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Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Carlos Del Toro signed a new policy, June 9, expanding available support services for victims of sexual harassment.
Effective immediately, uniformed military personnel who experience sexual harassment are eligible to receive the range of support options available to victims of sexual assault through the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program. The new policy implements requirements of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act and Independent Review Commission recommendations.
Victims of sexual harassment now have the option to receive crisis intervention, safety assessments, counseling resources, victim advocacy support and to discuss reporting options with SAPR personnel.
The policy clarifies that while victims of sexual harassment may receive victim support services from SAPR Program Office, the Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) Program will continue to process and track military sexual harassment complaints. Additionally, in accordance with the DON No Wrong Door policy, a victim of sexual harassment may contact any victim care and support office to receive services or, with the victim’s permission, receive a warm hand-off to the appropriate service provider.
In guidance on 14 September 2022, the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness directed the Secretaries of the Military Departments to develop an execution strategy to make sexual harassment victims eligible for sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) services. The policy applies to all victims of sexual harassment who are uniformed Service members within the DON, specifically: Active and Reserve Components to include cadets and midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy (USNA) and the Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS), as well as the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps.