DOD releases new instruction on sexual assault prevention

  • Published
  • By David Kellogg
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The Department of Defense further developed sexual assault prevention and response procedures by publishing “Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures” recently. 

According to DOD Instruction 6495.02, it exists “to ensure there is a standard of care throughout the Department [of Defense] … all DOD sexual assault first responders shall receive the same baseline training.” 

The instruction includes items such as a checklist that informs commanders on their responsibilities in regards to the program, provides information on case management for unrestricted reports of sexual assault and gives first responder training requirements. 

Previously, DOD guidance for the sexual assault prevention and response program was administered through a series of memos released by the office of the secretary of defense. 

“What really stands out here is we’re getting close to showing we have a comprehensive program DOD wide,” said Heather Van Mill, 62nd Airlift Wing sexual assault prevention and response coordinator. “It let’s everyone know there are guidelines to how we treat our victim survivors.” 

Mrs. Van Mill said she found the instruction on sexual assault and first responder training particularly important, as well as the list of detailed requirements that provides guidance to SARCs, victim advocates, law enforcement, judge advocates, chaplains, health care providers and military criminal investigation organizations. 

“It specifies exactly what they are to be trained for,” she said. 

The branches of the military may also further refine the guidelines, according to the instruction. Mrs. Van Mill said she expects the Air Force to come up with its new guidance in relation to the DOD instruction this fall. 

Mrs. Van Mill also said the Air Force’s training standards for its victim advocates — volunteers on base who provide support and guidance to victims — are already more extensive than many of the other branches of the military and exceeds the requirements of Washington state. 

“The Air Force is really gaining momentum,” said Mrs. Van Mill. “They’re coming up with some great policies.”