Coast Guard releases updated sexual assault strategic plan

The Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard released a new sexual assault strategic plan Thursday in Washington.

The sexual assault prevention, response and recovery (SAPRR) strategic plan for 2018-2022 continues the service’s response and prevention efforts, and formalizes the organization’s commitment to the recovery of victims.

“Coast Guard men and women have an inherent bias for action to defend our nation from harm and save those in peril,” said U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz. “We must demonstrate that same bias for action to eliminate sexual assault from our service. Sexual assault is a direct attack on our people and our readiness, and it is inconsistent with our core values of honor, respect, and devotion to duty.”

Sexual assault remains a significant problem affecting every segment of society. The service has made strides in the fight against sexual assault since the release of the Coast Guard SAPRR strategic plan for 2013-2017. Since 2013, the Coast Guard instituted a baseline knowledge and understanding of sexual assault programmatic efforts and developed a framework for cultivating a skilled cohort of professionals to serve its workforce and their families. These efforts enabled the Coast Guard to transition its focus toward prevention and recovery strategies while maintaining existing momentum in the goals of climate, response, and accountability.

The updated strategic plan includes the goal of recovery to elevate awareness for comprehensive victim-centered support, during the initial response and beyond.  The goal of recovery focuses on holistic, comprehensive, and flexible victim recovery to facilitate a return to wellness. This new goal identifies objectives that enable innovative solutions for continued service for victims, sustain career long availability of military sexual trauma support, and outline training for Coast Guard personnel to understand the full range of supportive care, legal options and medical services available to victims.

All Coast Guard men and women have a duty and responsibility to combat sexual assault, sexual harassment and predatory actions. The 2018 strategic plan emphasizes proactive measures promoting a Coast Guard culture and work environment rich with common courtesy, respect, and equal treatment.

“Much of the credit for combatting this scourge goes to the Coast Guard men and women who were courageous enough to stand up to sexual assault, refuse to be a bystander and support those affected by this egregious behavior,” said Schultz. “Despite our progress, we still have considerable work to do, and we will stand tall together to drive sexual assault from our service.”

For more information and tools including victim resources, go to the SAPRR website.

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