Restricted reporting is a confidential reporting process that may be used by a service member when disclosing a sexual assault to a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) or to a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) advocate (Human Rights Watch, 2015). If a MST survivor and/or their military dependents, (aged 18 years or older), decide to make a restricted report, any details given to healthcare personnel, the victim advocate, or to the SARC will not be reported to law enforcement unless the survivor consents or if the Department of Defense (DOD) exercises an established exception on the case. If a MST survivor decides to complete a SAFE exam, under restricted reporting, the forensic evidence collected during this exam will be stored for five (5) years (Nelson, 2012).
Only specific personnel are authorized to accept a restricted report of a sexual assault. These personnel include:
- Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC)
- Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Victim Advocate
- Healthcare Personnel Authorized to Accept a Restricted Report
- Chaplain (Cannot take an official report, however, is a confidential resource to talk to and will not report the assault without consent from the victim)
Unrestricted reporting is a process that is not confidential in nature, but is an option that a service member may choose. Once a MST survivor decides to make an unrestricted report, any details about the sexual assault given to healthcare personnel, the victim advocate, the SARC, or to command authorities are reportable to law enforcement and can be used to begin an investigation. In addition, any information obtained is forwarded to command and may be referred to military criminal investigative authorities or local law enforcement. Record of the sexual assault and subsequent investigation records may be kept for fifty (50) years from the date the investigation closed by the Military Criminal Investigative Organizations (MCIOs) (Nelson, 2012).
For questions about military reporting options or about the military justice process, please call:
DOD Safe Helpline* 1-877-995-5247 or text 55-247
*The DOD Safe Helpline does not take reports but will outline your options.
Minnesota National Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (available 24/7)
(612)-208-5299 or 1-888-282-4858
Sources: Coping with Military Sexual Trauma: A Guide for Service Members & Embattled: Retaliation against Sexual Assault Survivors in the US Military &
CW3 Jennifer Diaz-Army and Air National Guard