Army

October 25, 2013

Special Victims Advocate Program available for sexual assault victims

Tags:
Maranda Flynn
Staff writer

The Army’s judge advocate general is launching the Special Victims Advocate Program, or SVAP, that will provide a legal assistance attorney to assist qualifying victims of sexual assault throughout the investigation and judicial process, beginning Nov. 1. The implementation of a legal advocacy program in each service will provide victims with additional rights, protections and legal support.

In a continued effort to minimize sexual harassment and assault in the military, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the implementation of a legal advocacy program in each service that will provide victims with additional rights, protections and legal support.

In response, The Army’s judge advocate general is launching the Special Victims Advocate Program, or SVAP, that will provide a legal assistance attorney to assist qualifying victims of sexual assault throughout the investigation and judicial process, beginning Nov. 1. The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Huachuca will have two trained special victim advocates, or SVAs.

Capt. Sam Silerio, a certified SVA, explained that a key benefit of the program is the empowerment victims will feel knowing they have their own attorney advocating for them and supporting them from pre-reporting, through the investigation, and even beyond any court martial process. “This new program is definitely groundbreaking for us because victims will now have the option to have their SVA with them whenever they are questioned by the military police or the Criminal Investigation Division, and the SVA may be present at any judicial hearings or courts-martial proceedings as well,” Silerio said.

The SVAP also provides another avenue for victims of sexual assault to make a restricted report.

Victims can consult with an SVA, share their concerns, and then make an informed decision as to how to proceed. Generally, communications between a victim and a SVA will be protected by attorney-client privilege.

“Now, victims will have their own attorney, advocating solely for his or her best interest,” Silerio explained. “Ultimately, with the advice of counsel, a victim will be better able to determine the best course of action for the victim to take.”

All SVAs will attend training at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Va.

Training includes in-depth instruction on interviewing and talking to victims of traumatic events, and instruction on military rules of evidence specifically pertaining to admitting evidence of victims’ pasts. It also includes briefings on the counterintuitive behavior of victims, and scenarios that detail the role of a SVA throughout the judicial process and post trial, while maintaining an interpersonal and empathetic relationship.

In its initial phase, the program has an expected initial operational capability date of Nov. 1. It should be fully operational Jan. 1, 2014.

“Issues that we foresee include the possible overlap in duties between the victim witness liaisons, the unit victim advocates, sexual assault response coordinators, and now the special victim advocates. Once that process is streamlined, and we coordinate our efforts, it will be a great program and resource for victims,” said Silerio.

Qualifying victims who are eligible to receive special victims advocate services include active duty military personnel, dependants, retired military personnel and retired military dependants. Services are not available to those 17 and under. Services are also not available to civilians who otherwise would not be eligible to receive military legal assistance services.

To discuss special victims advocate services, visit the Legal Assistance Division of the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 2387 Hatfield Road, Building 51102, or call 533.2009 to make an appointment with a SVA.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
haynes3_62415_lakosil

Family, faith, focus Resiliency helps Soldier heal from extensive combat wounds

Maj. Jeremy Haynes, Warrior Transition Brigade, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Maryland, and wife Chelsea speak with Capt. Kate Degategno, Alpha Company, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, in Alvarado Hall, F...
 
 
U.S. Army Photo by Lisa Tourtelot

RWBAHC welcomes new top doc to command

U.S. Army Photo by Lisa Tourtelot Lt. Col. Edgar Arroyo, the new commander of Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center, accepts the command colors from Maj. Gen. Thomas Tempel, the commanding general of Western Regional Medical Comm...
 
 
Photo by Capt. Bee Vengthisane

Signal Soldiers celebrate regimental birthday at Fort Hood

FORT HOOD, Texas– Signaleers from Fort Hood and other installations around the country, celebrated the 155th Signal Regimental Corps birthday June 22-25 here. Signal week is a time when Soldiers in the Signal Corps reflec...
 

 

Sparks fly when fireworks are lit — know safety rules

During tomorrow’s July 4th celebration, sparks will fly as people light fireworks. It’s wildfire season, and misuse of fireworks can start a fire which could have devastating effects on the community. When using approved fireworks, be cognizant of the surroundings. The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2011, fires started by fireworks caused an...
 
 
U.S. Army photo

Military Intelligence – Moment in MI history

More aerial intelligence systems used during Vietnam War During the Vietnam War, the Army possessed three distinct aerial intelligence capabilities. The U-6 Beaver fixed-wing airborne radio-direction finding (ARDF) platform was...
 
 
305thCeremony_6.26

305th Military Intelligence Battalion Change of Command Ceremony

Incoming Commander, Lt. Col. Jorge A. Arredondo, takes command of the 305th Military Intelligence Battalion during the passing of the colors at the change of command ceremony Friday.   Fort Huachuca’s 305th Military Inte...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>