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Victim support is a key component of the Department of Defense (DoD) sexual assault prevention and response (SAPR) policy. As part of victim care, in April 2011 the Department launched DoD Safe Helpline as a crisis support service for adult Service members of the DoD community who are victims of sexual assault. Available 24/7 worldwide, users can "click, call or text" for anonymous and confidential support.
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Bystander Intervention Training begins at Dover AFB

Posted 12/6/2011   Updated 12/6/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Tanisha Brown
512th Public Affairs

12/6/2011 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del.  -- The 512th Airlift Wing held its first Bystander Intervention Training Dec. 3 here.

BIT is the most recent training added to the current Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, which was implemented here two years ago.

"The SAPR program was created to help service members understand what sexual assault is and how it happens; the bystander training takes it a step further and shows service members how a third party can prevent the assault from even occurring," said Lt. Col. Gary Noble, 512th Aerospace Medicine Squadron director of operations.

According to Air Force officials, the goal of BIT is to empower Airmen to effectively prevent sexual assault against their fellow wingmen.

"As service members, we want to protect each other out in the field if they're in danger, and this is no different," said Maj. Liza Orlando, 512th AMDS Medical Service Corp supervisor and BIT instructor. "We should be protecting our wingmen no matter what the degree."

BIT is a requirement that must be completed by June 2012 by all Air Force active-duty personnel, Reserve and Guard members, as well as civilians who supervise Air Force personnel.
"The Air Force has a June deadline, but the 512th Airlift Wing's goal is to have everyone trained by May 2012," said Noble.

The 90-minute training, which is broken down into three modules -- males, females and the wing's senior leadership, is limited to 25-30 participants per class.

"The modules are separated, so people can feel comfortable, said Noble. "The smaller classes encourage participation and ultimately make for better interaction."

Orlando agrees the small classes are beneficial for Airmen.

"Male and female genders think differently and will speak out more freely," she said. "The separation gives them that opportunity."

A participant in Saturday's male module appreciated the open environment.

"Being in that type of environment gave me a better understanding of people's points of view," said Tech. Sgt. Darion Jones, 512th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "The class reinforced Air Force core values, made us more aware of the day-to-day possibilities and gave us a way to deal with different scenarios, should they arise," said Jones.

Senior Master Sgt. Denise Hubbell, a 512th AMDS nurse, the services superintendent and a victim advocate, knows firsthand about the likelihood of an assault.

"I worked in a male-dominated field, and I was a victim of an assault," said Hubbell. "But, I came from an era when there wasn't a sexual assault response coordinator. I didn't have a way to get my voice out, I had no outlet."

Hubbell, who is also a BIT instructor, recognizes the need for the training.

"We wouldn't be teaching these classes if there wasn't a need," she said. "We have to get the word out across the board, because sexual assault is on the rise."

Orlando echoed her sentiments.

"This class is very important," said Orlando. "It isn't just another mandatory class to fill the square. It is absolutely necessary; it can save a life."

For more information on sexual assault prevention or training, Noble can be reached at (302) 677-4658. For response or reporting procedures, or to become a victim advocate, please contact Ann McMillan, the base SAPR coordinator at (302) 677-3680.

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