Dedicated to helping victims

Photo by Gustavo Bahena, Public Affairs Office

Leadership, professionals and community members of this installation came together for a ribbon cutting of a facility supporting some of the Army’s most significant programs, Feb. 27.

The ceremony unveiled the National Training Center and Fort Irwin Advocacy Center, which supports the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program, the Family Advocacy Program and Social Work services at this installation.

The center provides a comprehensive and coordinated system of care for victims of sexual assault, domestic assault and domestic abuse, stated Maj. Robyn Boehringer – program manager for SHARP and the Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness program here.

The center was created through partnerships with SHARP, FAP, United States Army Medical Department Activity, Criminal Investigation Division, Installation Management Command and the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, said Boehringer. The consolidation of medical care, legal support, family advocacy and SHARP services streamlines the reporting process for victims. It allows victims a safe environment to interact with advocates as they explore reporting options, meet response personnel, and coordinate needed referrals and appointments. A CID/Special Victim Counsel interview room is also on-site in order to facilitate the investigative and legal process.

At the ceremony, Lt. Col. Graham Swenson, acting commander for Fort Irwin United States Army Garrison, spoke to an audience of leadership and representatives of various units and organizations here.

“In my 20 years, I have to tell you this is the first time that I’ve actually ever seen this kind of effort put into helping [those who]are unfortunately the victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault,” Swenson said.

Boehringer went on to emphasize the team effort involved in establishing the center and acknowledged the severity of the problem being addressed.

“We have a domestic and sexual assault problem in our society, not only in the Army,” Boehringer said. “I am completely amazed with the dedication and focus that the residents of Fort Irwin put toward eliminating these issues from our community and ensuring that individuals receive responsive care and support. The opening of the NTC and Fort Irwin Advocacy Center signifies this community’s dedication to helping people in need and the efforts of the professionals who work within this center is truly phenomenal.”

The center is located in building 180, next to the Mary Walker Clinic, and is within walking distance of emergency medical care, behavioral health support and legal services, according to Boehringer. Full- time SHARP and FAP victim advocates are available to perform an initial assessment of client needs to identify needed resources and ensure that proper referrals are made. The center is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for victims to meet with response personnel.