Victim Centered Care (cont 4)
Victims in the military1
- The military offers victims the option of restricted reporting or unrestricted reporting.2 Restricted reporting allows a sexual assault victim to confidentially disclose the details of his or her assault to specified individuals and receive medical treatment and counseling without triggering the official investigative process or command notification. Restricted Reporting can be voided if the medical facility contacts law enforcement or other professionals other than advocates, chaplains, and military sexual assault response coordinators.
- Exam sites that provide exams for military installations are encouraged to draft Memoranda of Understanding to address such issues as confidentiality and storage of evidence.
American Indian and Alaska Native Victims
- Keep in mind that American Indian and Alaska Native victims may have unique cultural or language needs, whether they are assaulted in Indian Country or an Alaska Native village or in an urban area. Recognize that Indian tribes may have their own laws and regulations, as well as their own police, prosecutors, advocates, courts, and service providers to address sexual assault. Responders should be familiar with procedures for coordinating services and interventions for victims from these communities and should work with community groups to develop plans for providing exams to members of Indian tribes. These plans should address evidence preservation and provide examination payment and reimbursement information. Responders within tribal communities should share resources and information to enable them to develop their own protocols and programs that address the community’s unique needs.
- Promote partnerships among tribal and relevant federal and state agencies so they better coordinate responses and resources, learn from past mistakes, and strive towards a shared vision of aiding and empowering victims.
- Be aware that tribal jurisdictions may have their own SAFE protocol in place that addresses the tribe’s unique needs and incorporates its cultural traditions, practices, and language.
- As in many cultures, American Indian/Alaska Native women are of central and primary importance to the family and the community. Be mindful that sexual violence against a Native woman may be seen as an assault on both the individual and her community.
- Be sensitive to victims’ cultural beliefs and practices. The best practice is to always ask victims rather than assume what they need to be safe, address their health concerns, be supported in inner healing, and feel a sense of justice.
- Be aware of the tribe’s history. Responders should have an understanding of the impact of history on American Indian/Alaska Native people as it may influence victims’ reactions and needs. Adequate self-education combined with training by tribal members can prepare non-Native responders to be sensitive to the historical context in which victimization occurs and to avoid assumptions about victims’ cultural practices.
- Recognize that there are multiple ways for victims to seek justice—through criminal justice interventions, tribal justice systems, and use of more traditional practices of the tribe related to holding perpetrators accountable, and/or other victim-identified strategies
- Include American Indian/Alaska Native populations in Limited English Proficiency protocols for
victims of sexual assault.
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1 Drawn partially from L. Ledray, SANE Development and Operation Guide, 2000, pp. 82-85.
2 The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has developed a resource to assist address sexual assault in the military. Strengthening
Military-Civilian Community Partnerships to Respond to Sexual Assault is a training curriculum and tool kit for community-based civilian
rape crisis centers and state sexual assault coalitions to use in their work with the military installations in their regions. Funding for this
project was provided by OVC and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and was developed by the Pennsylvania Coalition
Against Rape (PCAR) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in coordination with the Department of Defense’s
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. Through OVC’s Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) the
curriculum and tool kit will be available for communities to use in their regions to train on enhancing community response, and effectively
responding to the needs of sexual assault victims in the military.
3 For more information on reporting in the military, please see http://www.sapr.mil/.