Turning victims into survivors: SAPR program educates public, empowers survivors

  • Published
  • By Holly Logan-Arrington
  • Robins Public Affairs

Sexual assault survivors are not alone at Robins.


Robins’ Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program offers a solid network of individuals to help them every step of their journey.


Angele Longbrake, Robins’ Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Robins SAPR program since August of 2018, said it was the program’s commitment to sexual assault survivors that inspired her to lead the program.


“I always wanted to volunteer with this program when I was enlisted,” she said. “I wanted to give back to a community of people who supported me when I went through the criminal justice process back in 2012.”


Longbrake said while some things have changed, her desire to help survivors grow from their experience has remained.


“There have been many changes since 2012, but what hasn’t changed was my passion to make sure that every survivor received the proper care for them to gain their confidence – not only in the system, but also themselves,” she said.  “The best part of my job is watching a victim grow into a survivor.”    


A phone call starts the road to getting help.


From the moment a sexual assault report is made, Longbrake is there to ensure the survivor has the right support necessary to move forward.


“In my role as the SARC, I collaborate with the different helping agencies to provide quality advocacy for victims of sexual assault,” she said.  “I am there from the point of making a report until disposition of the case or the victim feels there is no longer a need to use our services.”


Sexual assault survivors have two options for reporting sexual assault incidents.


Restricted Reporting is a confidential report given to the SARC, SAPR Victim Advocate, volunteer victim advocate, medical health provider or chaplain. Active duty service members and their dependents who are 18 years or older, Title 10 Reservists, Guard members and Air Force civilians, both appropriated and non-appropriated, are entitled to make a restricted report of sexual assault. If making a restricted report, the member is entitled to a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam, treatment through a medical facility, Victim Advocacy services, Special Victim’s Counsel and counseling.


“When a client wants to make a restricted report, they will make it to the following individuals: the SARC, SAPR Victim Advocate, or a Volunteer Victim Advocate,” Longbrake said.  “While there are other personnel who can keep this information confidential, such as medical personnel, chaplains and a Special Victim’s Counsel, there cannot be an official restricted report made.”


Longbrake said when a victim reports a sexual assault to the SARC, SAPR VA, or VVA, they have the choice to make an “official” restricted report, meaning that they have signed a DD Form 2910. 


“At this point, they are assigned a VVA,” she said.  “If they choose not to sign the form, they will not be assigned a victim advocate. However, they don’t need to sign the form in order to receive help or resources from the SAPR office. The benefits of signing the form, is that we are tracking the case and they will have constant care until they no longer want to talk to us or want to make an unrestricted report.”


An unrestricted report triggers an investigation through the Office of Special Investigations or local law enforcement, Longbrake said. 


“Any reports made to a mandated reporter – chain of command, first sergeants, law enforcement, to include security forces and OSI – will be investigated,” she said.  “A member is provided the same services as a restricted report, as well as, the option to be provided a military or civilian protective order and, if an active duty member or their dependent, an expedited transfer.” 


Once a person makes a report, the survivor is assigned a victim advocate.


“A victim advocate is that first line of communication with the survivor,” Longbrake said.  “The SAPR office relies on victim advocates to be the trusting face within the units that people are able to talk to. They also provide training for their respective units as they are the subject matter experts on response of sexual assault.”


 Longbrake said senior airman and above, second lieutenants and above, and GS-07 and above who are at least 21 and older qualify to be VVAs.


“Due to the potential for legal, professional or community conflicts of interest, there are members who are unable to serve as a Volunteer Victim Advocate,” she said. “VVAs are required to attend an initial 40-hour training.  Upon completion of this training, they will hold a nationally recognized certification which requires renewal every two years through a completion of 32 hours of continuous education units.”


 VVAs must have supervisor and commander approval which will be reviewed annually. 


VVAs are counted on as being an around-the-clock resource to support victims and may be asked to travel for victim support, Longbrake said.


Throughout the sexual assault survivor’s journey, Longbrake said she receives updates on the survivor’s progress and ensures the survivor gets what is needed.


“The SAPR program provides a safe space for those who may have been sexually assaulted, as well as, individuals with those taboo questions about sexual violence in general,” Longbrake said.


In addition to providing services to sexual assault survivors, the SAPR program team educates the base community on sexual assault and how to prevent it.


“This program oversees all sexual assault prevention aspects: to include outreach and education for all of Robins Air Force Base,” Longbrake said. “We have scheduled trainings throughout the year. These trainings include the First Term Airman Center, Airman Leadership School, Non-Commissioned Officer’s Academy, key leaders, civilian newcomers and Right Start. In addition to these trainings, we also provide first responder training to law enforcement, Judge Advocate General and the Commander’s Action Group.”


Longbrake said the SAPR program will provide training as a result of climate surveys or when there may be a need.


These types of trainings are usually less formal and are more of a guided discussion with the audience, Longbrake said.


From education to response to sexual assaults, Robins SAPR program works diligently to prevent sexual assault and care for those who survive it.

“Sexual assault perpetuates military spaces in the same way that it does in our society,” Longbrake said.  “Without our program, we would not be able to provide a one-stop shop for Robins personnel.  We are important for our victim assistance and prevention efforts.”


If you have been sexually assaulted or need to report a sexual assault, please contact the SAPR Support Line at 478-327-7272.  If you need to get in touch with anyone on the SAPR staff you can contact:


- Angele Longbrake – (478) 222-4194

- 1st Lt Esther Shim – (478) 222-4175

- Capt Jaleesa Council – (478) 222-4176