Washington, D.C. --
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro directed a No Wrong Door Policy for victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic abuse on Friday, June 24.
Effective immediately, a victim who contacts a helping professional from any Department of the Navy (DON) victim care and support office must either receive services from that office or, with the victim’s permission, get a “warm hand-off” to the appropriate service provider. This warm hand-off will include direct connection, introduction to the responsible staff, and follow-through to ensure the needs of the person seeking care are met.
“I want to ensure that the victims and survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic abuse receive the right care and quality services they need with minimal delay,” said Del Toro. “The Department of the Navy is committed to the well-being of the victims and survivors, from report to referral, from initial appointment to continuing care.”
The policy applies to all DON personnel responsible for the care and support of victims of sexual assault, sexual harassment or domestic abuse. This includes, but is not limited to, those helping professionals assigned or detailed to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, Family Advocacy Program, Military Equal Opportunity Program, Victim Witness Assistance Program, medical professionals, Warfighter and Family Services (non-medical counseling providers), Victims’ Legal Counsel or chaplains.
“Individuals who experience sexual assault, sexual harassment, or domestic abuse should receive the care and support they need - without delay. Regardless of which supporting professional they contact, the answer should be, 'I will help you,'” said Ashish S. Vazirani, interim director, DON Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Suicide Prevention and Response Office. “We’re committed to improving victim care and enhancing access to critical resources.”
The No Wrong Door Policy is the most recent policy change recommended by the DON Implementation Advisory Panel. Secretary Del Toro created the panel in February 2022 to formulate concrete policy recommendations to advance DON’s elimination of sexual assault and sexual harassment from the ranks. The panel is comprised of representatives of all the key DON offices required to make fully informed recommendations to implement the requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 and the approved recommendations of the Secretary of Defense’s Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military.