NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- Center for Service Support (CSS) completed its mandatory Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) training for civilian employees Sept. 4.
Sexual Assault Prevention: One Team, One Fight is mandatory training for all Department of the Navy (DoN) civilians and must be completed before Oct. 1.
The training is designed to meet Congressional, Department of Defense (DoD) and DoN requirements as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.
Ben Witcher, CSS director of workforce management, coordinated all civilian SAPR training throughout CSS' training domain.
"It must be a one team, one fight concept when it comes to sexual assault," said Witcher. "Training our entire workforce allows us to achieve the same goals with the same information. Civilian employees provide continuity in the Navy's training and educational programs, and they must have the same knowledge base as the Sailors they educate and supervise. Our workforce frequently serve their commands much longer than their military counterparts."
"We are reinforcing our culture," said Witcher. "We've done it many times over the years with some of society's toughest problems like drugs and race relations. I don't see this as just a DoD specific problem but as a societal problem that everyone must address. The solutions we figure out for the Navy can impact our society."
The civilian SAPR training is about 90-minutes long and consists of a video presentation followed by group discussions. Class size is designed to average 30 participants, with multiple classes scheduled to include all civilians. In addition to two facilitators, an area Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or a SAPR victim advocate is present during the training sessions to provide support to any sexual assault survivors in attendance.
Chief Machinist's Mate (EXW/SW/AW) Brian Bertolino, CSS SAPR victim advocate said that sometimes the victims can be forgotten.
"You must not overlook the survivors," said Bertolino. "We have to listen to them and treat them with respect. We must also ensure they receive follow-on services and be available when they need us, day or night."
"Everyone must take a stand against sexual assault," said Bertolino. "Our Sailors and civilian personnel must be trained on SAPR principles and resources. The training everyone received will increase the quality of our response system and ingrain the Navy's policy of zero tolerance."
CSS and its learning sites provide Sailors with the knowledge and skills needed to support the fleet's warfighting mission. More than 300 staff and faculty work hand-in-hand with the fleet and are dedicated to ensure training is current and well executed on behalf of 10,000 Sailors who graduate from CSS courses annually in the administration, logistics and media communities.
Additional information and resources to combat sexual assault are available at http://www.sapr.navy.mil.
Sexual assault affects Navy readiness, and the Navy is committed to preventing sexual assault.
Join the Navy's conversation about sexual assault on social media and help raise awareness by using #NavySAPR.
For more news from Center for Service Support, visit www.navy.mil/local/css/.