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Health, Safety & Work-Life Directorate

Office of Work-Life Programs -
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPR)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why the change in policy to create a mandate for VAs at units?
The overall goal of the new policy is to increase the accessibility of VAs to our members. After reviewing the current dispersion of our VAs, we have learned that most of our VAs are clustered at certain units and many other units, both small and large, have no VAs even remotely nearby.

How do I know if my unit requires VAs per the mandate?
The table below goes through the numbers but units can check with their Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) for questions. See www.uscg.mil/worklife/sapr_contact.asp for a listing of SARCs and locations.

Number of Active Duty Coast Guard members assigned Number of VAs required per mandate
0 - 49 0 (Unit must work with SARC to create a plan)
50 - 249 2
250 - 449 3
450 - 649 4
650 - 849 5
850 - 1049 6

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My unit is required to have VAs per the ALCOAST and we have the required number or more, is there any action required then per the ALCOAST?
To fully ensure your unit is compliant, you should check with your SARC to confirm VA numbers. If these VA numbers are correct, then no further action is required.

My unit is 49 active duty personnel or less, what do I need to do to create a plan?
You should contact your SARC to see if you can:

If the unit is not within a reasonable driving distance (situation depends on what this distance may be, could be 50 miles, could be more), the unit will need to work with the SARC to develop a plan to assist members in case a sexual assault occurs. Possible solutions could be providing members contact information to the closest Coast Guard unit with VAs, and informing members that these VAs can be contacted via phone/email/videoteleconference/text, if a member desires services. If there is a nearby military medical facility, a servicemember could obtain an in-person restricted report to a healthcare provider there. Victims reporting a sexual assault (restricted or unrestricted) are still offered a Special Victim Counsel (SVC) to provide legal services which may guide the victim to an unrestricted report in some cases. The unrestricted reporting option does provide members with more services such as expedited transfer, which may be useful in moving the victim to a new location that has more availability of VA, medical, and counseling services.

After creating the plan with the SARC, the unit will need to get approval of the plan from the first major command (O-6 or above).

Do Restricted Reports of sexual assault always provide in-person VA services?
No. Providing a VA in-person is preferred but this cannot always happen. Members choosing restricted reporting should understand that this choice has limitations which may include not having a VA physically present. Likewise, restricted reporting does not allow victims to be absent from work since the command does not have any information about the assault to use in consideration of granting an absence.

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Whether I am a small or large unit, are there other things I could do to help victims of sexual assault to come forward for help at my unit?
Yes! VAs are a great resource for our members but they are not the only resource we should be emphasizing to our members. Here are a few ideas but this list is not exhaustive.

Our SARCs are also professionally trained to deal with sexual assault and can come to your unit to introduce themselves and talk about Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) related topics.

SARCs can also help a unit identify if there is a trusted and quality local rape crisis center near the unit that could be used as an additional resource to the unit’s members. (NOTE: Not all local rape crisis centers are of the same caliber; hence, units must work with the SARC if considering this option.)

You can also promote telephone and online sources for your members who wish to stay anonymous. Online resources include the Department of Defense (DoD) Safe Helpline (www.SafeHelpline.org and 1-877-995-5247) and CGSUPRT (www.CGSUPRT.com and 1-855-CGSUPRT (247-8778)). See www.uscg.mil/worklife/sapr_resources.asp for additional resources.

Commands can also focus on building a climate and culture where their members feel supported in coming forward on sexual assault and other issues. This can be done with regular communications, teambuilding activities, training, and, most importantly, actions.

My unit requires VAs per the ALCOAST and I do not have the required number of VAs. What do I do?
Contact your SARC and he or she will provide you with the VA Application to request a quota in an upcoming VA training.

Can I select anyone from my command to fill a VA training quota?
No. Section 2.B. of the ALCOAST covers the revised requirements for becoming a VA. In order for an applicant to receive the required VA screening by the Security Center, the candidate must be approved by the command in writing; sign a Victim Advocate Statement of Understanding, Form CG-6095A; have his or her supervisor sign a Victim Advocate Supervisor Statement of Understanding, Form CG-6095B; and then successfully complete the SARC interview before being submitted for the VA screening. While the VA Application lists the disqualifying criteria on the back, the SARC interview will also cover asking the applicant if he or she is aware of the disqualifying criteria so that individuals who may potentially fail the VA screening are given an opportunity to self-select out.
In addition to those requirements, commands should only consider selecting individuals who are capable of fulfilling the duties listed in Enclosure (6) of COMDTINST M1754.10 (series).

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When and where are the VA trainings held?
For 2014, VA trainings will be held:

Place Dates
Atlantic City, NJ (D-5 units) 13-15 May
Alameda, California
(D-11, D-13, D-14, & D-17 units)
13-15 May
Houston, Texas (D-8 units) 20-22 May
Miami, Florida (D-7 units) 24-26 June
Cleveland, Ohio (D-9 units) 8-10 July
New London, Connecticut (D-1 units) 22-25 July
Portsmouth, VA (D-5 units) 29-31 July
Seattle, Washington
(D-11, D-13, D-14, & D-17 units)
12-14 August

Contact your SARC as dates and locations may change.

What if my unit requires a VA(s) per the ALCOAST but my unit will not be able to send a member(s) to VA training during the dates of the training in my District?
Contact your SARC and he/she will help you obtain a quota in another District’s training.

Who pays for VA training quotas?
If your unit requires a VA(s) per the numbers laid out in the ALCOAST, Coast Guard Headquarters will provide funding for these members.

If your unit does not meet the requirements for needing VAs as laid out in the ALCOAST, but your unit wants a VA and space is available in a training, your unit may be responsible for the cost of sending that member to the course.

What if my unit wants more VAs than are allotted per the ALCOAST?
You will need to work with your SARC to identify if seats are available and if your unit can have one as demand for VAs is currently high. Any seats given to units to obtain VAs in excess of the ALCOAST requirements will likely be paid for by that unit.

Can my unit request a waiver if a nearby unit can provide VAs to cover my unit’s VA requirements per the ALCOAST?
Yes, a waiver can be requested for units that can share VA resources within reason. The SARC must be consulted for this request and the waiver must be approved by the first major command (O-6 and above).

Can a unit recruit or use previously trained civilians or Auxiliarists to be VAs?
At this time, civilians and Auxiliarists are not authorized to be VAs. The SAPR Program will continue to explore ways to utilize these individuals for prevention and response, as well as possibly in the future allowing them to be VAs.

Where can commands find a list of VAs?
If a command needs to utilize a VA, the command must contact their SARC, since VAs work for the SARC in any VA related duties per COMDTINST M1754.10 (series). Although Direct Access lists individuals with the VA competency code, this resource does not reflect which VAs are currently active as some may be temporarily unavailable for VA duties. The SARC will have a better handle on who is available to take on a case, if one should come up.

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Last Modified 6/12/2014