By: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class William Blees, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
SILVERDALE, Wash. – Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) held a Sexual Assault Prevention (SAPR) Victim Advocate (VA) Refresher training module on Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor, Aug. 21-22.
The two-day training module focused on restoring knowledge that may not have been used since Sailors attended initial VA classes.
Day one began by exploring the military justice process from the perspective of the victim’s legal counsel (VLC). The VLC takes participants through the military justice process from initial report to final closure.
Afterwards, the class took part in “Walk the Plank: Practical Lessons for Advocates Needing Knowledge” training. Based on real experience, “Walk the Plank” has been developed to assist Sailors in understanding the complete advocacy role.
“This training helps me to know the proper procedures when working with victims of sexual assault,” said Electricians Mate 1st Class Nastasia Propst, assigned to Transient Personnel Unit. “Having them know someone is there makes a huge difference.”
The day ended with information on the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certificate Program renewal process and safeTALK.
SafeTALK is meant for anyone who wants to promote suicide safety regardless of previous experience or background and is accredited by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.
Day two of training provided the VAs with the opportunity to visit community and military resources that sexual assault victims may access. This included traveling to the Kitsap County Special Assault Unit and Superior Court location, a military courtroom tour, military and civilian forensic exam programs at local hospitals and Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
“This training allows Victim Advocates to leave here feeling more confident in their abilities to help someone who has been a victim of sexual assault,” said Candy Cardinal, civilian SAPR VA. “Having additional training will help when victims come forward.”
Seeing these resources first-hand is intended to increase VAs understanding of the services provided for sexual assault victims at each location.