1. What is sexual assault?
Sexual Assault is a crime. Sexual assault is defined as
intentional sexual contact, characterized by use of force,
physical threat or abuse of authority, or when the victim does
not or cannot consent. Consent should not be deemed or construed
to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance.
Additionally, consent is not given when a person uses force,
threat of force, coercion or when the victim is asleep,
incapacitated, or unconscious.
Sexual assault includes rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or
anal sex), indecent assault (e.g., unwanted and inappropriate
sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commits these acts.
Sexual assault can occur without regard to gender, spousal
relationship, or age of victim.*
Other sex-related offenses are defined as all other sexual
acts or acts in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
(UCMJ) that do not meet the above definition of sexual assault,
or the definition of sexual harassment as promulgated in DoD
Directive 1350.2, Department of Defense Military Equal
Opportunity, para E2.1.15.
For the specific articles of sexual assault offenses under the
UCMJ, see the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM).
(*Reference- the DoD definition for sexual assault and other
sex-related offenses for all training and education
2. What is the difference between sexual assault and sexual
Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not the same, although they are related to each other.
- Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. For more information on sexual harassment, see Army Regulation 600-20, Chapter 7.(14 kb)
There are two types of sexual harassment:
- Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment refers to conditions placed on a person's career or terms of employment in return for sexual favors. It involves threats of adverse actions if the victim does not submit or promises of favorable actions if the person does submit
- Hostile Environment sexual harassment occurs when a person is subjected to offensive, unwanted, and unsolicited comments and behavior of a sexual nature that have the interferes with that person's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
- Sexual assault refers specifically to rape, forcible sodomy, indecent assault, or carnal knowledge as defined by the UCMJ.
- Sexual assault must involve physical contact. While sexual harassment can involve physical contact, it can also refer to verbal or other forms of gender discrimination of a sexual nature. Sexual assault is a crime punishable by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
3. If I am sexually assaulted, what should I do?
Download the entire Army Regulation 600-20.(278 kb)
First, get to a safe place. If you are in need of urgent
medical attention, call 911. If you are not injured, you still
need medical assistance to protect your health. The medical
treatment facility (MTF) offers you a safe and caring
environment. To protect evidence, it is important that you do not
shower, brush your teeth, put on make-up, eat, drink, or change
your clothes until advised to do so. You or the MTF may report
the crime to law enforcement, criminal investigation agencies, or
to your chain of command. If you feel uncomfortable reporting the
crime, consider calling a confidential counseling resource
available to you. Here you may discuss your concerns and
questions regarding the assault and the reporting process. (See
the list of resources in Item #8 of this document).
4. Where are victims of sexual assault referred?
Victims of sexual assault should be referred to a MTF as soon
as possible and encouraged to contact Army law enforcement (MPs
or CID). A list of resources may be found in item # 8 of this
5. What should I do if I know someone who has been sexually assaulted?
As an Army soldier, you should report immediately any activity that indicates
a sexual assault may take place or has taken place.
Report any of the following activities immediately to your commander,
Military Police, or another authority:
- Support the victim and show respect, but don't be overly protective.
- Demonstrate empathy by concentrating on helping your friend, fellow Soldier, or colleague
- Listen to the victim and take the allegations seriously, without asking the victim for details.
- Do not make judgments about the victim or the alleged offender.
- Encourage the victim to report the crime; however you should report the sexual assault to the proper authorities.
- Get assistance for the victim, but never leave the victim alone.
- Protect the victim's confidentiality by not discussing the assault with anyone, except the authorities.
- Repeat this message to the victim: You are not to blame!
Remember: The safety of your fellow soldiers, your unit, and your community may depend on your reporting of these incidents. You should report any suspicious behavior immediately.
6. Does this program apply to just military; or, all inclusive of DoD personnel,
too include contractors to DoD?
The charter was to develop a prevention and
response program for Soldiers. Currently the program is designed only for
Soldiers; however, the DoD and the Army are reviewing procedures on how to
extend to others. Commanders should recognize that sexual assault effects
everyone and should deal with this issue as appropriate and keep in mind that
restrictive reporting applies to Soldiers only.
7. Can a person who has been sexually assaulted a year ago
still report it?
Sexual assault can be reported at any time. Once CID or
medical is notified of a sexual assault, the procedures are the
same regardless of the amount of time since the assault. Soldiers
should be encouraged to come forward as soon as possible, so that
all possible evidence is collected and preserved before it is
lost, destroyed or altered. Early reporting also provides the
best opportunity to gather testimony from possible witnesses
before their memories fade or they move to other locations.
Delayed reporting makes it more difficult to investigate the
incident and reduces the ability to prosecute the case. However,
victims are strongly encouraged to report crimes, no matter how
long after an assault occurred, and CID agents will do their best
to investigate the incident and provide a factual and actionable
report to the appropriate judicial authority. Even late reporting
can impact other investigations and may assist in identifying and
prosecuting a criminal.
