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SAPR support

  • Published
  • By Capt. Andy Romey & Staff Sgt. Alec Potter
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Shaw may be at mission-essential manning, but Sexual Assault Support Services are just a phone call away.

Victims of sexual offenses can call, (803) 895-7272, to speak to an on-call SARC or Victim Advocate to make a report of sexual assault or receive information about support services through SAPR’s 24/7 hotline. Personnel from support entities are not currently reporting to their places of duty at Shaw, but are teleworking and available through the hotline to provide the same services.

Victims of sexual offenses can utilize the hotline to learn about reporting options and services. Active-duty servicemembers and dependents 18 and older can make restricted reports of sexual assault, allowing them to access services without command or military investigative authorities being notified about the incident. All other reports are unrestricted, meaning command will be notified and a military investigation into the offense will be initiated.

Referrals can be made to the Special Victims’ Counsel (SVC) office for restricted and unrestricted reports. SVCs are judge advocate officers who provide legal representation to victims of sexual offenses. They can advise on and explain the military justice process, accompany victims during law enforcement interviews, help victims obtain military protective orders (MPOs) , and even represent victims in court-martial proceedings for certain legal issues. SVCs are tenant units, meaning they are entirely independent of all entities at their bases, including the offender’s chain of command, the local base command structure and the legal office.

SVC services are available to all active-duty Air Force members regardless of whether the offender is a civilian or another active-duty military member. Dependents, retirees, and Department of Defense DoD civilians are eligible if the offender was active-duty at both the time of the offense and the time of the report. National Guardsmen and Reservists can receive SVC services if there is an impact to readiness to deploy. SVCs represent child sexual abuse victims, provided other representation requirements are met and the child is “competent” to make legal decisions.

Victims not falling within those categories can request and receive an SVC through an Extraordinary Circumstances Request (ECR).  An ECR is an exception to policy request that determines whether someone who may not otherwise be eligible for an SVC should receive one. 

SARCs are an installation’s primary point of contact for coordinating sexual assault services with installation-level command and unit-level command. SARCs can facilitate medical support for victims, including coordinating a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) while still maintaining the integrity of a restricted report. SARCs can also provide referrals to chaplain and mental health services and can assist victims with obtaining MPOs.

Shaw refers its SAFEs to local medical facilities. COVID-19 has not affected the facilities’ ability to provide care or SAFEs to sexual assault victims.

All active-duty Air Force members, Reservists, Guardsmen, and their dependents who are 18 and older are eligible for SARC services. Depending on the offender’s status, the SARC may need to refer a victim to Family Advocacy to serve as the lead support organization. If an individual is a victim of abuse from an “intimate partner,” Family Advocacy is in charge of providing care and support for the victim, but SAPR services are still available upon request.

If a victim is currently deployed or away from Shaw, they can visit the DoD Safe Helpline at or can call the DoD Safe Helpline at, (877) 995-5247, to locate the nearest SARC. These referral services remain fully operational during mission-essential manning.