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DoD Recognizes Innovative Efforts to Prevent Sexual Assault

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2015 — The Defense Department today honored groups and individuals from each military component who contributed an innovative idea or approach to positively affect sexual assault prevention.

The Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award recognizes service members and DoD civilians whose work in support of service members has been particularly noteworthy.  DoD created these awards to spark creativity and incentivize efforts to address not only sexual assault prevention, but also ideas that enhance overall command climate, officials said. 

“The 2015 Prevention Innovation awardees deserve recognition for their leadership in strengthening our prevention efforts and the impact they have made in their military environment,” said Army Maj. Gen. Camille M. Nichols, director of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “We are grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by our personnel as they shape the environment in which service members live and work,” Nichols said. 

The 2015 Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award awardees are:

-- Air Force 17th Training Wing, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas and Presidio of Monterey, California: Established a five-member team serving two geographically separated locations providing training to promote pro-social behavior called "Dating 101" and expanded their Teal Rope program into multi-service-member peer-to-peer mentorship and trust-building in the community.

-- Army Combined Arms Support Command Training and Technology Division, Fort Lee Virginia (Matthew MacLaughlin, Diane Jenkins, Tyler Gross, Christopher Borland, and David Garrison): Developed a template for a mobile application called "We Care" for soldiers of the Combined Arms Support Command, which was made available to all Training and Doctrine Command organizations.

-- Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (Shirley Stephens): Designed the MCCS Dance Battle event using a clublike environment using the theme "Eliminate Sexual Assault. Know Your Part. Do Your Part" to highlight situational context in which the target population would likely be vulnerable. This event increased participants’ awareness and provided tools to intervene.

-- Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Mississippi (Deborah Brockway, Tammie Holland, Michael Jordy, Capt. Paul Odenthal): The Gulfport team collaborated with local businesses to develop the "Responsible Advertising and Bystander Intervention Training" campaign to provide training for local recreation establishments to identify potentially dangerous situations and intervene.

-- National Guard Bureau, Kentucky Army National Guard, Louisville, Kentucky (Sgt. Joshua Kemp): Proactively participated in peer-to-peer mentorship on topics of healthy relationships, responsible drinking, and bystander intervention in social settings. To further the SAPR messaging across the installation, Kemp also developed a DoD Safe Helpline vehicle wrap for the government vehicles that are driven on the installation. 

-- Coast Guard, Base National Capital Region Headquarters, Washington D.C. (Simone Hall): Established the first and only sexual assault response coordinator Web page in the Coast Guard and regularly publishes sexual assault prevention news articles highlighting prevention efforts such as "Don't Be an Active Bystander...Intervene, Stop a Sexual Assault."

DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention Strategy

The sexual assault prevention strategy directs a comprehensive prevention approach across the department, officials said, focusing on educating all personnel to intervene in incidents of sexual harassment and assault, and on the development of healthy relationship skills through leadership mentoring and role-modeling.

“We are committed to effectively executing a prevention strategy that works consistently over time on a large scale,” Nichols said. “We are developing performance measures for sexual assault prevention. The department is leading critical change by identifying desired outcomes, assessing our progress, and sharing with our external partners.”   

The sexual assault prevention strategy stresses commanders’ renewed attention to healthy command climates, and deterrence and accountability for conduct inconsistent with military values, officials said, noting that every service member must be a steadfast participant in creating and sustaining an appropriate culture.

“Since 2006, rates of past-year prevalence of unwanted sexual contact for both men and women have been cut in half. Over the same time period, we have seen a significant increase in the reporting of the crime,” Nichols said. “We know, however, that progress like this does not happen without continued commitment over the long run. Our efforts to eliminate this crime from the military must be sustainable, unrelenting, and pervasive. We know a long-term commitment is the only way to promote lasting social change.” 

The Prevention Innovation awards are presented by their respective commands in conjunction with October’s Crime Prevention Month. Nominees were submitted by each of the military services, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard Bureau.

DoD SAPR Connect is the overarching name for the collaboration, information and idea sharing community of practice. For more information on ideas to prevent sexual assaults in your organization, visit DoD SAPR Connect on milSuite at https://www.milsuite.mil/book/groups/dod-sexual-assault-prevention-team.