8. What resources are available to care for victims of sexual
Military One Source offers real help, anytime, anywhere. A
master's level consultant will speak to victims who are eligible
for this service at no charge, 24/7/365. CONUS call
1.800.655.4545, internationally toll free at 800.3429.6477 or
internationally dialed collect at 484.530.5947. Other resources
are the local Medical Treatment Facility; Military
Police/Criminal Investigation Division; your commander,
supervisor, or First Sergeant; the chaplain, social services,
family advocacy, and legal services. Military One Source, Army
psychiatric counselors, and chaplains are confidential counseling
9. When recovering from a sexual assault, what may a victim
Every person reacts differently to sexual assault. There are
five stages of recovery, which most victims will experience to
some degree. It is not unusual for different people to experience
the stages in different orders or even to repeat stages several
times. These stages are:
10. Are there resources available on sexual assault?
Stage 1: Initial Shock - Shock following an assault can take
on many forms. Victims may experience emotional as well as
physical shock, which in turn could be expressed as very
controlled, and/or withdrawn, or, highly expressive, including
crying, screaming or shaking. Victims may or may not feel
comfortable communicating these feeling others.
Stage 2: Denial - This stage may find victims attempting to go
on with a normal routine and wanting to forget about the assault.
This denial or rationalization of what happened is an attempt to
deal with inner turmoil.
Stage 3: Reactivation - This stage involves a re-experiencing
of the feelings from Stage 1, usually brought on by the
triggering of memories of the assault. Feelings of depression,
anxiety and shame increase. Other symptoms can include
nightmares, flashbacks, and a sense of vulnerability, mistrust
and physical complaints.
Stage 4: Anger - Victims may experience feelings of anger -
often toward themselves, friends, significant others, society,
the legal system, all men/women, etc. Sometimes through
counseling, this anger can be dispelled.
Stage 5: Integration (Closure) - As victims integrate the
thoughts and feelings stemming from the assault into their life
experience victims will begin to feel "back on track." As a
result of support, education and the passage of time, victims may
11. Can men be sexually assaulted?
Yes, men may be victims of forcible sodomy or indecent
assault. Therefore, all resources for sexual assault are
available, regardless of gender.
12. How should I respond if a man tells me he has been
The response is the same for any victim, regardless of gender.
Reference the information in item 3 and follow the guidance
13. What legal representation and/or assistance does a
Soldier have when he or she is sexually assaulted?
A Soldier victim will be assigned a Victim Witness Liaison
(VWL) who will explain the rights of victims and will keep the
Soldier informed of all of the steps in the legal proceedings
involving his/her case. However, victims of sexual assault are
not represented by a criminal, military attorney. A military
attorney can answer questions about the legal process and related
proceedings but will not represent the victim. See AR 27-10,
Military Justice, chapter 18 for more details on victim's rights
and the role of the VWL. A victim may also seek legal advice from
a military or civilian attorney at their installation legal
14. What happens when sexual assault occurs across the
When sexual assault occurs across Services, CID works together
with their counterparts in the US Air Force Office of Special
Investigations and/or the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
There is often a joint investigation with each Service's criminal
investigation agency conducting complimentary investigative tasks
to prepare a complete final report that can be provided to the
appropriate Service's action commander and corresponding Staff
Judge Advocate (lawyer).
15. What happens when a soldier is sexually assaulted by
someone outside the military (civilians) or by someone from
another country (military or civilian)?
CID will be involved in sexual assault cases that involve an
Army victim or that affect the Army. Typically, CID conducts
joint investigations with civilian police authorities (US or
foreign) or with foreign military law enforcement agencies in
these types of cases. Each investigative agency conducts
complimentary investigative tasks to prepare a complete final
report that can be provided to the appropriate judicial authority
(military or civilian). CID routinely conducts many joint
investigations with civilian and other military law enforcement
agencies on a variety of felony crimes. Joint investigations are
a normal business practice within the criminal investigative
16. As a soldier, what are my obligations to report a sexual
assault if I am aware of it as a third party?
Anytime there is knowledge of a crime, or a crime to be
committed in the future, the individual should report it to the
MP, CID, or the chain of command.
17. Will military sex offenders be registered in state and
Yes, all military sex offenders must register with the state
sex offender register and the installation provost marshal as
required by federal and state statutes.
18. Define collateral misconduct?
Collateral misconduct refers to misconduct by the victim of a sexual assault.
It is defined by example in the DoD DTM quoted below.
19. The policy recommends delaying action on collateral misconduct: Does this mean
that UCMJ or administrative action against a Soldier (alleged) is delayed until
investigation is completed?
