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New victim advocate here to help

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Photo illustration/Senior Airman Mark Hybers

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., -- Anyone seeking assistance regarding sexual assault can contact the 507th Air Refueling Wing victim advocate, Tech Sgt. Shannon Fabela anytime to help.

Fabela was appointed victim advocate in April and she works hand in hand with the Tinker Air Force Base Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) to help assist anyone affected by sexual assault.

In a web message from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody the pair emphasized the importance of preventing sexual assault in the Air Force and Airmen taking care of one another.

"The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program reinforces the Air Force's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through awareness and prevention training, education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability," they said.

Along with helping members affected by sexual assault, Fabela is also tasked with insuring all members of the 507th Air Refueling Wing, 513th Air Control Group and 1st Aviation Standards Flight receive Active Bystander Intervention training before December 31 of this year. To meet this mission, she is looking for volunteers to join her and become victim advocates.

"I'm the only one currently trained in SAPR in the 507th and I'm a traditional reservist so we are looking for additional victim advocates."

The five-day training for victim advocates can be conducted in seminars or in once-a-week training over a five week period. The base conducts the training for Tinker victim advocates, Fabela said. Once trained, members receive an identification card and are on call in the event a sexual assault is reported and an advocate is needed.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program reinforces the Air Force's commitment to eliminate incidents of sexual assault through awareness and prevention training, education, victim advocacy, response, reporting and accountability. The Air Force promotes sensitive care and confidential reporting for victims of sexual assault and accountability for those who commit these crimes.

There are two types of reporting, restricted and unrestricted, Fabela explained. In either case, the victim is provided with medical, spiritual and psychological counseling. If the victim chooses to make a restricted report, the commander and investigators are not notified. If the victim chooses to make an unrestricted report an investigation is initiated.

Fabela's role and training as a victim advocate "is very dear to me, very personal." She had a family member who was sexually assaulted. After witnessing "the impact on her and her family I know how it could effect a military career and see how it could affect mission readiness and impact the unit after witnessing it first-hand," she said. Fabela is looking for individuals who have a passion for helping and are willing to attend training.

Each Air Force base has one SARC and all base tenants have a representative that works with the SARC to insure the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program (SAPR) is available to all installation personnel.

SARCs and victim advocates are available 24-hours a day, seven days a week at every installation. Contact your base SARC or Victim's Advocate for more information.
Secure and confidential support for the DOD community can be found at Safe Help line https://www.safehelpline.org/ or by calling 877-995-5247.
For more information on sexual assault prevention, awareness and training, visit MyDuty.mil at http://www.myduty.mil/

To contact the 507th victim advocate or if you would like to volunteer to become a victim advocate, call Tech Sgt. Fabela at 405-409-6447.