More Help for Sexual Assault Victims

The Air Force is launching the Special Victims’ Counsel Program later this month to provide legal assistance to victims of sexual assault, announced service officials. The program will help victims navigate the criminal justice system with lawyers who expressed a desire to help and are specially trained to handle the victims’ unique needs, states a Jan. 5 service release. “It takes a strong team to succeed in our mission to protect and defend the nation, and sexual assault undermines that,” said Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. He continued, “The Special Victims’ Counsel will provide victims of sexual assault with a better understanding of the criminal process from an expert who is specially qualified to represent the victim. This program embodies what the Air Force is all about—taking care of our people.” The program will provide 60 attorneys Air Force-wide who will be placed geographically. “If you are a victim of sexual assault, the Special Victims’ Counsel is your attorney—you have complete attorney-client confidentiality and they will zealously advocate on your behalf,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Harding, the Air Force’s judge advocate general. (See also Top Officials Address Sexual Assault in Letter to Airmen.)