Reporting Options - Restricted Reporting
This option is for victims of sexual assault who wish to confidentially disclose the crime to specifically identified individuals without triggering the official investigative process. Service Members who desire Restricted reporting under this policy must use one of the following reporting avenues:
- Health Care Provider (HCP) or personnel
- Legal Assistance Attorneys*
*While legal assistance attorneys and chaplains have confidentiality/privilege, they are not a restricted reporting entity.
Who May Make a Restricted Report?
Who is eligible for a Restricted Report? At this time only military personnel of the Armed Forces and the Coast Guard. Military personnel include members on active duty and members of the Reserve component (Reserve and National Guard) provided they are performing federal duty (active-duty training or inactive-duty training and members of the National Guard in Federal (Title 10) status.
Who is not eligible? Members of the Reserve component not performing Federal duty are not eligible. Retired members of any component are not eligible. Dependents are not eligible under this policy (See Family Advocacy link for more info related to dependents . DoD civilian employees or contractors and civilians are not eligible.
Understanding DoD's Confidentiality Policy
DoD's Confidentiality Policy permits victims of sexual assault to report the crime to specified individuals who can then ensure the victim receives medical care, treatment and counseling without notifying command or law enforcement officials. Covered individuals include the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC), Victim Advocates (VAs), health care personnel and chaplains. For purposes of public safety and command responsibility, the SARC will notify the installation commander that an assault has occurred and provide details that will not identify the victim. See the Department of Defense Directive 6495.01, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program for complete details.
This policy provides victims some personal space and time and increased control over the release and management of their personal information. This hopefully empowers them to seek relevant information and support to make more informed decisions about participating in the criminal investigation. Jurisdictions with similar policies have found that confidentiality actually leads to increased reporting rates. Even if the victim chooses not to pursue an official investigation, this additional reporting avenue gives commanders a clearer picture of the sexual violence within their command and enhances a commander's ability to provide an environment which is safe and contributes to the well being and mission readiness of all of its members.
Restricted Reporting Example
- Service Member Smith arrives at the base medical emergency room and reports she has been sexually assaulted. Health care personnel immediately notify the SARC and begin any appropriate emergency medical treatment.
- The SARC assigns a VA to assist Service Member Smith. The VA meets Service Member Smith at the hospital and explains the Unrestricted and Restricted Reporting options and the processes associated with each, to include applicable pros and cons.
- Service Member Smith elects the Restricted Reporting option.
- Service Member Smith is asked if she would like a forensic examination, and she agrees.
- The VA advises the health care personnel that Service Member Smith has elected the Restricted Reporting option and would like a SAFE.
- Forensic evidence of the assault is collected and preserved in a non-personally identifying manner.
- The health care personnel determine and schedule follow-up medical treatment as appropriate.
- The VA advises the SARC that Service Member Smith has elected the Restricted Reporting option.
- Within 24 hours of Service Member Smith's Restricted Report, the SARC will inform the senior commander that an assault has occurred, and provide the commander with non-identifying personal information and details related to the sexual assault allegation. This information includes rank, gender, age, race, Service, date, time and/or location. Information is disclosed in a manner that preserves the victim's anonymity. Careful consideration of which details to include is of particular significance at installations or other locations where there are a limited number of minority females or female officers assigned.
- The senior commander may notify the criminal investigators. However, no criminal investigation will be initiated unless originated from another source or the victim elects to come forward via Unrestricted Reporting. The senior commander identifies trends and takes appropriate measures (i.e., increased security patrols, enhanced education and training, enhanced environmental and safety measures) to prevent further sexual assaults.
- The SARC maintains information regarding the number of sexual assaults for both Unrestricted and Restricted Reports. Restricted Report numbers will be included in the annual report. The SARC will also capture trends and perform trend analysis. SARC awareness of trends will be a first line of defense against a potential serial assailant. The SARC can at any time return to Service Member Smith to ask if she is willing to reconsider her Restricted Reporting decision given the potential of a serial offender.
- The VA maintains communication and contact with the victim as needed for continued victim support.
Considerations When Electing a Restricted Reporting Decision
- You receive appropriate medical treatment, advocacy and counseling.
- Provides personal space and time to consider your options and to begin the healing process.
- Empowers you to seek relevant information and support to make more informed decisions about participating in the criminal investigation.
- You control the release and management of your personal information.
- You decide whether and when to move forward with initiating an investigation.
- Your assailant remains unpunished and capable of assaulting other victims.
- You cannot receive a military protective order.
- You will continue to have contact with your assailant, if he or she is in your organization or billeted with you.
- Evidence from the crime scene where the assault occurred will be lost, and the official investigation, should you switch to an Unrestricted Report, will likely encounter significant obstacles.
- You will not be able to discuss the assault with anyone, to include your friends, without imposing an obligation on them to report the crime. The only exceptions would be chaplains, designated health care personnel, your assigned Victim Advocate and the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator.
- You will be ineligible to invoke the collateral misconduct provision of the Department's sexual assault policy in the event that your command learns that you had been engaged in some form of misconduct at the time you were assaulted.