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Optimizing Human Resources to Address Battalion-Level Factors That May Impede or Support Implementation of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Prevention Programs
Recent data indicates the 2018 prevalence of sexual assaults in active duty Service members was 6.8 percent of women and .7 percent of men with an estimated 1 in 3 reported to an authority (Department of Defense, 2019). Reporting rates appear to increase in 2018, but sexual assault prevalence rates have either increased (for women) or remained unchanged (for men) since 2016. The U.S. Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program currently focuses on reporting sexual harassment and assault incidents. The 2019-2023 Prevention Plan of Action (PPoA) recognizes that SHARP programs are effective in reporting, and recommends that DoD develop a similarly high quality prevention system. The PPOA-recommended system would take a research-based, integrative approach to prevention in the full range of military personnel, effectively implement practices with fidelity in supportive climates, and continuously evaluate prevention outcomes. DoD has selected Getting to Outcomes (GTO), a 10-step research-based model, to support prevention planning, implementation, and evaluation. In GTO Step 5, SHARP programs would need to assess their capacity to implement a prevention program and correct as needed. The PPOA identifies human resources as a key component of capacity to implement a prevention program, and details specific objectives for developing a prevention workforce. However, there is a potential disconnect between the high-level work of this future prevention workforce and on-the-ground implementation by local SHARP programs. In the U.S. Army, the SHARP program is implemented at the battalion level by Non-Commissions Officers (NCOs) who have SHARP assigned as a collateral duty, and are supported by Garrison-level and Installation level SHARP officers and staff.
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