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HEIDELBERG, Germany — A new sexual assault hot line, which will be answered by nurses ready to contact emergency personnel or offer immediate support, is one of the latest additions to the U.S. Army Europe’s campaign against sexual assault.

The “Not in Our Army” sexual assault campaign, which began in April, aims to educate all troops that sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and that any incidents will be investigated quickly and fairly. Victim advocates and a new handbook are also a part of the campaign, according to USAREUR’s top hu- man resources officer.

Brig. Gen. Rusty Frutiger said that the effort won’t be scared off if there are higher numbers of cases reported as a result of the new hot line and prevention campaign.

“Quite frankly, I hope reports would go up,” Frutiger said. “I know there are a large number of cases that are still not reported.”

The hot line, which has been operating in Germany this week, goes live across Europe on Friday, according to a statement issued by the Europe Regional Medical Command.

To use the USAREUR sexual assault hot line, call:

DSN in Europe, 371-3550 or 371-3551;Civilian number in Germany, 06221-17-3550 or 06221-17-3551;Civilian number outside of Germany, 0049-6221-173550 or 0049-6221-173551;Toll-free in Germany only, 00800-0-ASSAULT (00800-0-2772858.)The person responding to the hot-line call will remain on the line until the call is transferred to the military police or appropriate agency to ensure the transfer has been completed.

The medical command statement said callers would be asked to provide their name and location so appropriate law enforcement and medical personnel may be contacted. However, callers are not required to provide their name to the hot-line responder.

The hot line would be deemed a success if only one person benefited during a time of need, Frutiger said.

“I’ll tell you right up front, as a father of a victim, I’m very passionate about this program,” he said.

However, Frutiger stresses that the program is not just for the victim or the person making the complaint. He said all involved will be dealt with respectfully until the matter is investigated and resolved. This is not a program that guesses at guilt, he said.

Frutiger said the new civilian victim advocates, who will be in every community, are key to the program.

One advocate will be assigned to each victim and will remain with that person through the aftermath of the incident, ensuring stability and solace.

“These people are not volunteers, they’re paid professionals,” Frutiger said.

The “Sexual Misconduct Awareness Campaign” handbook offers statistics, regulations and guidance in an easy-to-read format. A sexual assault booklet and CD-ROM come with the handbook.

The handbook is also available on the Web at www.hqusareur.army.mil, as well as at equal-opportunity offices.

“This program makes a crime that people don’t want to come with a face, faceless,” said Frutiger, pointing out that many victims feel guilt or shame after the incident and may not want to come forward.

However, if they decide to come forward, he said, the nurses who answer the hot lines are prepared to offer guidance and support.

Plans are under way to expand the toll-free number to include other countries, the medical command statement said.

Sexual assault is the second-most-reported felony in the Army in Europe, after drug-related offenses, according to campaign material. Seventy-six percent of sexual assaults occur in unlocked barracks or government quarters; 74 percent involve alcohol, 50 percent of rape victims know the offender and most sexual assaults occur between 1 and 5 a.m. on Saturdays, according to the material.

For more information, go to the “Not in Our Army” link on the USAREUR home page, www.hqusareur.army.mil, or contact local equal opportunity advisers.

The face of sexual assault ...

Suspectstend to be:

E-1 to E-417 to 31 years oldMarriedAssigned to combat arms unitVictimstend to be:

Family members (wife or daughter)E-1 to E-417 to 31 years oldMarried, with the spouse frequently deployedAssigned/attached to support units— “U.S. Army Europe Sexual Misconduct Awareness Campaign” handbook

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