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NEWS | Aug. 23, 2021

Volunteer Victim Advocate applicant processes; explained

By Senior Airman Alexandra Singer 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) team is looking for dedicated Airmen to join their Volunteer Victim Advocacy program.

Victim advocates provide non-clinical crisis intervention, referral and on-going support to sexual assault victims. They work hand-in-hand with other agencies to provide care for adult victims.

“Our victim advocates embody the very spirit of our program,” said Scottie Hampton, JBLE Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “Our collective mission is to work together with everyone in our community to prevent sexual violence. This involves committed, well trained VAs working at all levels of our commands to assist with raising awareness, providing education and teaching/modeling residence skills.”

Volunteers must meet a few requirements before applying. Applicants must be an E-4 or O-1 and above or a Department of Defense civilian, GS-7 or above. All prospects must be 21 years of age or older and have at least a United States Office of Personnel Management Tier 3 investigation and State Record Check. As far as work, volunteers must have favorable ratings on their past three performance reports and must be clear of all disciplinary actions. In addition, per AFI 90-6001, some career fields are ineligible for the role. This is due to potential for legal, professional, or community conflicts of interest.

A few of these career fields include healthcare workers, firefighters, Chaplain Corps personnel and Inspector Generals. The SAPR office can let personnel know if they are ineligible. 

Becoming a VA only takes a few steps. The first step is to contact the SAPR office. They will provide the application and everything needed for background checks and schedule an initial interview after reviewing the volunteer’s returned paperwork. If accepted, the volunteer will then be enrolled to attend the next initial volunteer victim advocacy course.

Topics covered in the initial VVA course include:

  • History of sexual assault and SAPR
  • Neurobiology of trauma
  • Sexual assault forensic exam process
  • Confidentiality
  • Ethics
  • Role as victim advocates
  • Reporting options
  • Law enforcement investigation
  • Legal process

After course completion, volunteers will get approval from the SARC and the volunteer’s commander with supervisor recommendation, to submit an application for a Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification (D-SAACP) through the National Organization for Victim Assistance. 

“As a victim advocate I desire to meet each case where members are,” said Nicole Nixon, SAPR Victim Advocate. “I remain nonjudgmental and always willing to pause what I’m doing in order to provide immediate and appropriate services based on what each person chooses. Providing survivors with available options requires that I am aware of resources and willing to intercede with those as needed.”

Victim Advocates are essential to the community. The process to become a victim advocate takes a minimum of five months to complete pre-screen assessments, interview, training and certification. The wait will be worthwhile to not only the base community but to the Air Force as a whole.

“We seek individuals who genuinely have the capacity to be empathetic, and we must have Airmen who really embrace the Air Forces’ core values,” Nixon said. “Trusted people are willing to get in the hole with those in need.”

For questions regarding how to become a Volunteer Victim Advocate, please contact the SAPR office at (757) 764-3359.