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SAPR orientation provides cohesion across Air Force

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James met with various
sexual assault prevention and response coordinators from each Air Force major command to discuss her priorities Aug. 1, 2014, in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. James presented the coordinators coins in recognition of their efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Verhegyi)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James met with various sexual assault prevention and response coordinators from each Air Force major command to discuss her priorities Aug. 1, 2014, in the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. James presented the coordinators coins in recognition of their efforts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jim Verhegyi)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response coordinators from each Air Force major command attended the first three-day orientation and training here, July 29 -31, to discuss issues and innovations with Air Force SAPR top leaders and subject matter experts.

“The purpose of this training was to bring all MAJCOM (program managers) together to expound on their roles and responsibilities to their commanders and installation SARCs,” said Debbie Allen, the Headquarters Air Force chief of SAPR operations. “This level of leadership is essential to program management and case consultation. In addition, this relationship provides opportunity to monitor program compliance and recommendations to leadership regarding improving climate to help eliminate sexual assault.”

The training consisted of several group discussions, education and training workshops and focus on different tools and resources available. An off-site visit to a Department of Defense community partner; Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network; was conducted to provide additional information about resources available to survivors.

On the final day of training, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James spoke with the major command SARCs to discuss her priorities, and get input from the coordinators.

“You guys are extremely important to this overall effort,” James said. “The best ideas frequently come from the front line, so please bring new ideas forward.”

She spoke to the SARCs about the importance of collaboration and partnerships with various agencies including Air Force Office of Special Investigations, legal and equal employment offices.

“The SARCS were very positive about this opportunity to interact and learn with each other, HAF SAPR, Secretary James and Maj. Gen. (Gina) Grosso,” Allen said. “Not only were they able to increase their knowledge on the subject matter, but they were able to share their concerns, needs and provided valuable input from the field to better inform the continued development of the Air Force SAPR program.”

The discussions from the training have driven the idea to develop a semi-monthly newsletter from the headquarters to the MAJCOM level, which will share the latest information and way ahead from partner agencies, as well as the development of a SARC office operations manual.

“My assessment after (my) first seven months is that we’re making good progress, but it doesn’t mean we’re done,” James said. “Don’t ever feel that you’re in this by yourselves. The ultimate goal is that we want to get rid of sexual assault completely from our Air Force. Thank you for being on the front lines of this war.”

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