Summit focuses on sexual assault ‘eradication’|
Posted 12/13/2013 Updated 12/13/2013
by Rebecca Burylo
42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
12/13/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- -- Hundreds will attend the first-ever AFJAG Corps Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Summit, a total force conference to be hosted by the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School at Maxwell, Dec. 16-18.
More than 230 staff judge advocates, senior paralegals, Air Staff and Air Force Legal Operation Agency experts and Reserve and Guard paralegals will become better equipped in prosecuting sexual assault cases after attending the event, according to Lt. Gen. Richard Harding, the Air Force judge advocate general.
"Make no mistake what our goal is ... the eradication of sexual assault from our ranks," Harding said.
Trust and confidence from sexual assault victims can only be gained if legal professionals are trained in such cases and understand what a victim is going through during a court-martial, Harding explained.
"Once a victim understands how highly skilled we are and that we will exert our best efforts to protect their privacy and support them through the court-marital process, particularly with the help of their special victims' counsel, the more confident they become in reporting the crime," he added.
Participants of the summit will listen to several military and civilian experts in the field of law and sexual assault cases.
Some of the topics will include laws for sexual assault cases, dealing with a victim's trauma, interviewing victims, understanding male and female victimology, statistics, policy changes and coordinating with local law enforcement.
A brief question and answer session will follow each presentation.
The summit also will allow others to share and discuss experiences and lessons they have learned after working on a sexual assault case.
The goal of the summit is to instruct those in the JAG Corps and to show victims that the Air Force cares and has zero tolerance for sexual assault, said Col. Kenneth Theurer, commandant of the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School.
"This summit is really a reflection of the importance the Air Force, and therefore the JAG Corps, has placed on eradicating sexual assault from our ranks. It should also be an indication to victims that we care - that we're focused on caring for their needs," he said.
AFJAG leadership will continue the legal training for sexual assault prevention and response within the JAG Corps.
Leaders' hope is for those who attend this year's summit to return to their installations confident in the knowledge gained and incorporate the information into every level of their command to stop sexual assault.