VANDENBERG— The 30th Space Wing Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Team at Vandenberg Air Force Base has been awarded the 2019 Department of the Air Force Exceptional SAPR Team Award.
The SAPR team consists of two coordinators, one lead victim advocate, a courthouse facility dog and 20 volunteer victim advocates. The group works to effect change on the base and within the local community.
The 30th SW team has implemented a number of programs and has contributed their time towards the local community, while also offering support for members of the Vandenberg community, said Senior Airman Aubree Owens, 30th Space Wing Public Affairs.
One of the top accomplishments for the team last year was the initiation of the 30th Space Wing flight commander and superintendent course, which developed SAPR training specific to that of flight-level leaders. The training included information ranging from unconscious biases to stereotypes surrounding victimization, as well as providing flight leaders with tools and resources to effectively support those in their organization seeking assistance.
The team has trained 125 flight commanders and superintendents on the curriculum, allowing supervisors to provide early intervention in harmful situations, decreasing the risk of violence and creating a safer work and living environment, Senior Airman Owens said.
In addition to the team award, the SAPR victim advocate Teresa Loya was awarded the Department of the Air Force Exceptional Victim Advocate Award. Throughout 2019, Ms. Loya presented more than 500 members with her personal testimony of recovery after sexual assault in the military, which led to open conversations and trust among those she shared with. She highlighted the support she received from SAPR and how the services helped her become the person she is today after experiencing trauma.
“Like many of us, I know so many individuals whose lives have been impacted by some form of abuse or interpersonal violence. I made it my mission years ago to get involved in ways that I felt would make the most impact,” she said.
“I went from a victim to the best Victim Advocate in the Air Force. I want to show others that they don’t have to carry those burdens alone, that things do get better, and we will believe them,” she added.