Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth recently approved Army Directive 2021-30, regarding Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention services for Department of the Army civilians.
The new policy, which was unveiled by James Helis, director of the Army Resilience Directorate, on Sept. 17, authorizes DA civilians to file unrestricted reports of sexual assault. The policy further allows the victim to receive victim advocacy services.
“Our Army civilians deserve our support if they are victims of a sexual assault,” Helis said in his announcement. “We ask our Army civilians to support the prevention of sexual assault, to take sexual assault training, and to intervene when they can. The very least we can do is to be by their side if they themselves are the victim of sexual assault.”
Unrestricted reports allow the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division to investigate the crime with an attempt to bring the perpetrator to justice in court. The policy further states that this directive waives previous restrictions for both appropriated and non-appropriated fund employees.
Mark Francis, the U.S. Army Garrison – Fort Hood Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, believes the new policy is a step in the right direction for the Army.
“Soldiers and civilians alike deserve the support of the SHARP efforts,” he added. “We are all one family serving for one cause – to protect and support our country.”
Francis said the policy relates to DA civilians who experience sexual misconduct either on-duty or off-duty. He said the new SHARP policy also protects the DA civilians from retaliation or reprisal if they file a DD Form 2910-2. The form can only be filed if they already reported via DD Form 2910, the victim reporting preference statement.
“This includes threatening to take an unfavorable personnel action, or withholding or threatening to withhold a favorable personnel action, or any other act of retaliation, against a Soldier, civilian or family member, for making a formal complaint,” Francis said. “This can also include physical assaults, threats and damage to property.”
While announcing the new policy, Helis said perpetrators are subject to investigation and prosecution. If the Army Criminal Investigation Command does not have jurisdiction, the case will be investigated and prosecuted by civilian authorities.
“The key to success for the SHARP Program prevention efforts is for everyone to report all sexual misconduct,” Francis added, “no matter how insignificant you may think it is.”