Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Stefan Alvarez
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

April is recognized nationally as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Recent surveys found in 2018, 20,500 service members were sexually assault or raped. While the military works to address this, there is support available to victims of sexual assault.  A Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) attorney, and A Special Victims Paralegal (SVP), standby to assist victims of qualifying offenses at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.  While the SVC is located at Tyndall, they represent clients across the southeastern 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. Put another way, their job is to advocate for victims throughout the military justice process. 

Simon and Waziri work to ensure their clients’ rights are protected from initial disclosure to the conclusion of the court-martial process. They advise clients to ensure an understanding of the military justice process from investigation to court-martial and everything in between. Together, they strive to empower clients by removing real or perceived barriers to participation in military justice system.

Additionally, they can explain the differences between restricted and unrestricted reports, which is crucial, as once a report is unrestricted, it cannot be restricted.

There are several ways to seek SVC services.  For cases victims may wish to remain restricted (not investigated), contact the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office (SAPR) or Family Advocacy. For unrestricted cases (investigated), 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 the base legal office. These parties can assist in filling out a referral form and route it to the SVC office for review. Once a determination has been made as to whether the member 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. Individuals outside those categories may qualify under an Exceptional Circumstances Request, or “ECR.” This process requires additional information and approval.

The SVC’s chain of command is completely separate independent from wings leadership, falling under The Office of the Judge Advocate General in Washington D.C. This protects SVC services from being influenced by any leadership during representation.  

For more information, contact the SVC office at 850-283-6325. Communications with the SVC office are confidential and privileged.