21 years old or older are eligible. Officers must be at least a first lieutenant. Also, DOD civilians with the grade of GS-07 or higher are eligible. Personnel assigned to the judge advocate office, chaplain office, equal opportunity office, security forces, inspector general staff and some medical center clinics are not eligible for the program due to potential conflict of interest. Individuals on G-Series orders, first sergeants and chief master sergeants are also ineligible to serve.

  • Fill out an application: Request and complete an application from the SAPR office. The application must be approved by the applicant’s supervisor and commander and vetted through security forces.

  • Schedule an Interview: Once the application is completed and returned, the applicant must request an interview from the SAPR office. All interviews are conducted by a SAPR office staff panel.

  • Complete the training: The applicant must complete the victim advocate 40 hour training course conducted twice a year. The five day training will give an outline of the SAPR program while also providing the roles of being a victim advocate, procedures for other agencies involved, reporting procedures and communication skills needed to help those utilizing the program.

  • Apply for a certification: At the end of training the applicant must apply for the DOD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program. This board meets four times a year and once the applicant is certified their credentials will last for two years.

  • Continue education: While being a victim advocate, each member must attend monthly meetings and training and accumulate 32 hours of continuing education every two years for re-certification.

For more information or to start the application process stop by the SAPR office in Dolan Hall, building 4116, Room 156 or call 228-377-8638.