ORLANDO, Fla. (NNS) — More than 300 leaders of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) community, including coordinators, civilian victim advocates, SAPR officers, and deployed resiliency counselors, gathered in Orlando June 12 for a four-day conference designed to develop new ways to prevent sexual assault.

The 2017 Department of the Navy (DoN) SAPR training seminar reinforces the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ commitment to reduce the incidence of sexual assault, provide compassionate support to sexual assault survivors, and focus on prevention.

The theme of this year’s seminar is “Engaging All Voices.” Attendees will hear from a range of experts, including members of the DoN’s victim legal counsel program, covering topics including the roles of pornography and alcohol in sexual assault, as well as technology and social media.

“The seminar theme reinforces my sincere desire to have you here not as passive attendees but as active participants in learning,” said Jill Loftus, director of the Department of the Navy Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (DoN SAPRO). “By engaging all voices, we can create high-impact programs which develop skills, knowledge, and confidence; reflect a person-centered orientation; and move beyond a culture of compliance to one of shared responsibility and empowerment.”

DoN leadership attending and speaking at the conference include Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Dee, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller, Director of the Department of Defense SAPR Office Rear Adm. Ann Burkhardt, and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano.

Burkhardt spoke about the challenges faced when combating sexual assault, and how other related harmful behaviors impact the force. “One small act of kindness can inspire hope,” she told the group, “and on the contrary, other actions can erode the very fabric of trust and honor expected of every service member. This impacts readiness.”

The training seminar runs through June 15.

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