Approximately 20 National Guard members from throughout the U.S. gathered at Truax Field November 6-10, 2017, to attend the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocate Training Course.
The 40-hour National Guard Bureau course is a prerequisite for National Guard Airmen selected to become certified victim advocates, and fulfills refresher training requirements for their Army National Guard counterparts.
115th Fighter Wing Sexual Assault Response Coordinator 1st. Lt. Natalie Huschka began the process of obtaining NGB approval to host the training in April.
“Needing to train six victim advocates in Wisconsin alone, coupled with the local availability of an experienced facilitator made hosting the course an easy decision,” Huschka said. “For out-of-state participants, the proximity to Dane County Regional Airport and numerous amenities the Madison area has to offer, make Truax Field an outstanding location for any training session.”
Curriculum requirements established by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, and pre-approved by NGB, result in professional civilian certification for military members who successfully complete the training.
In addition to the course facilitator Wisconsin National Guard SARC Maj. Robert Brania, several military and civilian professionals were employed to instruct attendees on topics such as sexual assault advocacy, victimology and organizational procedures, as well as related topics such as domestic violence and human trafficking.
“Having attended conferences and training events throughout the U.S., I have found that Wisconsin has some of the best resources and professional speakers that the country has to offer,” Brania said.
Students in attendance were primarily Air National Guardsmen receiving the initial training required to become victim advocates for their respective units. While many of the Airmen represented units within the central U.S., others came from as far away as Maryland, Alaska and even Guam to attend the training.
“It definitely heightened my compassion,” said Staff Sgt. Deborah Hurchanik, knowledge operations manager for the 254th Air Base Group in Guam. “The course gave me the tools necessary to best assist a victim or survivor should I ever need to do so.”
The victim advocate course is an integral part of the NGB SAPR program, which strives to eliminate incidents of sexual assault by increasing awareness through prevention and education, victim centered support, intimidation free reporting, thorough investigation, and accountability for those who commit sexual crimes.
“The SARC may be the face of the [SAPR] program on an installation or within the state, but it is the victim advocate that is the victim’s greatest resource,” Brania said. “The importance of having the right people receive the right training cannot be overstated.”
For more information on the National Guard’s SAPR program visit: https://www.jointservicessupport.org/SAPR