Step Forward: Prevent. Report. Advocate.

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Lindsay Kelly
  • 42nd Air Base Wing

In 2024, the Department of Defense focused in on phase 2 of its Step Forward campaign, striving to change harmful behaviors, provide support to victims of sexual assault, and encourage sexual assault prevention and response initiatives year-round.

Maxwell Air Force Base conducted its first SAPR and Suicide Prevention training for 2024 on June 13, 2024, aiming to prevent incidents through education on consent, boundaries, and respectful behavior. Step Forward emphasizes a victim-centered response, offering immediate medical care, legal support, and counseling services to survivors. Ongoing support is also highlighted throughout the training, ensuring survivors know they will have access to chaplain services, mental health professionals, counseling and peer support groups.

In addition to SAPR training, the DoD also turns its focus to Suicide Prevention; both are crucial in fostering a supportive and resilient community.

"The effectiveness of SAPR and Suicide Prevention training lies in its widespread implementation and continuous evaluation," said LaNesa Howard, SAPR program manager. "Our collective commitment is crucial in creating a culture where reporting incidents and seeking assistance are encouraged and supported."

The DoD's training programs focus on identifying risk factors and promoting mental health awareness. They equip service members and civilian employees with intervention strategies and encourage a proactive approach to recognizing and addressing mental health challenges. By normalizing help-seeking behaviors and fostering a supportive environment, the DoD aims to reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health support or counseling.

"Self-care is a vital component of overall well-being," said Marilyn Robinson, Prevention Coordination Specialist. "It’s essential for service members and civilians to prioritize their mental and emotional health, ensuring they are equipped to handle and overcome the challenges they may face."

SAPR and Suicide Prevention training are integral to the DoD's commitment to the well-being and readiness of its personnel. By investing in these comprehensive programs, the DoD not only addresses immediate challenges but also cultivates a resilient military community capable of facing future uncertianties with strength and unity.

"By investing in SAPR and Suicide Prevention training, we are not just addressing immediate issues but also ensuring a healthier, more resilient force for the future,” said Howard. "SAPR and Suicide Prevention training are not just about following protocols; they are about saving lives and creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported."

If you or someone you know in the DoD community has experienced sexual assault, please consider reaching out:

DoD Safe Helpline for 24/7, anonymous, one-on-one support at 877- 995-5247 or
Maxwell AFB and Gunter Annex SAPR office (334) 953-SARC (7272) or (334) 313-4220

If you need to talk to someone, the Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7 by dialing 988, then press 1. You can also text 838255 or visit to chat with someone online.