Uniformed Airmen and Guardians who experience sexual harassment now have the option to file a restricted or unrestricted report with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) office to access advocacy services and supportive referrals.
This change now allows members to seek support services for both sexual harassment and sexual assault from one office.
Brig. Gen. Debra A. Lovette, Director, Integrated Resilience, said the new policy reflects the Department of the Air Force’s commitment to expanding support for victims, and strengthening a culture of respect, dignity, and honor for all who serve.
“Sexual harassment does not reflect who we are as an organization and has no place in the military. For service members victimized by this harmful behavior, it can be crippling, preventing them from coming forward out of fear of further harassment or the perceived lack of support from their leaders, or co-workers. This new policy will allow service members to make a report confidentially, if they choose, while still receiving support and care from their Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or SAPR Victim Advocate,” said Lovette.
The new policy, which took effect September 30, expands services to DAF military members who are sexual harassment victims and implements FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act and Independent Review Commission requirements. The Equal Opportunity (EO) Program will continue to process and track military sexual harassment complaints.
Under the new policy, military members have two options for reporting sexual harassment to the SAPR office:
- Unrestricted Report - This reporting option allows a service member to report sexual harassment to a SARC or SAPR VA and receive victim advocacy services from that office. This reporting option will result in the SARC or SAPR VA notifying the victim’s commander and the installation EO office to initiate an investigation (or clarification report via EO complaint processes) of the sexual harassment allegation(s).
- Restricted Report - This reporting option allows a service member to confidentially report sexual harassment to a SARC or SAPR VA and receive victim advocacy services from that office. This reporting option does not trigger an investigation or notification to the service member's command or installation EO office, unless there is written consent from the service member or, if there is a clear and present risk to the health and safety to the service member or another person, as determined by the servicing legal office.
SAPR victim advocacy services for sexual harassment do not replace Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) complaint processes. Military members may choose to elect an unrestricted report with the SAPR program to receive victim advocacy services, such as crisis intervention, safety assessments and counseling referrals, and they may also file a separate MEO complaint through the EO office.
The DAF Unlawful Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment Hotline (888-231-4058) functions as a referral line to facilitate potential EO concerns or complaints to the appropriate installation for resolution. It is not set up to provide victim assistance, advocacy, or services.