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Sexual assault response coordinator helps all callers

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. J. LaVoie
  • 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
Unlike many base agencies, the sexual assault response coordinator's office is a one-stop shop.

No matter what service or component, one number is the right number.

"We are truly joint," said Peggy Moore-McCoy, the SARC here. "We are not dividing ourselves. We will never say 'I can't help you.' We have victim advocates from every branch. No matter who you are, you can call and you will get help."

Officials said it is important that when a stressful event happens on a base where members from different services often work side-by-side, no one is told they've called the wrong agency.

"If you need help, you shouldn't have to think," said Ms. Moore-McCoy. "You should just call the SARC. No matter who calls the number, we respond -- military, civilians, contractors, even family members. Once we respond, we then offer services based on who they are. People need to think 'I'm going to call the SARC and let them help me from there.'"

After the initial call, the SARC can offer as much or as little help as the victim would like. Ms. Moore-McCoy said she has even offered advice on how to handle complaints that did not fall under the SARC's purview.

However, the SARC can also help victims receive medical care through the military or a civilian doctor.

Depending on the type of report, the SARC, or a victim advocate, can assist through the investigation and legal process, no matter if it is military or civilian authorities.

If victims choose to file a report, "we can help them navigate the process and be there for support through the investigation," Ms. Moore-McCoy said. "We can stay with them through the legal process and help them understand their choices and rights. No matter who else closes the case, our case is never closed until our client, our survivor, says 'thank you, I'm done.' Not until that person says so."

Military victims can file two types of reports.

The first is a restricted report. Under restricted reporting, no investigation is triggered, the victims information is kept confidential, and the chain of command is not notified. The SARC will assign a victim advocate to assist the survivor through all areas of the process, and help the survivor get the assistance and care they need, from both military and civilian services. For a report to be restricted, the victim must contact the SARC, the victim advocate, a chaplain or a medical provider, who will contact the SARC.

If a victim chooses, he or she may also file an unrestricted report, which triggers an investigation and notifies the chain of command. The SARC will still assign a victim advocate to assist the survivor through all areas of the process, and help the survivor get the needed assistance and care from both military and civilian services. For an unrestricted report, victims can notify their chain of command, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations or security forces, who will then contact the SARC.

Anyone needing information or wanting to report an incident should contact their base SARC.