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.


 
 

 
U.S. Army IMCOM photo by Amanda S. Rodriguez

Civilian mentor program shapes Army installation management’s future

U.S. Army IMCOM photo by Amanda S. Rodriguez U.S. Army Installation Management Command mentors and mentees work on teambuilding skills, building a block tower in total silience, during the IMCOM Headquarters Centralized Mentori...
 
 
DoD

DFAS reminds DoD employees to review tax withholdings

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service gave U.S. Department of Defense employees a friendly reminder to review withholdings from their paycheck, in an email last week. If a large tax refund was received or you owed a large amount in taxes during the recent tax season, you may need to look over your federal and...
 
 

Odierno: Information, instability travel at similar speeds

ASPEN, Colo. – As the world has become more interconnected and information travels faster than ever before, it also has become more unpredictable and dangerous, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said here last night. “People now understand more about what other people might have, what they might want, how much control they want...
 

 
Gabrielle Kuholski

Post children attend Vacation Bible School week

Gabrielle Kuholski Pictured with the microphone, Colleen Sherod, 20, Vacation Bible School volunteer, emcees a review of the week’s religious lessons as VBS students hold up posters of their “Bible buddies.” The activity ...
 
 
Maranda Flynn

Seifert School-Age Center offers fun for kids, piece-of-mind for parents

Maranda Flynn Selene Ferro, 9, Jaliah Eldridge, 7, and Malachi Bergstrom, 7, build a puzzle train city in the creative play area of the first through third grade room at the Seifert School-Age Center. Creative play allows child...
 
 

Coronado National Forest fire crew assists with Oregon firefighting efforts

TUCSON, Ariz. – An initial attack firefighting crew from the Coronado National Forest has been assigned to firefighting duties on the Logging Unit Fires north of Warm Springs, Oregon. Coronado Crew 5 was ordered as a firefighting resource on July 16, 2014. The crew departed July 17, arriving at the fires on July 18. Crew...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin