Posted: 5:08 pm PT
The message below addressing sexual assault was sent to all State Department employees on November 22, 2016. Several copies landed in our inbox. The State Department sent us a note that says they want to make absolutely sure that we have seen this, and gave us an “officially provided” copy.
A Message from Under Secretary Pat Kennedy
November 22, 2016
Sexual assault is a serious crime. It can traumatize victims and have a corrosive effect on the workplace. The Department is determined to do all it can to prevent sexual assault, and, if it does occur, to support victims and bring the perpetrators to justice. We are committed to effectively and sensitively responding to reports of sexual assault and to ensuring victims are treated with the care and respect they deserve.
The Department has policies and procedures relating to sexual harassment and workplace violence. We recognize these policies may not address all issues specific to sexual assault and that sexual assault is more appropriately dealt with in its own FAM section. At my direction, an inter-bureau taskforce is in the process of creating this new FAM section. Among the issues the taskforce will take up are reporting processes, confidentiality, sexual assault response training, and potential conflict of interest issues.
As we work to complete a stand-alone sexual assault FAM section, it’s important to note that there are and have been policies and procedures in place to help employees and their family members who are sexually assaulted get the medical care they need and to bring perpetrators to justice.
Medical services are available at post, and personnel from the Bureau of Medical Services (MED) can also provide advice from Washington, DC. Post’s Health Unit healthcare providers are the first responders for medical evaluation and treatment overseas and will abide by strict patient/provider confidentiality. An employee or member of the Department community who has been sexually assaulted may also report the incident to MED’s Clinical Director (currently Dr. Behzad Shahbazian) at 202-663-2976 during business hours. After hours and on weekends/holidays, victims may contact the MED Duty Officer at 202-262-9013 or via the Operations Center at 202-647-1512.
For reported sexual assaults that are committed by or against members of the Department community or occur within a COM facility or residence, RSOs serve as the law enforcement first responders. Every reported sexual assault is handled as a criminal matter that may be prosecuted in the United States under federal extraterritorial laws. For more guidance on the handling of such cases, see 16 STATE 56478.
If a victim overseas wants to report a sexual assault to law enforcement authorities, but prefers not to report it at post, he or she can contact the Office of Special Investigations (DS/DO/OSI), via telephone at 571-345-3146 or via email at DS-OSIDutyAgent@state.gov<mailto:DS-OSIDutyAgent@state.gov>. The DS/DO/OSI duty agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can investigate an allegation independent of post management. OSI agents have been trained to handle such cases and will work with the victim and can also provide information about the Victims’ Resource Advocacy Program available at firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>.
Victims may also report sexual harassment directly to the Office of Civil Rights<http://socr.state.sbu/OCR/Default.aspx?ContentId=6666> (S/OCR) at http://snip.state.gov/f5h or via phone at 202-647-9295 and ask to speak with an Attorney-Adviser. Pursuant to 3 FAM 1525, S/OCR oversees the Department’s compliance with anti-harassment laws and policies and conducts harassment inquiries.
The working group developing the new FAM section is consulting with other agencies about best practices in such areas as communication, training, and post-attack medical and mental health support and will integrate appropriate elements of these programs to ensure that the Department’s policies on sexual assault are victim centered and effective.
The Department’s position is clear: there is zero tolerance for any form of violence, including sexual assault, within our Department community. We understand these are sensitive and difficult situations, but we strongly encourage victims to come forward so the Department can take the appropriate steps to ensure the victim’s safety and bring the perpetrator to justice.
Sexual Assault Related posts:
- A Sexual Assault Reporting Process Foreign Service Members Deserve: If Not Now, When? Attn: @JohnKerry November 22, 2016
- First Person: I am a ✂️ FSO who was ✂️ raped in ✂️… Continuing on has been ✂️ incredibly difficult… November 21, 2016
- First Person: I did everything right. I filed a report the next business day … #FSassaultNovember 22, 2016
- Sexual Assault in the Foreign Service — What To Do? November 18, 2016
- Another Note About the Burn Bag–There’s No Easy Way of Doing This, Is There?
- OPM: Guidance For Agency-Specific Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking Policies
- The State Dept’s Sexual Assault Reporting Procedure Appears to Be a Black Hole of Grief
- Sexual Assault at a State Dept-Leased Apartment: If This Isn’t Abysmal Failure, What Is It? Sept 2016
- A Joke That Wasn’t, and a State Department Dialogue That Is Long Overdue Aug 2016
- Peace Corps Assault Victims in Need of Ongoing Therapy Not a Good Fit For Peace Corps Service? Dec 2015
- Ex-State Dept Employee Settles Housekeeper’s Claim Over Slavery and Rape Sept 2015
- State Dept Security Officer Alleged Sexual Misconduct: Spans 10 Years, 7 Posts Oct 2014
- Foreign Service Specialist Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Traveling to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct Aug 2013
- Court Awards $3.3 Million Default Judgment Against State Dept Couple Accused of Slavery and Rape of Housekeeper Sept 2012
- Former CIA Station Chief to Algeria Gets 65 Months for Sexual Assault on Embassy Property March 2011
- What happens when America’s ambassadors of hope and compassion return home as victims of rape and institutional neglect? May 2011