You are not alone: Hurlburt’s SAPR team aims to help 24/7/365

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mya M. Crosby
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Availability and confidentiality are a top priority for all U.S. Air Force helping agencies, but especially for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team members.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program is an initiative spanning across all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, with the goal of eliminating sexual assault by providing survivor advocacy and engaging in prevention efforts through the execution of SAPR policies, planning and oversight across the Department of Defense.

At Hurlburt Field, the SAPR program reflects the DoD’s policies by providing counseling, resources and representation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“Being available at any time is important because we wouldn’t want anyone to wait,” said Lisa Wright, Hurlburt Field Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. “If it happened on Saturday, we don’t want them to wait until Monday. I’ll answer a phone call at 2 a.m. if I need to.”

Another component the SAPR team is responsible for is staying connected with unit leadership around the base, to ensure they’re present and ready to advocate for the survivors at a moment’s notice.

“We’re plugged in with all the commanders and first sergeants so they can reach out to us if a crisis occurs,” Wright said. “That lessens that communication gap for us because that’s an important time in the survivor’s life.”

SAPR’s team of six works around the clock to ensure that any personnel reaching out can receive the help and care they need. With a variety of backgrounds ranging from aircraft maintenance to serving other military branches and government agencies, the SAPR team uses their unique experiences to express support to anyone reaching out to them.

“Our overall goal is prevention,” said Sierra Elliott, Hurlburt Field Sexual Victim Advocate and prior Air Force munitions systems Airman. “Most people think we’re only responsible for the response portion of sexual assault, but we’re heavy on the prevention methods that have been tested and proven to be effective within big communities, inside and outside the gates of Hurlburt Field. Whatever is best for the victim long term is our goal. Whenever a victim leaves our office, we make sure they’re leaving in a good headspace.”

As these advocates take pride in their duty to Hurlburt Field personnel, their mission doesn’t end after the reporting process. They often accompany the survivors to court proceedings, OSI appointments, meetings with their commanders and even to medical appointments.

“Most don’t know you can walk in this room right now and tell us what happened and walk right back out if you want to,” Wright said. “We’re here for comfort, and we’ll advise you on your options and make sure you leave doing whatever you think you need to do with what happened to you. Trust is almost immediate every time here.”

With the occurrence of anything sexual assault related, this diverse team never turns down a knock on their door or phone call. Their main effort to the mission is key to providing authentic support to anyone.

“Sexual assault has no place at Hurlburt Field or any other Air Force installation,” said Col. Allison Black, 1st Special Operations Wing commander. “Our SAPR teammates are fundamental to the mission by educating personnel on the resources and services provided to Airmen and Guardians, active duty dependents and our DoD civilians. Our team is dedicated to supporting anyone in need.”

“The importance of knowing who you can speak to and how to report is crucial when it comes to sexual assault, said Elliott. “Reaching out to the [Hurlburt Field SAPR team] can and has been the first step to recovery and justice for [our Airmen].”

The 24-hour Hurlburt Field SAPR Hotline is (850)884-7272. To view more information on Hurlburt Field’s SAPR program and its services and resources, click the following link: