In October 2015, the Air Force released a five-year Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) strategy to help guide the Air Force in developing a strong prevention model while continually improving sexual assault response capabilities.
Those eligible to use Air Force SAPR support services include active duty, Reserve and National Guard members and their dependents 18 and older who are eligible for treatment in the military health system, and Air Force civilian employees.
For a Reserve base such as March ARB, which counts each of the aforementioned eligible members amongst its personnel, wide-ranging response capabilities are critical to ensuring personnel receive the support they need should an incident occur on or off the installation whether they are in military or civilian status.
“Our members live all over, in Los Angeles, San Diego, the Murrieta-Temecula area and even as far as the Palm desert,” said Frank Pavone, 452nd AMW Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC).
Pavone serves as the installation's primary point of contact for integrating and coordinating sexual assault victim care services for eligible recipients. In an effort to expand that role, Pavone started a community outreach program in an effort to bring local community crisis centers and civilian SARC teams into the fold.
“Our role is to provide support to the victim for any kind of emotional, psychological or physical problems, so that’s why I have been focusing on these collaborations.” Pavone said. “These centers can provide assistance 24-7 with cases and advocacy in situations where the member is in civilian status, thus giving us the ability to offer support to the victim even if it is outside military jurisdiction.”
With most of the personnel on March being in civilian status more often than in military status, Pavone said the outreach helps the victim understand all the paths to care that are available to them.
“It is important for the victim to know that even if the military doesn’t have jurisdiction, that they have a full range of support both here on the base and in the area where they live while in civilian status,” said Pavone. “Because of this network we are trying to establish, the various SARC teams will now know about our program at March and can let the victim know they can seek additional support through us. Some victims may not know they can turn to us when an incident occurs while in civilian status, this program helps them to understand there is another avenue for support.”
Additionally, the outreach program helps to make sure that if an incident falls under military jurisdiction, but the victim sought support at an off-base facility, that the center now knows who to contact in order to get the evidence transferred.
“These relationships are key,” said Pavone. “The centers and SARC personnel start to feel more comfortable calling you when they have a question or need information, and in turn, I am able to reach out to them for assistance with training for personnel when needed.”
The Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center (RARCC), a non-profit organization committed to supporting sexual assault survivors and their families, is one of the centers in the network that offers classes and training.
“We offer free self-defense workshops for women the last Saturday of each month as well as support groups that meet twice a month,” said C.J. Baca, a RARCC advocate and educator. “Our educators are also promoting SAAM at our local colleges, high schools, and middle schools within Riverside County raising awareness on the prevalence of sexual assault. For more information on these events or our agency information, please contact us at (951) 686-7273 or website www.rarcc.org.”
With all the resources available to them off the installation, Pavone acknowledged that there may be an instance where a victim may feel like they don’t need to report an incident that occurred while in civilian status, but he encourages all victims of sexual assault to at least get a record of the incident annotated even if they choose not to use the base support services.
“In the future, there may be a medical condition stemming from the incident,” Pavone said. “by letting us know, we can create a record so that they may continue to access the support from the military even after leaving service.”
For more information on the 452and SAPR program, stop by the 452 AMW SARC office located at Building 317. To report a case of sexual assault, contact the March 24/7 Reporting Hotline at (951) 655-7272.