JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS, 6/21/2013) — Members from U.S. Fleet Forces Command visited Naval Air Station Jacksonville June 17 to provide Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) and suicide prevention training to the senior leadership of Navy Region Southeast’s tenant commands.
The visit was in preparation for the SAPR/Suicide Prevention stand down that commands must complete before July 1. Additional topics of discussion included creating good command climates and proper treatment of Sailors.
“Nobody understands when a command is off track better than its Sailors,” said Capt. Kurt Johnson, inspector general with U.S. Fleet Forces Command. “There are times when leadership might be shielded from a problem, creating a communication issue. Ultimately though, it is the senior leadership that Sailors turn to for guidance and the right answers, and it is the sole responsibility of the command triad to support the Sailors and their families, while still executing the mission. We all know that Sailors who are in a crisis can affect mission readiness.”
Johnson explained that the best commands in the fleet have one consistent quality: outstanding chain of command communication, both up and down.
“When leaders take the time to interact with their Sailors, it shows that they care. It also leads to increased job satisfaction and motivation. Every command triad should be making a great effort to communicate with their Sailors and learn of their concerns,” Johnson said.
Guidance for SAPR and Suicide prevention was the main focus of the training, with Marie Parker, Fleet SAPR program manager, standards and conduct officer with U.S. Fleet Forces Command, outlining new changes to these programs and discussing growing trends that are being investigated.
“It may come as a surprise, but what we have found is that the majority of sexual assault cases are not alcohol related,” Parker remarked. “Ninety-five percent of the victims of blue on blue sexual assault tend to be E-5 and below, with only thirty percent of those cases involving alcohol. Sixty-five percent of the offenders are E-5 and below, with another thirty percent being committed by senior enlisted or officers.”
According to Parker, the majority of sexual assault crimes are incidences of unwanted physical contact in workspaces, stressing that commands must encourage bystander intervention and provide constant SAPR training to protect their Sailors.
Parker concluded by outlining a new direction the Navy was considering with suicide prevention: developing a new program devoted specifically to the issue instead of just including it as a topic during general military training (GMT). She also encouraged command leadership to continue to be vigilant, and to focus on turning every Sailor into a “sensor” to identify warning signs.
“Suicidal ideation is a coping problem, and it’s extremely important that commands educate their Sailors on detecting changes and warning signs with individuals so we can get them the help they need,” Parker explained. “We are currently in the development of a whole suicide prevention program that will be more than simply a topic discussed in a GMT, so commands can expect that in the near future. U.S. Fleet Forces Command will continue working with Navy Region Southeast in developing improved SAPR and suicide prevention training.”
Get more information and resources to combat sexual assault at www.sapr.navy.mil. Sexual assault affects Navy readiness, and the Navy is committed to preventing sexual assault. Join the Navy’s conversation about sexual assault on social media and help raise awareness by using #NavySAPR.
For more news from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, visit www.navy.mil/local/nasjax/.