A new update to the Safe Helpline website and app was launched for survivors of sexual assault, their loved ones, or anyone within the Department of Defense community on July 5.
Updates to the website include additional security features, self-care activities, and information, all while keeping the same features that users are accustomed to.
“The new and improved Safe Helpline website provides anonymous support, resources, and information 24 hours, seven days a week to anyone seeking help,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Melody Bell, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response volunteer victims advocate.
These new changes allow users to navigate and find valuable information to better understand what happened to them or a loved one. Through the app, individuals can reference the DoD’s reporting options and ways to report retaliation.
Reporting a sexual assault is categorized in two ways: restricted or unrestricted.
In a restricted sexual assault case report:
- Command is not notified.
- No investigation will open.
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and victim advocate attends to victim needs, provides support, and serves as advocate.
- Medical attention and care to include forensic exam will be provided.
- Counseling services are offered.
- Access to Special Victims Counsel is offered.
The two important distinctions to make between a restricted and unrestricted sexual assault case report is with an unrestricted report, command will be notified and an investigation will be opened. All care and services mentioned in a restricted report are provided in an unrestricted report.
According to a SAPR organization release, their belief is every service member should be treated with dignity and respect. The organization goes on to state “Sexual assault has no place in our military. It benefits all of us to get in front of these crimes and take measures to prevent them. The day-to-day mission of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office is to educate, advocate, and collaborate to respond to and stop sexual assault and its harmful effects on the Air Force.”
The SAPR team measures progress being made on sexual assault when the gap between prevalence and reported sexual assaults is narrowed, an overall decrease in prevalence is seen, indicating a decrease in incidents of sexual assault, and a decrease in time from assault to report of the incident is observed.
It is the expectation of the SAPR team that these new website updates will assist in accomplishing their mission goals.
Users may access the new Safe Helpline website by navigating to https://safehelpline.org. The Safe Helpline program is also offered as a free app on major platform app stores.
Anyone seeking assistance or guidance may call anonymously to the 24 hours, seven days a week hotline at 0172-821-04871. The base SAPR office number is 314-480-7272; commercial: 06371-47-7272.
Readers are reminded that sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact characterized by the use of force, threats, intimidation, coercion or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent.