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Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

  • Published
  • Special Victims Council

April is recognized nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.  Recent surveys found that in 2018, 20,500 servicemembers were sexually assault or raped. While the military works to address this, there is support available to victims of sexual assault.   

Capt Kevin Mitchell, Special Victims’ counsel, and Staff Sgt. Cardell Morgan, Special Victims’ paralegal, stand by to assist victims of qualifying offenses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, , and Fairchild Air Force Base.  While the Office of the Special Victims’ Counsel is located at JBLM, they represent clients across the western United States.  Their office provides specialized legal services and advice to victims of certain qualifying sexual assault and domestic violence offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  Simply put, their job is to advocate for victims throughout the military justice process. 

Capt Mitchell and Staff Sgt. Morgan work to ensure their clients’ rights are protected from initial disclosure to the conclusion of the court-martial process.  They advise clients on the processes themselves, ensuring an understanding of the military justice process from investigation to court-martial, and everything in between. Together they work to empower clients by removing real or perceived barriers to participation in the military justice system.

Additionally, they can explain the differences between a Restricted and Unrestricted Report, which is crucial, as once a report is unrestricted, it can no longer be restricted.

There are several ways you can seek SVC services.  For cases victims may wish to remain restricted, contact the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office (SAPR) or Family Advocacy.  For unrestricted cases (cases you wish to report), a person may contact their supervisor or first sergeant, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI),  Security Forces, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPR), Family Advocacy, or the Victim Witness Assistance Program Manager (VWAP) at your base legal office.

These parties can assist persons in filling out a referral form and route it for SVP review.  The SVP will review the form, perform a check for conflicts, and forward the request to their section chief for approval.  Once a determination has been made as to whether one qualifies for SVC services, they will be contacted.  

SVC services are generally available to all active duty members, dependents, guard, and reserve members, with some exceptions.

Persons not in those previously mentioned categories may qualify under an Exceptional Circumstances Request, or “ECR.”  This process requires additional information and approval.  

The SVC office is independent of any wing leadership.  This protects SVC services from being influenced by leadership’s (or the perpetrator’s leadership’s) influence throughout representation.  

The SVC stands by ready to assist qualifying victims during this process.  Please contact their office at (253) 982- 6741 for any questions.