Sexual Assault Definitions

Sexual Assault
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. Sexual assault includes rape, nonconsensual sodomy (oral or anal sex), indecent assault (unwanted, inappropriate sexual contact or fondling), or attempts to commit these acts. Sexual assault can occur without regard to the gender, spousal relationship, or age of the victim.

  • "Consent" will not be deemed or construed to mean the failure by the victim to offer physical resistance. Consent is not given when a person uses force, the threat of force, or coercion, or when the victim is asleep, incapacitated, or unconscious.
  • 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 definition of sexual assault or the definition of sexual harassment as stated in DOD Directive 1350.2. ExampLes of other sex-related offenses could include indecent acts with another and adultery.

Victim's Advocate (VA)
The VA is an individual who is designated, trained, and in place to quickly respond to assist a victim of sexual assault. The VA?s mission is to support, assist, and guide the victim through the medical, investigative, and judicial processes. The VA, however, must not make decisions or speak for the victim, or interfere with the legitimate operations of the medical, investigative, and judicial processes. Use of a VA is not mandatory. The victim will be informed of the availability of VA services and decide whether to accept the offer of services. A victim may choose to seek help without the presence or assistance of a VA.

Installation Victim Advocate (IVA)
The IVA is a VA who is embedded in Army Community Service and works under the auspices of the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) in their community of assignment.

Unit Victim Advocate (UVA)
The UVA is an NCO (SSG or higher), officer (1LT/CW2 or higher), or civilian (GS-9 or higher) who is appointed on orders to perform VA duties in his or her unit of assignment, whether deployed or in garrison. Commanders at battalion level and above must appoint at least two Soldiers to serve as UVAs. Paragraph 8-6 of AR600-20, Chapter 8 provides criteria for selecting UVAs. NOTE: When in garrison, victims have the option of seeking assistance from an IVA or UVA, based on their preference.

Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
The SARC is an individual who serves as the designated program coordinator of victim support services to coordinate and oversee the local implementation and execution of the Army in Europe Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. SARCs are embedded in Army Community Service and work under the auspices of the FAP in their community of assignment. The SARC should be contacted immediately when an incident of sexual assault occurs. The SARC will explain the VA services available to the victim and assign a VA (either an IVA or UVA) if desired by the victim.

Deployable Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
The deployable SARC is an NCO (SFC or higher), or officer (MAJ/CW3 or higher), or civilian (GS-11 or above) assigned at brigade and higher levels of command who is designated and trained to assume SARC duties during deployments. Deployable SARCs should be prepared to assume the executive agent role for coordinating the sexual assault response at a level commensurate with the level of command to which they are assigned (for example, from brigade through the theater of operation). Paragraph 8-6 of AR600-20, Chapter 8 provides criteria for selecting deployable SARCs.

Reporting Sexual Assault
An individual who is sexually assaulted may report the incident in a restricted or unrestricted manner. On notification of a sexual assault, the SARC will advise the victim regarding his or her options for restricted and unrestricted reporting. Enclosure 5 provides more information on reporting incidents of sexual assault.

Restricted Reporting
Restricted reporting allows a sexual assault victim to confidentially disclose the details of the assault to the SARC or a healthcare provider, and to receive medical treatment, counseling, and victim advocacy, without triggering the official investigative process. As a general rule, the SARC, the assigned VA, and healthcare providers may not disclose confidential communications from a sexual assault victim who desires restricted reporting. However, the SARC must still report general information concerning the incident, without information that could reasonably lead to the personal identification of the victim, to command officials within 24 hours after the incident. In addition, the SARC, the assigned VA, and healthcare providers may disclose confidential information to specific individuals for specific purposes under certain circumstances.

Unrestricted Reporting
A Soldier who is sexually assaulted and desires medical treatment, counseling, and an official investigation of his or her allegation should use normal reporting channels (for example, the chain of command or law-enforcement channels) or report the incident to the SARC. Details regarding the incident will be released only to those personnel who have a legitimate need to know, including the VA, the victim and the alleged offender's chain of command, medical personnel, and law-enforcement officials.

Victim/Witness Legal Liaison
The victim / witness liaison is the primary POC at SJA offices through whom victims and witnesses may obtain information and help with obtaining available victim/witness services, including where victims may receive emergency medical care and social service support; programs that are available to provide treatment, counseling, and other support to the victim; and an explanation of the military criminal justice system, the role of victims and witnesses in the process, and additional information concerning the legal process or a case in general. The victim / witness liaison provides information to the VA on legal matters and ongoing legal action related to the sexual assault.

The SARB is a multidisciplinary board that provides executive oversight, procedural guidance, and feedback concerning the sexual assault prevention and response program. The SARB will be convened each month by the garrison commander, or at the brigade level or higher in a deployed environment. The SARB will review cases and procedures to improve processes, system accountability, and victim access to high-quality services.

Collateral Misconduct
Many incidents of sexual assault involve circumstances where the victim may have engaged in some form of misconduct (for example, underage drinking or other alcohol-related offenses, adultery, fraternization, and other violations of regulations or orders). This behavior may be considered collateral misconduct for which disciplinary action, if any, may be deferred by unit commanders until the final disposition of the sexual assault case.