SARC office looking for new victim advocates

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca R. Imwalle
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Ellsworth is currently home to more than 30 victim advocates who sacrifice their time to ensure no sexual assault victim has to endure the recovery process alone.

The 28th Bomb Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office is currently looking for prospective victim advocates to add to a limited number of openings for the program and is tentatively scheduled to host a week-long training course Sept. 15 through19.

During an informational meeting, Lee Sasse, 28th Bomb Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator explained the vital role of victim advocates.

"Victim advocates provide critical support to victims of sexual assault," Sasse said. "They can accompany victims to investigative interviews, be with them during medical examinations, and support victims by providing referral information or being present just to talk."

Eligible personnel interested in becoming a victim advocate must pass a background check, complete an interview process with the SARC office, be approved by their commander, complete the initial 40 hours of training with the SARC office, be accepted for certification by the DoD Sexual Assault Advocate Certification Program, and complete 32 hours of continuing education training every 2 years to maintain their certification.

Victim advocates typically spend one to two weeks per year carrying the SAPR on-call phone.

"Being a victim advocate can be somewhat time-consuming," Sasse said. "While on call, you can be contacted at any time of the day or night for advocacy services. There also can be times when you are pulled out of work to accompany a victim to court hearings or medical evaluations."

The SARC office is looking for a handful of Airmen to include officers, enlisted and GS Civilians to volunteer their time to help ensure the safety and well-being of our service members.
"We currently have around 34 Victim Advocates," he said. "We are hoping to have more than 40 after this training."

Victim advocates are vital to the sexual assault prevention and response program. Volunteers from all backgrounds, male and female, are welcome.

For more information, call the SARC office at (605) 385-5233 or 605-385-1474.