Commanders should consult with their servicing Office of the Staff Judge
Advocate or other servicing Judge Advocate in making these determinations.
The delayed action policy means that a Commander may delay action, but does not
require delaying action. The DoD Directive Type Memorandum (DTM) directly
addresses this issue. It states:
One of the most significant barriers to the reporting of a sexual assault is the
victim's fear of punishment for some of the victim's own actions leading up to
or associated with the sexual assault incident. Many reported sexual assaults
involve circumstances where the victim may have engaged in some form of
misconduct (i.e., underage drinking or other related alcohol offenses, adultery,
fraternization or other violations of certain regulations or orders). Such
behavior may be considered collateral misconduct, and may be viewed as a
contributing factor to the sexual assault. Unit commanders have authority to
determine, in a timely manner, how to best dispose of alleged misconduct, to
include making the decision to defer disciplinary actions regarding a victim's
collateral misconduct until after the final disposition of the sexual assault
case. Unit commanders should exercise that authority in appropriate cases....
When considering what corrective actions may be appropriate for the victim's
collateral misconduct, commanders and supervisors should keep in mind the
critical importance of responding appropriately in order to encourage sexual
assault reporting and continued cooperation, while avoiding those actions that
may further traumatize the victim.
20. What happens if this is "Restricted" reporting?
If a Commander learns of victim misconduct outside of the confidential
relationship, then a Commander can act upon that information. Depending upon
the facts, there may or may not be enough evidence to act under the UCMJ.
Commanders should consult with their servicing Office of the Staff Judge
Advocate or other servicing Judge Advocate in making these determinations.
21. Allows victim transfer to another unit or administrative separation if victim
desires: When and what process is used to determine if the victim should be
When determining the best course of action for separating victims
from the subject(s) during the investigation of sexual assault cases, Commanders
should ensure that re-victimization does not occur. Commanders should consider
the victim's preferences and all relevant facts and circumstances of the case to
determine the appropriate course of action to avoid re-victimization. Commanders
may consider transferring the victim to another unit but should be aware of and
consider the fact that there may be a perception that the victim's transfer from
the unit is a result of reporting the incident. Commanders may consider using a
Military Protection Order (MPO) (DD Form 2873), referred to as "no contact
orders." MPOs are an effective tool for commanders to maintain the safety of
the victims and witnesses. If the victim lives off post, he or she may obtain a
restraining order from the civilian courts.
22. At what point and what separation policy/regulation governs (will govern) this
Regardless of the reason for initiating the
separation action, the victim is entitled to a full and fair consideration of
her or his military service and particular situation. It is vital that all such
separation actions and all determinations be consistent and appropriate, and be
viewed as such. Separation actions are in accordance with AR 600-8-24 (Officer
Transfers and Discharges) for officers, AR 635-200 (Active Duty Enlisted
Administrative Separations) for enlisted, and appropriate Reserve Component
23. Do we follow current proceedings under medical separation, unfit, for the good
of the service...which Chapter ?
As appropriate and as listed in regulations
24. Confidentiality -- Covered Communication between UVA, Sexual Assault Response
Coordinator, Chaplain, Medical Sexual Assault Care Coordinator: Are any of
these persons protected and excluded by Congress/DoD from being subpoenaed to
court as a witness to testify?
None of them have been excluded, and it is possible that they could be asked to
testify at a court-martial. Normally, Soldier witnesses are ordered to appear
by their Commanders. If someone with a confidential relationship with a victim
is either the subject of an attempted interview by anyone or ordered to appear
at a court-martial as a witness relating to the confidential matters, that
person should report that fact to the servicing Trial Counsel. DoD has created
an administrative privilege. We believe that it may be sustained in court, but
that issue remains to be litigated.
25. Can a DA Civilians assigned to military units serve as a UVA and SARC in
military units -- outside of garrison?
Yes. UVA is one of two
Soldiers/civilians who is appointed on orders by each Battalion level commander
and trained to perform collateral duties in support of victims of sexual assault
particularly in deployed environments. UVAs are supervised in the performance of
their duties by the SARC. The UVA will be an NCO (SSG or higher), Officer
(1LT/CW2 or higher, or Civilian (GS-9 or higher).
Deployable SARCs are Soldiers/civilians assigned at brigade/unit of action and
higher levels of command who are designated and trained to assume the duties of
the SARC during deployments. The deployable SARC will be an NCO (SFC or higher),
Officer ( MAJ /CW3 or higher), or Civilian (GS-11 or above) and should be
prepared to assume the executive agent role for coordinating sexual assault
response at a level commensurate with the level of command to which they are
assigned (i.e., Brigade/unit of action through theater of operation )
26. Will a goal be established to have a higher ratio of females as UVAs & SARCs,
No "goal" is set for a ratio of male/female UVAs and SARCs.