By Tony Korol-Evans, PhD
Division Coordinator and Acting MCASA Program Supervisor
The Air Force is leading the way in serving victims of military-related sexual trauma yet again. This time, however, it is Air Force civilians who have been assaulted who are receiving the benefit of the Air Force’s victim-centered, trauma-informed thinking as they will now have the same resources available to them as uniformed airmen.
Previously, Air Force civilian employees were referred to off-base help, such as local Rape Crisis Centers (RCCs). Civilians were also only allowed to file unrestricted reports, which automatically trigger an investigation. Under the new policy, Air Force civilians will also be able to file a restricted report, which will allow them to receive services without an investigation.
More information on the new Air Force policy can be found in the Air Force Times' coverage
of these issues.
The Air Force does not anticipate the need to hire any additional personnel in order to provide this service. It is unclear whether the Air Force believes that there will not be additional reports, but rather a similar number of reports split between the two reporting options or whether there are already enough personnel in place to handle an increased volume of people needing services. In either case, the Air Force appears prepared to serve the civilians, whatever the costs might be for services.
Previously, the Air Force was the pilot program for the now military-wide Special Victims Counsel (SVC for Air Force, Army, and Coast Guard)/Victims Legal Counsel (VLC for Navy and Marines), which allows victims to receive confidential legal services. The SVC and VLC programs are a military equivalent to the crime victims’ rights counsel that the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s (MCASA) Sexual Assault Legal Institute (SALI) provides, and in some cases, SVCs and VLCs are able to participate more fully in the process than non-military attorneys can.
This article was featured in the Fall 2015 issue