Victim advocates wanted

  • Published
  • By Christine McGill
  • Sexual assault response office program technician
The Sexual Assault Response Coordinator is recruiting Air Force victim advocates to provide essential support, liaison services and care to victims of sexual assault. A training session is scheduled for Nov. 7-9 and 14 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Locker House.

Victim advocates are volunteers who must possess the maturity to assist in a sensitive situation. Only active duty military personnel and Department of Defense civilian employees selected by the SARC may serve as VAs. Personnel assigned to the judge advocate's office, the chaplain's office, the equal opportunity office, law enforcement, inspector general staff and some departments of the medical center are not eligible to serve as victim advocates due to the potential conflict of interest. Individuals on G-Series orders, first sergeants, and chief master sergeants are also ineligible to serve as VAs.

Responsibilities include providing crisis intervention, referral and ongoing non-clinical support. Non-clinical support includes providing information on available options and resources to assist the victim in making informed decisions about the case. VA services will continue until the victim states support is no longer needed.

Volunteers will rotate on call duties to ensure 24/7 coverage and must be able to respond in pairs to a call within one hour. While performing duties, the VA will report directly to the SARC. Volunteers will advise supervisors when they are performing VA duties and will be away from their duty station.

Unauthorized disclosure of a covered communication, improper release of medical information and other violations of the Air Force Policy and Guidance on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response may result in action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or administrative action.

VAs will complete a written application signed by their supervisor and commander, a personal interview with the SARC, a background check and 40 hours of training before ever assisting with on-call services.

If you are interested in becoming a victim advocate or for more information call (228)377-8635/8637/8638.